River Campus Summer Arts Festival Dates and Shows Announced

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., May 2, 2017 – Southeast Missouri State University announces the fourth annual community River Campus Summer Arts Festival on June 17, 2017. In addition to the festival date, the summer’s productions are confirmed. For 2017, the festival will offer an ambitious season of three shows.  Children will delight in seeing Dear Edwina Jr., featuring a 13 year old girl that gives advice to her friends.  The musical will be the smash comedy hit The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.  And the festival adult comedy play will be Greater Tuna.  


Last year’s festival received rave reviews.  Over 3,000 attended the one-day Saturday festival and audiences enjoyed three full scale productions. Events scheduled for June 17th’s festival include live music, dance, theatrical performances, magic, visual arts displays, hands-on family-friendly art expression activities, museum exhibitions, music instrument and animal petting zoos, creative writing workshops, art walk, and other hands on activities throughout the River Campus.  

The community festival is free and open to all ages in the entire region. The event is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is sponsored by Drury Hotels, the Isle Casino Cape Girardeau, US Bank, the Earl and Margie Holland School of Visual and Performing Arts, Southeast Missouri State University, City of Cape Girardeau Parks and Recreation, 573 Magazine, Rust Communications, KGMO, Ameren Missouri, KBSI, KRCU, Cape Girardeau Convention and Visitors Bureau, iluvlocalplaces, Don and Jo Anne Dickerson, Cape Noon Optimist Club, Cape Rotary Club, the Rosemary Berkel and Harry L. Crisp II Museum, and the University’s Departments of Art, Music and The Conservatory of Theatre and Dance.  Partners include the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri, Old Town Cape, and the United Way.

“Each year has seen large growth in the numbers of attendees and exceeded our goals.  The first year had around 1,000 in attendance for the Saturday River Campus Summer Arts Festival.  Last year’s number swelled to over 3,000. Now we have people who come up and ask what we are doing this summer.  The community has definitely embraced the River Campus Summer Arts Festival and our summer productions. Thanks to the continued generosity of our sponsors, this year we will offer two free admission performances of the musical Dear Edwina Jr. There will be a morning and an afternoon performance of this production on June 17. It’s truly an all day celebration of the arts – visual and performing,” said Rhonda Weller-Stilson, Director of the Earl and Margie Holland School of Visual and Performing Arts and Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts. “There is something for everyone of all ages.  We encourage families and art lovers to make a day of it.  Food by Chartwells is available for purchase, and people may bring a picnic.  The festival represents our commitment to community outreach, showcases the work of professional artists from our region, and gives the community an opportunity to see what occurs at the River Campus. We are excited to reach out to a diverse population and kids of all ages.”

Dear Edwina Jr. musical with book and lyrics by Marcy Heisler and music by Zina Goldrich will run on the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall stage at 10AM and 3PM.  Both performances will be open to the public and not require ticket purchases.  The musical is about a thirteen-year-old problem solver Edwina.  She dishes out advice with the help of her friends. “What’s even more fun about this offering is that the cast will be 10 to 15 years old children performing for children.  We’ve had great success with our kids performing for kids during the festival” said Weller-Stilson.  “We can’t wait to see what they do this year.  There is so much young talent in the area.”  Dear Edwina Jr. will also have Friday, June 16 and Sunday, June 18 performances requiring tickets.  

Capping the day’s events will be a performance of Greater Tuna at 7:30 p.m. in the Wendy Kurka Rust Flexible Theatre. The southern comedy Greater Tuna by Ed Howard, Joe Sears, and Jaston Williams will open Friday, June 16th and will have multiple performances through Sunday, June 25. Running alongside Greater Tuna is the musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee with music and lyrics by William Finn, Book by Rachel Sheinkin and Conceived by Rebecca Feldman. Opening night for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is Thursday, June 15 and will close Wednesday, June 28. Tickets are on sale now and may be purchased by contacting the River Campus Box Office, located in the Cultural Arts Center, 518 S. Fountain St., weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., by calling (573) 651-2265 or by visiting  “Numerous performances sold out last summer.  We anticipate these three summer shows selling out as well, so I encourage everyone to get their tickets sooner rather than later. There is a summer of comedy and there is something for all ages,” said Weller-Stilson.  


River Campus Summer Arts Festival Schedule for Rights 2017


Putnam County (Opening night)June 15 @ 7:30MTI

Rust 190 seatsJune 18 @ 2:00

$20.00 ticketsJune 20 @ 7:30

June 23 @ 7:30

June 24 @ 2:00

June 24 @ 7:30

June 27 @ 7:30

June 28 @ 7:30


Greater Tuna (Opening night)June 16 @ 7:30Samuel French

Rust 190 seatsJune 17 @ 7:30

$20.00 ticketsJune 21 @ 7:30

June 22 @ 7:30

June 25 @ 2:00

June 25 @ 7:30


Dear Edwina Jr. (Opening night)June 16 @7:30PM audience of 300 in Bedell $12.00 ticket

MTI Broadway Jr.June 17@ 10:00AM audience of 300 in Bedell free

June 17@ 3:00PM audience of 300 in Bedell free

June 18@ 2:00PM audience of 300 in Bedell $12.00 ticket


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