La Rita Melodrama: Great Family Fun
By Nathan French
As everyone eagerly anticipates Dalhart’s XIT season, many cast members are perfecting lines for this year’s La Rita melodrama, “The Masked Canary.”
The musical follows a fallen high society matron who recently lost her husband, and is left to raise a baby penniless and poor. In desperation for income to support herself and child, she ventures out for employment. Greatly embarrassed for her face to be seen while working, the heroine takes to saloon singing, but wears a mask to protect her identity.
However, a dark villain discovers the “masked canary’s” true identity, and sets out to blackmail the poor disguised heroine. Entertaining drama ensues, and an exciting storyline guarantees a memorable show for all.
The cast this year is impressive with 29 members, and over 80 workers total to put on this year’s dramatic feat. The cast varies in age, from early teenage years to an age people don’t want to share.
Long time veteran director of the melodrama, Mary Jo Ondracek, states, “There will be many exciting twists and several surprises in this year’s performance.”
Mary Jo, who first directed the melodrama in 1952, shares that the cast loves performing for the community, and while putting on a play of this size is a challenge, they find great reward in the positive response from the community. Mary Jo also gains personal joy from the cast, stating that they seem almost “like a family,” and laughingly jokes that directing “keeps her out of the bars.”
Numerous seasoned performers are in the line up of this year’s cast, but several new faces join the troupe, even one cast member being from South Africa. Strong voices, talented acting, and enjoyable music are sure to make this year’s performance a thrilling one.
Tickets are selling fast, so if you are looking for great air conditioned family fun, pick up your tickets soon and get your clapping hands ready for the heroine, strengthen your vocal cords in preparation for side hurting laughter, and perfect your disapproving hiss for the vicious villain.