Starkid Productions comedy coming to ACTS Theatre stage

Published 1:53 pm Friday, June 21, 2024

ACTS Theatre will be bringing the wonder of the Oregon Trail to the stage starting this Friday, June 21, with their rendition of Starkid Productions’ “The Trail to Oregon!”

“The Trail to Oregon!” is a “loosely based” adaptation of the game from the late ’70s and early ’80s, said ACTS President Kristina Webster.

Starkid Productions was born in 2009 on the campus of the University of Michigan. Over the years, they have produced 13 full-length musical comedies that are available for viewing on YouTube. Webster said that she and her peers at ACTS theater are fans of Starkid’s work. “The Trail to Oregon!” was their top pick for the summer because it can appeal to audiences that are not familiar with Starkid’s work.

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The musical stars a family of five — Grandpa, Dad, Mom, Son and Daughter — as they leave Independence, Missouri, for Oregon. On their journey, they will face obstacles that are reminiscent of the original video game.

“They’ll face the usual trouble on the trail — disease, lack of food and deciding whether or not to ford the river,” she said. “Players of the game will also remember the hunting aspect, which is included in the musical with one of the more colorful songs in the show.”

The show features bops like “Dysentery World,” “Wagon on Fire” and “When the World’s at Stake.”

To emulate the experience of the video game, the musical relies on audience interaction. The names of the characters and the ending are chosen by the audience members, which makes each night’s show different from the last.

“Although the base story remains the same, the cast does a lot of off-the-cuff improv, especially as they play off the names they are given by the audience.”

While the show is a comedy, it explores themes of fortitude and the importance of family in times of struggle (and sometimes peril).

“The actual Oregon Trail was a long, hard journey, and many families didn’t make it,” she said. “The original game’s difficulty was based on the actual pioneers traveling the trail.”

The show does feature adult language, and some adult situations, so parents are encouraged to use discretion before bringing their children.

“We don’t consider this a child-friendly show,” she said.

The cast includes Tyron Corpuz as the Father, Markie Hebert as the Mother, Jonah Alexander as the Daughter, Alex Tyler as the Son, Kathy Heath as the Grandpa, Peyton Stanford and Cletus Jones/Cornwallis, Joshua Macer as the Ox/Baby Buffalo and Cameron Fultz as the “Bandit King” McDoon and various townspeople.

“The Trail to Oregon” will be on stage for two weekends, June 21 through 23 and June 28 through 30.

Friday and Saturday showings will begin at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday showings will begin at 3 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased online at