Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Sprouting Idea Magdalen Players to Debut `Beanstalk'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Sprouting Idea Magdalen Players to Debut `Beanstalk'

Article excerpt

TONIGHT the Magdalen Players - a group of mothers, fathers and children with day gigs such as teaching, engineering and passing fourth grade - will direct, produce and star in the world premiere of the musical "Beanstalk."

The play, a song- and pun-filled take on "Jack and the Beanstalk," is fresh from the pen of a published playwright and songwriter based in Los Angeles.

Right, you're thinking, an amateur theater group based at a South Side Catholic parish, St. Mary Magdalen, is staging a world premiere in the parish gym. Well, they are. "Beanstalk" 's author is Kevin Mitchell, Lindbergh High School class of '81. The wicked witch in Magdalen's "Beanstalk" is Barb Schiller, formerly Barb Tippett, Lindbergh High School class of '81. Mitchell and Schiller caught the theater bug together at Lindbergh from drama teachers Debbie Peppers and John Weiss. Peppers and Weiss still teach at the school. Over the next 15 years, Schiller went to college, taught French, married and now works as a full-time mother to three girls under age 10. Mitchell went to college, knocked around the country in a band, wrote obituaries for a newspaper and now writes and edits children's books for a Los Angeles publishing house by day and writes sitcoms and plays by night. Groundling's, a theatre in Los Angeles, produced one of his one-act plays. Whenever Mitchell has felt low and about to give up on his play writing, he has called Schiller, who has told him to hang in there. When time has allowed over the years, Schiller has scratched her acting itch by appearing with Magdalen Players. The group has put on an annual musical for 13 years. This fall, when the Magdalen Players began looking for a children's play, Schiller played matchmaker. The Magdalen Players' director, Beth Appelbaum, whose day job is mother and sales clerk, got excited when she read the play and learned that Mitchell would waive the copyright fee. …

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