Summer theatre season opener

Libby Ven Huizen, a 2017 Sheldon graduate, is the director of the first show of the summer theatre season, “Daddy’s Dyin’ . . . Who’s Got the Will?” The show opens at 8 p.m. Thursday night in the high school auditorium.

SHELDON—The Sheldon High School Summer Theatre program will open with “Daddy’s Dyin’ . . . Who’s Got the Will?”, a show as funny as it is dramatic, according to the director, Libby Ven Huizen.

“It’s a really fun show,” said Ven Huizen, who graduated from Sheldon in 2017. “It’s a comedy and a drama, I would say, kind of rolled into one.”

The show is the first of six for the 2019 summer theatre season. It will be performed at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday in the high school auditorium. Tickets will be available at the door and will cost $7 for adults and $5 for students.

Ven Huizen said the plot follows the four siblings of the Turnover family as they reunite to be with their dying father, Buford, and prepare for his funeral.

At the same time, however, the siblings must overcome tension that exists between them due to old, unforgotten disputes.

Ven Huizen said the show is filled with Southern humor and quick wit, which the audience is sure to enjoy.

“But even more than the comedy, I think they’ll enjoy the touching moments between the family,” she added. “And I think it’s something that a lot of people can resonate with and relate to.”

Ven Huizen said directing the first show of the season came with unique challenges. For example, rehearsals for the show began before the school year ended for her actors. This made it tricky for them to set up times to rehearse and memorize lines.

“But the kids have done a great job of really devoting themselves to their characters and working hard on it while they’re still in school,” Ven Huizen said.

The cast members for the show are Marra Oldenkamp, who plays the middle sister, Sara Lee Turnover; Lexie Merley, who plays the eldest sister, Lurlene Rogers; Ryer Dacken, who plays the brother, Orville Turnover; and Jennifer Pennings, who plays the youngest sister, Evalita. Meanwhile, Xander Van Dusseldorp plays the father, Buford Turnover; Grace Yocum plays Orville’s wife, Marlene; Ada Borer plays the siblings’ grandmother, Mama Wheelis; and Maison Oostra plays Evalita’s fiancé, Harmony.

Ven Huizen graduated from Sheldon High School in 2017 and recently finished her second year at Northwestern College in Orange City. She was involved in the summer theatre program all four years in high school. This is her second year as a director for the program.

She said her favorite part about directing is being able to see her students’ progress from the first day of rehearsal to opening night and seeing their characters develop.