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Jenny Oakes, from left, is the chanteuse Cherie, Matt Schiller is Bo Decker and Heather McCarthy is Grace Hoyland in The Barn Theatre’s stage production of “Bus Stop.” (Tribune photo by Dennis Benson)

'Bus Stop': Bittersweet comedy now playing on The Barn stage in Willmar, Minn.

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Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

WILLMAR - The Barn Theatre presents “Bus Stop” by William Inge at 7:30 p.m. today through Saturday and Sept. 18-21.

In the middle of a howling snowstorm, a bus out of Kansas City pulls up at a cheerful roadside diner. All roads are blocked, and four or five weary travelers are going to have to hole up until morning.

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Jenny Oakes plays Cherie, a nightclub chanteuse in a sparkling gown and a seedy fur-trimmed jacket. She is the passenger with the most to worry about. The belligerent cowhand, played by Matt Schiller, is right behind her, ready to sling her over his shoulder and carry her, alive and kicking, all the way to Montana.

As a counterpoint to the main romance, the proprietor of the cafe and the bus driver at last find time to develop a friendship of their own; a middle-age scholar comes to terms with himself; and a young girl who works in the cafe also gets her first taste of romance.

Other cast members include Kirstyn Harasyn, Heather McCarthy, J.P. Cola, Todd Lynum, Lars Markeson and John “A Frame” Beck.

The play is directed by Jerry Morrison, with Aane Twedt as the technical director.

Morrison directed last summer’s poignant heartfelt “The Dixie Swim Club” at The Barn Theatre. He holds a master of fine arts in directing from Baylor University and has directed, performed in and/or produced more than 100 productions. He is a freelance Gypsy director whose recent projects include the musical romantic revival of “The Pajama Game” at the Temple Civic Theatre in Texas and the classic love story “The Taming of the Shrew” in Grand Rapids.

Rochelle Peterson is the assistant to director and Sabrina McCorquodale is the assistant director/stage manager.

Costumes and props are by Rochelle Peterson, Kay Westlie and Pauline Prawl.

Lighting design and stage combat is by Joshua Johnson and the light/sound operator is Hannah Huseby.

Tickets are $18 for adults and $10 for students, contact The Barn box office at 235-9500. The Barn Theatre is at 321 Fourth St. S.W. in downtown Willmar.

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