Willamette University Theatre Presents Willa Cather Pioneer Story

Willamette University Theatre presents "O Pioneers!" April 13, 14, 19, 20 and 21 at 8 p.m. and April 15 and 22 at 2 p.m., with a preview April 12 at 8 p.m. The performance will be in the Kresge Theatre at Willamette University.

"O Pioneers!" is based on a novel by Willa Cather and tells the story of Alexandra Bergson, who takes charge of her father's Nebraska homestead after his death. She holds her farm and family together through harvest, drought and poverty, until her three brothers are ready to stand on their own.

"Cather wasn't the first writer to feminize the Western landscape, but she remains one of the most enduring because Alexandra's story still has meaning," said Director Tom Butler. "She neglects part of her emotional life while taming the land, and only just before it's too late does Alexandra allow herself to respond to the man she loves." Lyrical songs and stories reflect on the pioneer experience, from crossing the Atlantic to homesteading and surmounting tragedies.

Cather's novel was adapted by Darrah Cloud, with music by Kim Sherman.

Theatre Department Chair Christopher Harris designed the sets, including the prairie landscape, Bobby Brewer-Wallin created period costumes, and Vikki McGuire oversees lighting. Portland-based Jen Reynak is a guest designer.

The company features students Sarah Hamilton, Charlie Owen, Anthony Harvey, Amanda Washko, Stephen Cole, Ben Weyerhauser, Andrew Theis, Matt Romein, Aaron Smith, Lesli Okorn, Eliza Leoni, Cory Goble, Joshua Lee, Kelsey Scott, Kirsten Maki, Olivia Saccomanno and Kristine Janssen.

To purchase tickets, contact the Willamette University Box Office at (503) 370-6221 or reserve tickets by email at Opening night is $12 for general admission and $8 for students and seniors. Most other evening performances are $10 for general admission and $6 for students and seniors. Contact the box office for specific pricing and details. The Willamette campus is at 900 State Street in Salem. For more information contact the Theatre Department at (503) 370-6222 or visit