Mansfield Pageant Dates 2017

Mansfield Pageant
Mansfield Pageant

What Is It?

You’ve probably heard of the Laura Ingalls Wilder pageants in DeSmet, South Dakota, and Walnut Grove, Minnesota, but do you know there is a pageant in Mansfield, Missouri? This pageant is put on by the Ozark Mountain Players and is called Laura’s Memories.

What’s Different from the Other Pageants?

One major difference is that this pageant is a musical. Frankly I like the music better than the Little House on the Prairie the Musical that got a national tour. I’ve only seen it once in person (although I’ve also seen in on DVD), but I can still sing part of a couple of the songs. ♫♪”Farmer boy, Farmer boy…” ♪♫

Unlike the other two pageants it seeks to tell Laura’s entire life story rather than just a part of it or to dramatize one of the books. It plays off the only known recording of Laura’s voice using that as a set up as Laura shares memories from her life. A unique thing is that they rotate roles as time progresses so no one person has to learn an excessive amount of dialogue, which can be a little difficult to follow until you figure it out.  Important to the audience it also features the most professional theater stage and the best back support for the seats.

Dates

Uniquely for the pageants it splits its dates every year with some during the summer and the rest in September as part of the lead up to Wilder Days. They were very late getting the dates out this year, so I’m taking this special post to share them. I’ve updated my events page with these and a couple of other things lately, so take a look.

  • July 14-15, 21-22, 28-29, 2017
  • Sept 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 2017
  • Wilder Days: September 15,16, & 17, 2017

I can honestly highly recommend this pageant. So if you’re looking for a last minute Laura trip. Take a look!

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+,  LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

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25th Anniversary of Laura’s Memories

This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the Ozark Mountain Players production of Laura’s Memories. Their Laura Ingalls Wilder pageant differs in quite a few ways from the other pageants. Mansfield Pageant

  • While they hold auditions for the pageant each year it’s put on by a repertory company that sometimes does other shows and didn’t actually begin with the pageant.
  • It’s a musical. Not only is it a musical, it’s a great musical. One that I can still sing snatches of songs from even though it’s been at least 10 years since I attended.
  • Said great music is available as a soundtrack through the Laura Ingalls Wilder Home and Museum in Mansfield. Find it in their online store.
  • Rather than have people memorize so much, the cast switches roles as the play progresses.
  • They have the BEST seats of any pageant. Honestly the older I get the more I appreciate back support.
  • Unlike De Smet, Walnut Grove, and Vinton they show Laura’s entire life instead of concentrating on a certain portion of it.
  • They have a longer and more spread out run with some dates in mid-summer and another block this fall with far more performances than any of the others.

In short it’s definitely earned its 25 year run and I really think you should go.

Earlier I did posts on pageant travel advice with details on how to attend Laura’s Memories and a link to a Ozark Public Television program on it, complete with notes to help you find different parts.

I hope you’ll make an effort to try to go see the pageant next year. I’m going to give up on Wilder Days this next year and see if I can make it for one of the earlier performances.

Learn more about Laura’s Memories and find links to other articles/videos.

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Ozark Watch Mansfield Pageant

Mansfield Pageant
Mansfield Pageant

I mentioned that I was looking for a particular Ozark Watch episode and that’s how I found the ones about the Laura Ingalls Wilder Home and Museum in Mansfield’s future plans and the one on Rock Architecture, but I finally found the one I was looking for and this is it, it’s on the Ozark Mountain Players and Laura’s Memories Pageant.  The episode features four guests and talks about the history of the pageant. If you’ve only been to the pageants in Walnut Grove and De Smet, as great as they are, you’re missing out a great and totally different experience. I hope you can plan a trip to Mansfield during the pageant soon.

http://video.optv.org/video/2332656262

Opening scene repeats later in the episode until 1:04

Dale Moore the host does the introduction.

First 2 guests, Terry Spyres, the playwright, and Pat Allen, the composer and lyricist.

The pageant started in 1974 as part of Wilder Day. Their first production wasn’t Laura related it was a traditional Melodrama. (Includes photos) 3:00 Were then called the Silver Palace Players and started in the Legion Hall.

Stills of early shows, footage from last years show 5:30

Spyres worked at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Home and Museum to get background, flavor, and find out what people’s favorite stories were. 6:30

Allen describes the creative process where Spyres would set up the scene and describe the kind of song she wanted and Allen would write the music. Their background was as elementary music teachers. 8:00

More footage of last year’s musical. The production isn’t static and is changed each year depending on make up of that year’s cast participants. Scenes evolve and some are new each year. 8:30

Muscians during performance 9:40

At least 7 families are 3 generations of participants 10:15

Talk about Neta Seal 13:15

Early photos including one of Garth Williams with the cast Alison Argrim, Kevin Hagen, and Dean Butler also get shoutouts 14:00

Switched interviewees to Eric Spyres, who has been with the group since melodramas was Pa for 1st 16 years, and Phil Bennett  more old photos 16:00

Phil Bennett tells how he got involved. 17:30

Talking about family connections in the stories and the pageant 20:00

Locations of pageant 22:00 (Truly the auditorium seating is the best of any of the pageants. Comfortable plus back support) Thanks to Hutchinson Industries for helping make the seating.

Learn More: http://www.laurasmemories.com/calendar-of-events/

UPDATE: Not a lot new to add here since this post is just from last year, it has been very popular. I’m still trying to get some of the folks behind the pageant to come on the podcast. I hope it works out soon. I’ll also point out that Phil Bennett who is one of those interviewed has commented on this post and also called in twice to my Laura Ingalls Wilder birthday episodes.

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation.Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on  FacebookTwitterGoogle+,  LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. She is currently acting President of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.