Founded in 1978, The Robertson County Players have performed nearly 100 different plays and musicals in the past 40 years!

2018: The Hobbit, Cinderella KIDS (Kids Camp Performance), Footloose, Miracle on 34th Street

2017: 

  

2016: The Man Who Came to Dinner, Seussical the Musical KIDS (Kids Camp Performance), Oklahoma!, Anne of Green Gables, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

 

2015: You Can’t Take it With You, Fiddler on the Roof, First Baptist of Ivy Gap

 

2014: Harvey, Ragtime, To Kill a Mockingbird, A Southern Christmas Carol

 

2013: The Diary of Anne Frank, Big River, The Sunshine Boys, Once Upon a Christmas Time (3 one-act plays including Christmas Gifts, Letters from War, and Santa and the Wicked Wazoo)

 

2012: Crimes of the Heart, Annie Get Your Gun, Arsenic and Old Lace, A Christmas Carol: A Live Radio Play 

2011: On Golden Pond, The Music Man, Butterflies are Free, Frankenstein

 

2010: Steel Magnolias, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play

 

2009: Bus Stop, Peter and the Wolf, Twelve Angry Men

2008: The Glass Menagerie, Vanities, Deathtrap

 

2007: Open to Interpretation, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (in cooperation with Mel O’ Drama)

   

2006: Twain By the Tale

    

2005: Beauty and the Beast, Rudolph’s Big Secret

   

1996: The Miracle Worker, Making Hands 

   

1995: Barefoot in the Park

   

1994: Hal Aldridge Memorial Festival for the Arts, The Truth About Cinderella

 

1993: Fifteenth Anniversary Celebration, Annie, Witness for the Prosecution

   

1992: Charlotte’s Web

   

1991: Brigadoon, Murder in the Magnolias

   

1990: Rock ’N Roll

   

1988: Tom Sawyer

   

1987: The Velveteen Rabbit

   

1986: The Wizard of Oz, I Remember Mama, Our Town, The Silver Whistle

   

1985: The Star Spangled Girl, Snow White, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, Inherit the Wind

   

1984: Cinderella, The Sound of Music, Harvey, SpringFling: A Tribute to Gershwin

   

1983: The Invisible People, Beautiful Beulah Belle, The Odd Couple, The Night of January 16th, Spring Fling: A Tribute to Hollywood

   

1982: Alice in Wonderland, Spring Fling: Tribute to Broadway, South Pacific, Arsenic and Old Lace

   

1981: You Can’t Take it With You, Ten Little Indians, The Music Man, The Passion of Dracula

   

1980: The Mousetrap, Oklahoma!, Claudia

   

1979: The Silver Whistle, My Sister Eileen, The Curious Savage, Spoon River Anthology

   

1978: Plaza Suite

If visiting from a mobile device, please visit our full website from a computer to view a detailed history of The Robertson County Players. 

A HISTORY OF THE ROBERTSON COUNTY PLAYERS

The Early History

The Robertson County Players came into being in the fall of 1978 when a group of local Robertson County citizens interested in theatre organized and elected officers. Those in attendance at that first meeting were Verne and Marge Bolen, Hal Aldridge, Dorothye Mathews, Becky Petty, Donna Wilkins, Sally Goodman, Joe Bragg, Pastor of the Springfield Central Christian Church, and Charlie Ralph, Director of the of the Springfield Chamber of Commerce. These people also became the first RCP Board of Directors. They also elected officers at that first meeting with Verne Bolen serving as President, Charlie Ralph as Vice-President, Donna Wilkins as secretary and Marge Bolen as Treasurer.

 

The group named their fledgling organization, The Robertson County Players and chose the Neil Simon Play Plaza Suite as their first production. The comedy was performed at Jo Byrns High School. This production was made possible by the generosity of Verne Bolen who underwrote the expenses of the play. Plaza Suite was performed in three acts with a different director helming each act. The directors were Guy Stanley, John Weaver and Candy Watts.

 

Other plays performed that season were the The Silver Whistle in the winter of 1979, and My Sister Eileen that following summer. Both shows were performed at  Greenbrier Elementary School and directed by Hal Aldridge.

Submitted by Danny Atchley

The Early History

The Robertson County Players came into being in the fall of 1978 when a group of local Robertson County citizens interested in theatre organized and elected officers. Those in attendance at that first meeting were Verne and Marge Bolen, Hal Aldridge, Dorothye Mathews, Becky Petty, Donna Wilkins, Sally Goodman, Joe Bragg, Pastor of the Springfield Central Christian Church, and Charlie Ralph, Director of the of the Springfield Chamber of Commerce. These people also became the first RCP Board of Directors. They also elected officers at that first meeting with Verne Bolen serving as President, Charlie Ralph as Vice-President, Donna Wilkins as secretary and Marge Bolen as Treasurer.

 

The group named their fledgling organization, The Robertson County Players and chose the Neil Simon Play Plaza Suite as their first production. The comedy was performed at Jo Byrns High School. This production was made possible by the generosity of Verne Bolen who underwrote the expenses of the play. Plaza Suite was performed in three acts with a different director helming each act. The directors were Guy Stanley, John Weaver and Candy Watts.

 

Other plays performed that season were the The Silver Whistle in the winter of 1979, and My Sister Eileen that following summer. Both shows were performed at  Greenbrier Elementary School and directed by Hal Aldridge.

Submitted by Danny Atchley

RCP's Original Board of Directors

The Robertson County Players' original board of directors was a diverse group of local Springfield citizens, some with community theatre experience but most without. They soon became a tight-knit group that would change the face of entertainment in Robertson County for generations.

 

Verne Bolen - Verne served as the first President of the RCP and was the owner of Bolen Leather Company in Springfield. A native of Chicago, he moved to Springfield with his family in the mid 1960's. Verne had  been involved in community theater in other towns he had lived in throughout his life. His favorite role he would often say, was Big Daddy in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. He later went on to star in two of the first three RCP productions The Silver Whistle and My Sister Elieen. Sadly, Verne passed away two days after the fourth RCP production, The Curious Savage.

 

Charlie Ralph - Charlie served as the first Vice-President of the RCP. He was the Executive Director for the Springfield Chamber of Commerce. Charlie, who championed everything that was good  for Springfield in those days, immediately saw the potential and the benefit of having viable community theater. He was a solid supporter and hosted RCP Board meetings in the Chamber of Commerce offices.

 

Marge Bolen - Marge served as the first RCP Treasurer and went onto distinguish herself in that office for years to come. Even after her beloved husband Verne passed away, she served in the role until she herself passed away in 1995. Marge often said she had no desire to venture onstage but she loved the Robertson County Players and its members with all of her heart.

 

Donna Wilkins - Donna served as the first Secretary for the Players.  She may very well have served as the catalyst for the founding of the Players. The story goes that she became acquainted with Hal Aldridge when she was a hygienist for local dentist, Dr. Robert Deberry. They started talking about Hal's earlier involvement in community theatre and how Springfield needed a theatre group. From there, the rest as they say is history. Donna later went on to appear in several early plays plus served as producer for many productions throughout the years.

Hal Aldridge - Hal was a dancer in some of the big musical films from the Hollywood Golden Age during the 1940’s. He moved to Springfield after his retirement to live with his sister Dorothye. Before his arrival in Springfield, Hal had also become a renowned director in community theatre around the country. He brought much needed experience to the Robertson County Players and served as a director in many of the early plays and musicals.

 

Dorothye Mathews - Hal's older sister was herself an accomplished singer and dancer. She also became a mainstay for her brother and the RCP by serving on the RCP board for many years. She also produced numerous productions and was always referred to affectionately as “Mama Beck.”

 

Becky Mathews Petty - Dorothye Mathews' youngest daughter, Becky, was also a member of the first RCP board. Becky sold ads, handed out programs, sold tickets, enlisted and encouraged actors and crew members and continues to support the Robertson County Players to this day.

 

Sally Goodman - One thing not mentioned and perhaps near forgotten, was how important a local company was to the early success of the Players. Nasco, Inc was a highly regarded fundraising and manufacturing company located in Springfield. Sally was married to Cliff Goodman and Donna Wilkins was married to Winfield Wilkins. They along with Tommy Petty, the husband to Becky Petty were all executives at Nasco. The company since its founding in the 1960’s had always been a big supporter of charitable groups, churches and schools. With their help and support (including monetarily), the RCP  had their posters and programs printed at Nasco, often times using art that was created  there. In fact, the original and iconic RCP logo was designed by Nasco artist Martha Risher.  Sally went onto become a tireless supporter and benefactor of the RCP till her passing just a few short years ago.

 

Joe Bragg - The late Joe Bragg was the pastor at Central Christian Church located on Fifth Avenue here in Springfield. Joe was also a civic leader in the community and while never appearing onstage became a devoted supporter of the RCP and was another important reason for us being here today. 

Written by Donna Wilkins and Sally Goodman

The RCP's First Musical Production

The RCP’s first Broadway style musical Oklahoma,was performed during a sultry July in 1980 at the then Springfield High School Auditorium. The auditorium, a cavernous 800 seat theatre was built by the WPA in the 1930’s and at that time was without air conditioning. It was directed to near perfection by Guy Stanley with the music under the gifted direction of Roger Bunch.Oklahomawas a game changer for the Players. Before Oklahoma, the Players had been performing typical community theatre fare with light comedies and dramas. With the musical Oklahoma,the Players received renown for putting together a Broadway style show with a full orchestra, chorus, and actors who knew how to sing and dance. The show set a precedent for high quality family entertainment that is still with us to this very day!

Submitted by Danny Atchley

©2018 BY ROBERTSON COUNTY PLAYERS