FISH CREEK, WI -
Northern Sky Theater will host the 71st Alice in Dairyland, Kaitlyn Riley, at the world premiere of Dairy Heirs on Tuesday, June 19th in Peninsula State Park in Fish Creek. Ms. Riley will greet patrons and will give a short update about Wisconsin's dairy industry from the stage prior to the performance.
Dairy Heirs is billed as a modern-day "moosical" that celebrates family farming and the delights of living in a small town.
"As with many of our stories, Dairy Heirs feels as if it grew right out of the soil here in the dairy land," stated Molly Rhode, associate artistic director. "In fact, the entire writing team has a deep connection to the very heart of this show."
Joel Kopischke has been developing the piece over the course of 15 years and interviewed dairy farmers when the script was in its early stages. In addition to being author, Kopischke is also the lyricist. In the "real world" Kopischke is a professional consultant who has worked extensively with food co-ops and individuals in the farm-to-table industry.
Eva Nimmer, who audiences have seen on the Northern Sky stage, joined the writing team two years ago and is co-author of the script. Nimmer grew up in Plymouth, WI, the "Cheese Capital of the World." One of Nimmer's brothers became a cheese scientist and works for BelGioioso in Green Bay.
Alissa Rhode is the show's composer. Rhode wrote much of the music while working at Big Top Chautauqua in Bayfield, WI, and says that Tetzner's Dairy Farm in Washburn, WI was a particular inspiration.
Kaitlyn Riley, of Gays Mills, recently crowned Alice in Dairyland, learned first-hand the passion and work ethic of Wisconsin farmers growing up on her family's registered Jersey dairy farm. Wanting to share agriculture's story, she studied strategic communications and broadcast journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In college, she held officer positions with the Association of Women in Agriculture and Badger Dairy Club. She also founded the university's first agricultural radio talk show, AgChat.
After graduating with honors in May, 2014 Riley served as the 48th Wisconsin Fairest of the Fairs. Her passion for the fair industry and agritourism came from years of showing cattle at the local, state and national levels. Professionally, she worked as the farm news director at WPRE-WQPC Radio in Prairie du Chien and as a multimedia journalist with WQOW News 18 in Eau Claire. In May, 2017 she returned to the family farm to manage calf and heifer care. She continued sharing the stories of agriculture by freelance writing for Hoard's Dairyman, and she volunteers with agricultural organizations such as the Crawford County Dairy Promoters, Crawford County Livestock Camp Committee, and Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation.
"As Alice in Dairyland, I will give a positive voice to Wisconsin's diverse agriculture industry," said Riley. "Through my travels, I will learn from the many faces of agriculture to better educate urban and rural audiences about the importance of Wisconsin food, fuel and fiber production in our daily lives."
Alice in Dairyland is a one-year, full-time public relations professional employed by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (WI DATCP). Each year, Alice in Dairyland travels more than 30,000 miles throughout the state, promoting Wisconsin agriculture to various audiences.
Northern Sky's world premiere Dairy Heirs runs from June 18th - August 25th at the Peninsula State Park Amphitheater in Fish Creek, WI. There is no park sticker required to attend performances in the State Park.
Tickets for the summer season can be purchased in the Northern Sky box office at the Green Gables shops in north Ephraim, via phone at (920) 854-6117, and online at www.NorthernSkyTheater.com