Chicago comes to Brookings

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Coincidentally, you can see the same musical if you are in Canton or in Brookings. Actors in both areas are performing the Tony-winning show, Chicago. If you drive north on I-29, you will find South Dakota State University is hosting an opening night for the traveling broadway production.

You could say the cast of Chicago is bringing the show to a different windy city in South Dakota. 

“There’s not a wasted line. There’s so much to pack in every line. The music, you don’t have a clunker in the entire score,” Peter Lockyer, who plays the character Billy Flynn in the show, said. 

“Great dancers. It’s a great story that still kind of needs to be told for today,” Lana Gordon, who plays Velma Kelly, said. 

As dazzling as it is to have the national broadway production in town, the venue may actually be the real star of the show in Brookings. 

“I’m so excited about this. It’s such a beautiful theater. I love the beautiful amber opening,” Gordon said. 

Chicago will christen the Performing Arts Center’s new professional theater. Coordinator of Theatre for the School of Performing Arts, J.D. Ackman, remembers hearing about plans for this when he was a student in the ’70s.

“Now here we are, 40 years later and it’s become a reality. I couldn’t be happier,” Ackman said. 

This is part of a bigger picture. The Brookings Community and SDSU is unveiling a $50 million expansion to the Performing Arts Center. Last summer, KELOLAND News showed you construction on new classrooms, recital hall, the theater, a 4,000-pipe organ, and more. Ackman says it’s a good recruitment tool for the School of Performing Arts.

“I have a wonderful set of colleagues who are wonderful teachers and great artists. Now that we have this, it just ups the stakes for a perspective student,” Ackman said. 

Overall, the expansion will bring more arts and entertainment to the area. Lockyer says that’s important, whether you live under the bright lights of Broadway, Chicago, or –as of now– Brookings.

“I think it’s a game-changer for anywhere in the world. When you invest in the arts, you’re investing in social impacts. You’re investing in how you relate to one another,” Lockyer said. 

At the time this story aired on Friday, tickets for the Friday show were still available

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