Footlight Players bringing ‘The Bridges of Madison County’ to stage

| April 24, 2018

COSHOCTON – The music in the stage version of “The Bridges of Madison County” is phenomenal and so are the people who perform the songs, according to Susan Metz Guthrie who is directing the Footlight Players production.

“We have a lot of talent here in Coshocton County and I’m proud to be part of this show,” Guthrie said.

“The Bridges of Madison County – A New Musical” will be performed at 8 p.m. May 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, and 19 and at 2 p.m. on May 13 at The Triple Locks Theater. Fourteen people are in the cast, but 40 individuals are involved with the play including those who perform in the orchestra.

“People are traveling to be part of that orchestra too and what makes it great is that all this is volunteer,” Guthrie said. “We do this because we love it. Our glory is making the audience happy.”

Volunteers have been working hard since this winter to perfect the songs sung in the play.

“We auditioned and then started working back in February on the music since it’s beautiful, but complex,” Guthrie said. “Jane Crow, our music director, has done an amazing job. We were able to work at the Pomerene Center and use their grand piano until we could get the theater.”

Nick Fischer, who plays Richard “Bud” Johnson, was drawn to the production because of its music.

“It’s beautiful music and I have a love for musicals,” Fischer said.

His character is the father in “The Bridges of Madison County.”

“He’s a good guy, but a little frustrated with the way life has gone,” Fischer said.

In his opinion the story the music tells is about family and the choices we make in life.

Fischer’s wife, Francesca Johnson, is played by Samantha Servais, who also is enjoying the productions music.

“The composer has really written a beautiful score,” Servais said. “It has lots of different genres of music. There will be something for everybody.”

Her character is an Italian war bride who decided to leave home with an American soldier and start a new life.

“She didn’t really love him, but learned to,” Servais said.

The musical is set in 1965 and the Johnsons now have two children together. One day the children and their father leave to go to the fair. While they are gone a photographer from “National Geographic” stops by her family’s farm to ask for directions to the area’s historic covered bridges. Francesca decides to help him and over the course of a few days they fall in love.

“It’s romantic, bittersweet, uplifting and heartbreaking story,” Servais said. “Personally the show means a lot to me because my great-grandmother’s name was Francesca and she left on a boat for America to start a new life. Women sacrifice so much as wives and mothers and sometimes have to let go.”

Robert Kinkaid, the photographer who turns Francesca’s world upside down is played by Heath Chaney. He sang a song from the musical last year at an event in Cambridge and when he found out the Footlight Players were bringing “The Bridges of Madison County” to Coshocton he knew he had to get involved.

“Everyone in this cast is so amazingly talented,” Chaney said. “People are going to be surprised. They are going to see people in this production that they’ve seen in others, but might not know they could sing.”

One of Lynn Jacobs’ favorite parts of the musical is when he sings “When I’m Gone.”

“I just love the song,” he said.

Jacobs plays Charlie who is married to Marge, the nosey neighbor portrayed by Shelly Lillibridge.

“The musical get so intense at points that we break that up a little bit with some comedy,” Jacobs said.

He’s been impressed with how hard everyone has worked on the production.

“It’s going to be a huge show,” Jacobs said. “These people can sing and Samantha and Heath were made for their parts. This is definitely an all-star cast.”

Lillibridge is glad they started working on the music early.

“If we had to work on that chorography and acting in the normal time frame, I don’t know how we would have gotten it all done,” she said. “The story is linked together by beautiful music.”

This is Jesse Winnery’s first time taking part in a Footlight Players’ production.

“This is a really fun group of people,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to get involved so when I got a card in the mail that was actually addressed to the previous owner of my home I thought I’d try out. The timing was just right.”

He is in the chorus and plays secondary roles in the production. Winnery also helped with the set.

Tickets for “The Bridges of Madison County” are $12 for adults and $7 for students through the 12th grade. To make reservations, call 740-622-2959 or visit This production is not appropriate for children under the age of 13. The Triple Locks Theater is located at 685 N. Whitewoman St.

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Category: Arts & Entertainment

About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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