♪♪ Thursday, Friday happy days / Saturday, what a day / Rockin’ not one show but two … ♪♪
The Performing Arts Department at Missouri Southern State University will let you catch up with Richie Cunningham, Fonzie, Joanie, Chachi and the rest of the gang with “Happy Days: The Musical.”
Based on the classic television series that ran on ABC from 1974-84, the musical version will be offered at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Oct. 13-14, and 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15, in the Bud Walton Black Box Theatre.
The show was written by series creator Gary Marshall, with original music by Oscar winner Paul Williams.
“(Marshall) wanted to make sure there was some sort of archival preservation of ‘Happy Days,’” said Linda Unser, an adjunct theater instructor at Missouri Southern who is directing the production. “We wanted to do something that was upbeat, family friendly and have a lot of audience appeal.”
Set during Richie’s senior year of high school, the story finds the gang hosting a dance contest and wrestling match to raise money to save Milwaukee’s Arnold’s Drive-In from being closed and turned into a parking lot or strip mall.
“They even manage to work in Laverne and Shirley,” said Unser, of the two characters who would eventually get their own spin-off series.
Unser said the set features authentic diner furniture and décor from the 1950s and ‘60s era that was donated for the production.
The musical director is Kathy Nenandal, adjunct professor of piano, with choreography by Melissa Holt-Nance, director of alumni and donor relations, and student Kaitlyn Stockton.
Tickets are $15 for general admission and $10 for students, seniors, campus employees and members of the military. They can be purchased online at https://www.showtix4u.com/events/MOSOTheatre.
The cast includes:
Logan Carnes, sophomore theater performance major, Carl Junction, Mo.
Austin Prince, senior theater performance, Pevely, Mo.
Evangeline Blackert, senior musical theater, Dearing, Kan.
Logan Daniel, junior musical theater, Baxter Springs, Kan.
Sophie Stobel, junior theater performance, Joplin
Chloe Brower, sophomore theater performance, Joplin
Tucker Coble, senior secondary education, Columbus, Kan.
Gabriel Jacob, sophomore marketing, Webb City, Mo.
Ethan Hoover, freshman mass communication, Aurora, Mo.
Brianna Simpson, senior theater performance, Jasper, Mo.
Jayme Doyle, junior secondary education, Carl Junction, Mo.
Olivia Simmons, freshman secondary education, Carthage, Mo.
Kaitlyn Stockton, senior education-vocal, Cassville, Mo.
Lex Barnett, junior secondary education, El Dorado Springs, Kan.
Gracie Burris, sophomore musical theater, St. Louis, Mo.
Mackensie Scott, freshman musical theater, Altenburg, Mo.
Mark Kiger, community member, Joplin
Jesse Brower, community member, Joplin
Lucas Brower, community member, Joplin