A woman is working on sewing a costume

Lydia Holterman, a junior theater major, works on a sequined jacket for the upcoming production “Dragons Love Tacos.” The children’s play, part of SIU Carbondale’s McLeod Summer Playhouse, opens Wednesday, June 12. (Photo provided)

June 07, 2024

SIU Carbondale theater productions ‘Dragons Love Tacos,’ ‘The Prom,’ open next week

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. — The tale of a taco-eating dragon with important messages for children of all ages will come alive beginning Wednesday, June 12, as part of Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s McLeod Summer Playhouse (MSP).

“Dragons Love Tacos,” will provide audiences with the importance of paying attention to details, their elders and understanding differences in people on the Christian H. Moe Laboratory Theater stage. Performance times are at 10 a.m. June 12, 15, 22, 26, 29 and July 10, 13, 17 and 20, with the July 10 and July 17 shows already sold out. The laboratory theater is in the Communications Building on campus.

“The show is going to be very attractive to kids of all ages,” said Darryl Clark, an associate professor of musical theater dance, who is directing the performance. “I am very happy to be able to bring it to life for the MSP family and so very fortunate to have this incredible team of actors and designers that are giving their everything to the production. It makes me humble.”

Seven of the eight characters in the play are students in SIU’s musical theater program. Senior Gaige Lage plays the young boy who is having issues with math problems and junior Bailey Warner plays the boy’s faithful companion, Leroy. Four other students, senior Alexis Lessman, sophomores Ameriah Lockett and Amelia Warner, and freshman Nick Steinberger play different colored dragons, each with their own distinct personality, Clark said. Cary Laake, who plays the role of “man in suit,” is from the community.

The play is based on the best-selling 2012 book by Adam Rubin. Clark noted that the book, written for children who are at least three years old, has “great illustrations that were very inspiring to our design team.”

H.D. Motyl, director in the School of Theater and Dance is looking forward to the performances, noting the reaction to MSP’s 2023 “Corduroy” production.

“We had such a wonderful reaction to our children’s show last year that we really wanted to do another one this year that is based on a popular book,” he said. “We love the idea that the kids in the audience will see the characters they know on the page in 2D come alive right in front of them, just as the dragons come alive in the play in the boy’s living room.”  

Meanwhile, another MSP production, ‘The Prom,” has performances at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, June 14-15 and June 21-22, and 2 p.m. Sunday, June 16 and June 23 in McLeod Theater. The musical follows four Broadway actors lamenting their days of fame, as they travel to the conservative town of Edgewater, Indiana, to help a lesbian student banned from bringing her girlfriend to high school prom. The show played on Broadway and was made into a movie. 

Tickets are available for the MSP season and single performances of “The Prom,” “Hello, Dolly!” and “Dragons Love Tacos” by phone (618-453-6000), in person at McLeod Theater or Banterra Center box offices, or online. McLeod Theater box office hours will be open one hour before each performance. Banterra Center ticket office hours are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.