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Rodgers & Hammerstein's State Fair

State FairMay 29 – July 8
Book by Tom Briggs and Louis Mattioli
Music by Richard Rodgers

Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Based on the screenplay by Oscar Hammerstein II
and the Novel by Phil Stong

Produced by special arrangement with the Rodgers & Hammerstein Theatre Library

Set against the colorful backdrop of an American heartland tradition, State Fair travels with the Frake family as they leave behind the routine of the farm for three days of adventure at the annual Iowa State Fair. Mom and Dad have their hearts set on blue ribbons while their daughter and son find romance on the Midway. Set to a charming Academy Award-winning score, State Fair is the kind of warm-hearted family entertainment only Rodgers & Hammerstein could deliver!

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Director Notes
Cast Bios
Production Staff Bios
Theme Dinners
State Fair Press Release
Read a recent review of State Fair

State Fair
Archive Photographs



A Note from the Director…

Don’t miss it, don’t even be late…

It is extremely ironic that my celebration of fifteen years in the business coincides directly with my falling in love with State Fair.  I saw the Round Barn’s original production of this wonderful chestnut in 1997 and immediately became infatuated. Of all the magnificent shows to spring from Rodgers and Hammerstein, I believe that State Fair is the only piece meant to embrace its own “broad” nature.  Many directors’ take Oklahoma and fill it full of over the top interpretations and characterizations, which not only “dumb” the show down, but, completely negates the humanity of the story…whereas, State Fair, encourages “larger than life” and celebrates its own goofy nature.  To make a long story, longer, I’ve been waiting over a decade for the opportunity to make my mark on this show and I finally have my chance!  I do not expect anyone to leave this production with a profound new outlook on life, but I believe that everyone will leave with a smile on their face and a song in their heart. Special thanks to Sari Ferraro for her influence on some of the staging and comedic bits, and to Joe Ford for the “comp” tickets back in ’97 (I saw the show twice).  Finally, I would like to dedicate this show to my Mentor, Jerry O’Boyle. Without his instruction and influence, the Round Barn Theatre would not be what it is today. Ioway!!!


Jeremy Littlejohn


A Note from the Music Director…

Welcome to State Fair! What an exciting show to be doing during the summer!  Sometimes many of us don't get a chance to attend our actual state fair, so I suppose seeing the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic would be the next best thing! Growing up in Columbus Ohio, I certainly had my fair share of attending and even working at the Ohio State Fair. I remember the rides, the food, the animals, the shows, the contest displays with all the award ribbons, the infamous "carnies", the freak show and of course the giant butter cow. I even milked a cow for the first time at the state fair! But the thing that I remember most about the fair was the sense of community, family, and state pride.  Something that is clearly in abundance with the people of Iowa as displayed so adamantly in the second act song "All I Owe Ioway". I hope that this show brings back some of your own favorite fair memories growing up and maybe even fuels your sense of community, family, and pride in your own respective circles. As always, thank you for coming and supporting live theatre and enjoy the show!

Travis Smith


State Fair Cast


Abel Frake (a farmer)


Travis Smith

Melissa Frake (Abel's wife)


Caitlin Borek

Wayne Frake (their son)


Matt Casey

Margy Frake (Wayne's sister)


Katie Kuehner

Dave Miller (local storekeeper)


Timothy Leonard

Eleanor (Wayne's girlfriend)


Vanessa Moyen

Harry (Margy's boyfriend)


Daniel Grey

Uncle Sam


Rory Dunn

Fair Vendor


John Cardenas

Fair Vendor


Daniel Grey

Fair Vendor


Ramaad Morris

The Fair Announcer


Richard Pletcher

The Hoop-La Barker


Benjamin Lee Jackson

Emily Arden


Emily Baer

Vivian (carnival dancer)


Sarah Philabaum

Jeanne (carnival dancer)


Nicole Tompkins

Pat Gilbert (newspaper reporter)


James Bock

Charlie (newspaper photographer)


Jonathan Goodson

Lem (a farmer)


Timothy Leonard

Clay (a farmer)


Benjamin Lee Jackson

Hank Munson/Chief of Police


Rory Dunn

Violet (his daughter)


Sara Bowling

The Fairtones


John Cardenas

Daniel Grey

Ramaad Morris

Mrs. Edwin Metcalf of Pottsville


Allison Jean Jones

Judge Heppenstahl


Timothy Leonard

Female Judge


Vanessa Moyen

Male Judge


Rory Dunn


State Fair Staff


Executive Producer


Richard Pletcher

Associate Producer


George Bush



Jeremy Littlejohn

Music Director


Travis Smith

Assistant Music Director


Steven Zumbrun

Production Stage Manager/Props


Monica Gauer

Technical Director


Ted Lantz



Catherine Menkel-Lawrence

ASM/Sound Designer


Spencer Holdeman

Set Designer


Richard Pletcher

Lighting Designer


Jeremy Littlejohn

Scenic Artist


Matthew C. Scott

Dance Captain


Sarah Philabaum

Box Office Manager


Jennifer Scheffer

Archive Videographer


Steve Jones


Time & Place

The action takes place over five days in late August of 1946 on the Frake farm in Brunswick, Iowa and at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines.


Scenes and Musical Numbers

Act I




Scene 1 the Frake Farm



Abel, Melissa & Wayne

It Might As Well Be Spring


Scene 2 the Midway at the Hoop-La Booth


Our State Fair


That's For Me


Scene 3 the Beer Tent


More Than Just A Friend

Abel, Lem, Hank & Clay

Scene 4 Outside the Dairy Pavilion


Isn't It Kinda Fun

Pat & Margy

Scene 5 the Starlight Dance Meadow


You Never Had It So Good

Emily Arden & The Fairtones

Scene 6 the Entrance to the Midway


It Might As Well Be Spring (Reprise)


Scene 7 Exhibition Hall


Scene 8 a Nearby Hillside


So Far

Wayne & Emily

Scene 9 the Starlight Dance Meadow


It's a Grand Night For Singing


Act II




Scene 1 Outside the Livestock Pavilion


The Man I Used To Be

Pat, Vivian & Jeanne

All I Owe Ioway

Abel & Company

Scene 2 Outside the Dairy Pavilion


The Man I Used To Be (Reprise)


Isn't It Kinda Fun (Reprise)


Scene 3 the Starlight Dance Meadow


That's The Way It Happens

Emily Arden & The Fairtones

Scene 4 the Hillside


Scene 5 Camper's Hill


Boys and Girls Like You and Me

Abel & Melissa

Scene 6 on the Midway


The Next Time It Happens


Scene 7 the Frake Farm


Finale Ultimo



Bios (The Round Barn Theatre Core Company)

Bios (Additional State Fair Cast)

Sara Bowling (Violet) is 13 years old and attends Northwood Middle School in Wakarusa.  Acting and singing are her favorite activities, and she has attended the Joseph Stein Young Actor’s Studio for the past five years.  During her 7th grade year, she competed in State Solo and Ensemble, and earned Gold Medals for her performances.  Sara has also participated in Circle the State with Song twice.  She has four years of dance training and is active in her school’s theatre and choir department.  She loves playing volleyball and is planning to further her guitar and piano training to accompany her singing talent.  She maintains a 4.0 GPA year round.

Caitlin Borek (Melissa Frake) was born in Chicago and raised in Aurora, Illinois.  She completed her BFA in Music Theater from Illinois Wesleyan University in May 2012.  She has passionately studied dance, voice and acting almost her whole life.  Her first role was a Prairie Girl (one out of 150) in a park district production of Oklahoma at age 6.  Caitlin would like to say thank you to her parents, and dedicate this show to you, for your support of live theater.




John Cardenas (Fairtone) a Southern California native, John holds a BA in Theatre Performance and a Dance Minor from Wagner College, NYC. John is thrilled to be back at the Acres after appearing in last season’s Camp Rock, Tom Sawyer, and as Barnaby Tucker in Hello Dolly, "Holy Cabooses!" Credits Include: Tenor (Stephen Sondheim’s 80th Birthday Celebration - Carnegie Hall), Swing (Intermezzo- NYC Opera), Fiddler (Fiddler on the Roof - AIM Tour), Frankincense (Seven Brides...- La Comedia, OH), Young Marley (A Christmas Carol- Armory Theatre, WI). 

“All my Love to Mom and Dad for your continuous support and encouragement.”

Jonathan Goodson (Charlie) was born and raised in the Nappanee/Goshen area and has been performing in theatre since he was a child.  Jon is a recent graduate from the Bethel College Music Department with a degree in Music Education and a minor in Musical Theatre.

“I want to thank God, family and friends for their support.  Enjoy the show!”


Daniel Grey (Harry) is excited to be performing at the Round Barn Theatre for the first time!  Daniel will be going into his senior year at Bethel College in Mishawaka this fall.  Some of his recent theatrical credits include Gandalf in The Hobbit and Mr. Laurence in Little Women.  Some of his other performance credits include roles in The Music Man, Les Miserables, Jekyll and Hyde and A Christmas Carol.




Allison Jean Jones (Mrs. Metcalf) is excited to return to the Joseph Stein Stage!  She has appeared in numerous productions since 2006, most recently as Ermengarde in last season’s Hello Dolly!  A recent graduate of Ball State University, Allison is eager to begin the next stage in her life, both on and off-stage.  Check out more at

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” – Oscar Wilde


Ramaad Morris (Fairtone) is incredibly excited to make his debut at the Round Barn Theatre this summer in State Fair! Ramaad just finished his senior year in the BFA program at Rockford College and is very excited to start his journey toward success in this business. Some of his credits include: Jim Conley in Parade, Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Little Harp in The Robber Bridegroom, Benny Southstreet in Guys and Dolls, Boyd Middleton in Book of Days, Jimmy Early in No, No, Nanette and a original one man show called Why Do Fools Fall in Love, a story about Frankie Lymon. He would like to thank Jeremy and the amazing cast and crew of State Fair, and his family and friends for all of their support.

“Enjoy the show!”


Travis Smith (Abel/Music Director) is returning to Amish Acres after spending the last few seasons performing and Music Directing various productions.  Originally from Columbus, Ohio, he has worked with several theatres across the Midwest.  Travis is also an accomplished Composer and Arranger, currently working on a new production entitled Steeple People Gospel about a male gospel quartet.

“Enjoy the show and please visit!”




Nicole Tompkins (Jeanne) is thrilled to be returning to the Round Barn stage!  She was previously seen as Louise in Carousel, Emily Webb in Our Town and Gabriella Montez in Disney’s High School Musical.  She has been performing all around the area for ten years and is currently pursuing her B.F.A. in Acting from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.  Favorite credits include Portia in The Merchant of Venice, Hope in Urinetown and Beth in Little Women.  Nicole would like to thank her family and friends for all their endless love and support.



State Fair Staff Biographies

Monica Gauer (Production Stage Manager) was born and raised in nearby Laporte, Indiana.  She graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a B.A. in Theater Arts, after which she married her high school sweetheart.  When she was younger, Monica remembered coming to the Round Barn Theatre and now she is excited to work here behind the scenes.  She hopes you enjoy the show!

Spencer Holdeman (Sound Designer) is 22 years old and was born and raised here, in Nappanee.  He attended ITT Tech and is thrilled to be spending his second season designing Sound here at the Round Barn Theatre.

Ted Lantz (Technical Director) is in his second season at the Round Barn Theatre after retiring from 34 years in Education.  He is at home on a stage, having been involved in Show Choir and Drama at Bremen High School.  A native of the Nappanee area, Ted resides with his wife, Chris, in nearby Wakarusa.  He enjoys frequent trips to his Alma Mater, Manchester College where his daughter, Kelsey, is a senior.  He especially enjoys visiting Maine, where his son, Jordan, is a student at Bowdoin College.

Catherine Menkel-Lawrence (Wardrobe) is happy to be working in her premier season with The Round Barn Theatre. A native of Newport, Oregon she is a graduate of Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. Recent credits include Northwest Opera In Schools Etc's Hansel and Gretl, Costumer, Weathervane 2011 season, Stitcher, Arizona Broadway Theatre, Costume Intern.

Jeremy Littlejohn (Artistic Director) is a native Hoosier who has been performing his entire life and getting paid for it for the past fifteen years!  There isn’t much Jeremy hasn’t done at Amish Acres having now worked here in three different decades both on the Joseph Stein Stage and in the Historic Area.  He is probably remembered for his performance credits, but is most proud of introducing straight plays to the Round Barn patrons by way of the Second Stage.  He has logged over 700 performances of Plain and Fancy, playing all of the male roles, and directed the show four times; including the 20th Anniversary Season.  Some of his other notable RBT accomplishments include directing Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, which is the most attended production in the theater’s history, starring in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Fiddler on the Roof, which are in the top five on that list, and his Masterwork, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel.  In addition to being an Actor / Director, Jeremy is also an accomplished Lighting Designer, Stage Manager and Teacher. 

“This Act ain’t much, but through it, I’ve met Kings and Queens and I got to meet you.”   – From The Will Rogers Follies; Lyrics by Betty Comden & Adolph Green

Richard Pletcher (Producer), with his father LaVern, founded Amish Acres in 1968. The Amish farm was preserved and restored and is now listed in The National Register of Historic Places. Following a one year experiment in dinner-theatre with George Bledsoe in 1971, he added musical theatre to the interpretation of the historic farm by producing Plain and Fancy in the Locke Township Meeting House in 1986. It moved to the Round Barn Theatre in 1991. The play has been running for 25 consecutive years having surpassed 3,500 performances before audiences of over 350,000 people. Plain and Fancy’s Tony Award® winning author Joseph Stein and Tony Award® winning composer Albert Hague have attended Plain and Fancy at Amish Acres.

At Mr. Stein’s urging Amish Acres became a regional musical repertory theatre in 1996 with the addition of five shows in rotation with Plain and Fancy each season. Amish Acres has now produced seventy two different main stage Broadway musicals and The Round Barn Theatre stage is named for and dedicated to Joseph Stein. Eight of Mr. Stein’s musicals have been produced on his stage, including Plain and Fancy, Fiddler on the Roof, The Baker’s Wife, and Zorba, plus staged readings of Take Me Along, Rags, and Carmelina, plus a Second Stage Production of Enter Laughing. As you might expect, he has said that The Round Barn Theatre is his favorite regional theatre with which he has been associated.

In October of 2006, Dick and his wife Susan were guests of Joseph and Elisa Stein in New York City for the York Theatre’s Mufti Series production of Plain and Fancy, the last in a month long, three show festival of Stein’s work that included Take Me Along and Carmelina. Artistic Director James Morgan recognized Amish Acres’ twenty year production of Plain and Fancy in the program and in his introductions from the stage. The Pletchers and Jeremy Littlejohn attended the York’s presentation of the Oscar Hammerstein Lifetime Achievement Award in Musical Theatre to Joseph Stein in November of 2007. Stein was further inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame in February of 2008. He passed away in 2010 and the Joseph Stein Memorial Fund was created to provide free season tickets to kids.

Steven Zumbrun (Asst. Music Director) is very happy to make his Amish Acres debut, as well as his debut in the state of Indiana.  He has served as a freelance Music Director / Accompanist throughout the United States and Canada for the past twenty years.  Favorite productions include Ruthless!, Forever Plaid, Damn Yankees, The Full Monty, Route 66, Sweeney Todd, Songs for a New World and the Baltimore area premieres of Blood Brothers, Wings and Pageant.  When not accompanying shows, he also sings, tap dances, and plays the accordion, all of which were demonstrated in two productions of the wonderful musical Pump Boys and Dinettes.  He is co-author (with Ivan Sherman) of the musical adaptation Bring Me Giants, which recently received its world premiere production.


State Fair
Theme Dinner Dates: June 15-22

Each Round Barn theatre Musical production calls for a Theme Dinner and Wine Bar, a joyous celebration with menus written with tongue-in-cheek show references and double entendres, often obscure and ridiculous. the responsibility for such frivolity rest solely with Richard Pletcher. The ensuing menus are lovingly prepared by chef Ruth Miller whose sense of humor make it into it kettle and skillet.

Theme Dinner reservations required. 
For reservations call (800) 800-4942.

The Pride of Iowa

Menu Includes:

Roasted Tomato Soup

Corn Dogs
Pickles on a Stick

Corn Tornato Salad
Green Salad
Maytag Blue Cheese Dressing

Corn Bread
Corn Cob Jelly

Iowa Pork Steak
Three Pepper Chicken

Spanish Rice

Garlic Roasted Summer Squash
Cheesey Potatoes

Sour Creame Raisin Pie
Quick Lemon Crisps
Apple Pie
Ruth's Famous Crème Brule'

Iced Tea, Lemonade, Coffees
Beer and Wine available for purchase

Wine Tasting2012 Theme Dinner Menu