Josie Schave

Josie Schave performs as heroine "Nellie Oudt" in "Klondike Kalamity" at the Mansfield Playhouse. The show opens Friday night for a five-performance run. (Submitted photo)

MANSFIELD -- A fair and lovely maiden and a sawmill blade. A poor and and crusty -- but honest -- lumberjack. A heroic Mountie. A villain the audience will love to loathe.

And a flapjack-pilfering bear.

"Klondike Kalamity," which opens Friday night at the Mansfield Playhouse, combines all of those elements and more into a hilarious melodrama with a cast of 10 local performers.

The dictionary tell us a "modern melodrama is a dramatic work wherein the plot, typically sensationalized and for a strong emotional appeal, takes precedence over detailed characterization. Melodramas typically concentrate on dialogue that is often bombastic or excessively sentimental, rather than action."

Klondike Kalamity

Jeff Kilgore as "Fanduster T. Barrelbottom" interacts with Jennifer Briner as "Farley Goodbody" in "Klondike Kalamity." (Submitted photo)

So what in the heck makes a good melodrama? We asked Doug Wertz, the veteran artistic director for the 95 E. Third St. community theater.

"Understanding the humor and having the chemistry within the cast to tolerate the overacting," Wertz said with a laugh. "The way it's written ... it's such a farce.

"There are so many places the actors get to break the 'Fourth Wall ..' so many asides where they address the audience. It makes it so much more fun," Wertz said.

"I love the humor of the pun throughout the show. It's just an absolutely good-time situation comedy, but it's very animated," he said.

"Klondike Kalamity" was originally cast about a year ago, only to see it delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A few of the original cast members have had to be replaced over time, but the director said the show is ready.

"This cast has been anxiously waiting in the wings to do this show," Wertz said. "They have had their scripts for a year and they are ready to go."

The show, last done at the Playhouse 13 years ago, is set in the Great Yukon Blizzard of 1888. The cast includes several Playhouse veterans.

"I am not sure if that is an advantage or a disadvantage," said Wertz, who directs and plays a role in the show. "Even though we have some veterans, some of them have never worked together before and when you bring them all in, there is still a matter of developing that chemistry."

Klondike Kalamity 3

Josie Schave as "Nellie Oudt" performs with Scott Stoops as "Warren Oudt" in "Klondike Kalamity," which opens Friday night at the Mansfield Playhouse. (Submitted photo)

The cast is:

Nellie Oudt -- Josie Schave

Warren Oudt -- Scott Stoops

Roger B. Upright -- Andrew Conway

Farley Goodbody -- Jennifer Briner

Fangduster T. Barrelbottom -- Jeff Kilgore

Chief Chingkatchnakook -- Tony Viscioni

Gwendolyn Oudt -- Amy Parker

Prince K'nook -- Alex Copping

Justice Dunn -- Doug Wertz

Bruno --  Jeremiah Viscioni

Curtain on Friday is at 8 p.m. There will also be performances Oct. 23, Oct. 29 and Oct. 30 at 8 p.m. and a matinee Oct. 31 at 2:30 p.m.

The theater is open to full capacity, though Wertz said the Playhouse is requiring masks for entrance at this time.

Tickets to all Mansfield Playhouse shows are available online at Tickets can also be purchased at the box office on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. and one hour prior to all performances. Tickets can also be purchased by calling 419-522-2883 during box office hours.

Coming up next

Tickets are on sale for recording artist Shawn Mullins concert, scheduled for Nov. 6 at the Mansfield Playhouse.

The next stage production at the Playhouse will be "The Magician's Nephew," based on the work of C.S. Lewis. Performance dates are Dec. 3-4 and Dec. 10-12. Tickets for that show are also on sale now.

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City editor. 30-year plus journalist. Husband. Father of 3 grown sons and also a proud grandpa. Prior military journalist in U.S. Navy, Ohio Air National Guard. -- Favorite quote: "Where were you when the page was blank?"