Cody Schwartz  A sophomore at South Dakota State University, Brookings, is participating in Prairie Repertory Theatre this summer.

Cody Schwartz participating in Prairie Repertory Theatre at SDSU

Cody Schwartz became intrigued in theatre as a fourth-grader, and participates in drama and speech whenever possible. 

 A sophomore at South Dakota State University, Brookings, Cody is participating in Prairie Repertory Theatre this summer. 

The Prairie Repertory Theatre at SDSU puts on a number of productions each season, and the actors don’t take a break for the summer. The cast and crew are working on four shows five days a week from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. He expects the experience to be a lot of work and a lot of fun, too.  He will be involved on stage and behind the scenes, and eagerly anticipates the opportunities it offers. “In show business, you never know what you will be asked to do and you want to be able to do a little to a lot of everything,” Cody said during a recent interview. “It’s also important that every member of cast and crew learns what it takes to put on a show, so that one can appreciate it fully.”

The Prairie Repertory troupe will stage four shows this summer: “The Marvelous Wonderettes,” “Boeing Boeing,” “Dial M for Murder,” and “The Sound of Music.”  The shows will go on stage at Doner Auditorium in Brookings and in the Brandon Valley PAC, Brandon. 

“The Marvelous Wonder-ettes,” a small Off-Broadway hit that takes the audience to back to the 50s and 60s, went on stage in Brookings June 10-13 and will be presented in Brandon on July 23-25. Cody is working with scenery for this show.

“Boeing, Boeing, a French farce,” will go on stage in Brookings June 17-20, and in Brandon July 18-22. For this show, Cody is the master carpenter in charge of the crew.

Cody has the lead role as Tony, the bad guy, in “Dial M For Murder” that will show in Brookings June 24-27, and in Brandon July 29-31. Cody is definitely pleased to have a leading role. “It’ll be a different feeling because you know people are going to hate you as the bad guy,” he said. 

Then in the beloved Rodgers and Hammerstein family musical, “The Sound of Music,” Cody is cast as Uncle Max, who enters the von Trapp family singers in an Austrian Folk Festival in hopes of earning a commission from the prize money. He helps the family escape from the Nazis after the performance. 

Cody became interested with theatre during elementary school when his sister, Savannah, was involved in Springfield High School Drama Department’s fall play,   “Wiley and the Hairy Man.” It was a spooky story for kids about a young boy named Wiley who defeats a hairy creature that lives in the swamp near his home.”  He credits Savannah with nurturing his love for the theatre. 

When a seventh-grader, Cody jumped at the chance to participate in the play, “They Dance Real Slow in Jackson.”  He had the role as one of three naughty children. 

He opted not to participate in Springfield Community Theatre / Springfield Public School Drama Department musical production “Music Man,” during his freshman year. “I was more concerned about my grades at that time,” he said.  Otherwise he participated in all other theatre productions while in high school.

Now he’s excited about acting lessons, voice lessons, dance lessons, auditioning and working to build his skills hoping for a career opportunity in show business.  

“I am fortunate to have parents who encourage me to do what I love, and to support me in my dreams,” he said. “And, I definitely have to give a lot of credit to Mrs. Neidt, who directed many of the school productions.
 She stressed the importance of discipline and a commitment to be the best one can be as well as working hard and persevering.” 

 “I hope I can be an inspiration for others,” Cody said.  “There’s dreams and there’s reality.” He knows that a theatre career requires some good luck along with many other skills. He also believes that if he doesn’t reach his dream that his experiences and education in speech and drama will be valuable in whatever career he chooses.

A 2013 graduate of Springfield High School, Cody is a theatre major at SDSU, with minor in speech and dance.  He is the son of Lorne and Jean Schwartz of rural Springfield.

Tickets for both Brookings and Brandon performances are available at the Audience Services Office (ASO) in Brookings.  The ASO offers ticket and show information and information about area attractions, dining and lodging possibilities. The ASO is located in the Performing Arts Center and is open Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The telephone number is 605-688-6045.

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