Mt. Vernon Community Theatre’s 2018 season kicks off June 22-24 with a Readers Theatre production of La Rue’s Return, or How’s a Bayou? by Scott Cherney and Edward Thorpe. La Rue is a melodrama, which means it features evil villains, noble heroes and innocent heroines -- plus a few others.

“Our melodrama is set in New Orleans,” said director Kathy Teel, “so we’ve got some mysterious voo-doo-ish characters in it, in addition to the expected melodrama characters. And our actors are so talented and funny in their own right -- I promise it’ll be a ton of fun!”

So, what is Readers Theatre? What makes it different from other kinds of shows MVCT has done in the past?

“Readers Theatre is basically a script-in-hand performance of any play,” explains Teel. “I spent a summer in Chicago and went to several Readers Theatre performances every weekend. But if the actors are good enough, you don’t even see the scripts after the first few minutes.”

There are several reasons for putting on Readers Theatre performances, according to Teel. “Sometimes you’re just testing out a script,” she said, “so you know if you want to commit to a full production. Other times, the playwright needs audience feedback so they know what’s working and what’s not. In our case, though, since we don’t have the big musical this summer, we wanted to do something a little bit experimental, a little bit fun. It’s a great combination -- a high quality production combined with improv and audience interaction.”

Because it’s not fully staged, with full sets, lights and costumes, this show is also amazingly portable. “It’s so easy to move, so we are,” said Teel. “We’re starting out in Monett, on Friday the 22nd in the meeting room at the Monett History Museum on Broadway. Then on Saturday the 23rd, we’re in Mt. Vernon in the new patio addition to Keen Bean. And finally, the Sunday matinee will be in Greenfield, in partnership with the high school’s National Honor Society. Greenfield has just renovated their old Opera House, and we’ll be performing there. We’re really excited about it, and we think our audiences are going to have a lot of fun!”

LaRue’s Return, or How’s a Bayou, will be performed June 22-24. Admission is completely free and donations will be accepted at each performance. For more information, contact Kathy Teel at 366-9526, or Like the Mt. Vernon Community Theatre page on Facebook.