This movie-turned-musical showcases lessons on love, and it opens at a local theater tonight!

Lake Country Playhouse aims to question societal norms and gender stereotypes with its production of the musical Dogfight.

Directed and choreographed by Ami Majeskie, the show opens at 7:30 tonight, and will run through July 21 with performances Wednesday through Sunday each week, with the exception of Saturday, July 20. LCP is located in Hartland, Wisconsin (221 E. Capitol Dr.), and has provided the area with community theater opportunities for nearly 60 years.

Photo courtesy of Robert Colletta Photography

Set during the Vietnam War, Dogfight tells the story of Eddie Birdlace, a young marine who sets out for a night of carousing with his friends before their deployment. When Birdlace meets the idealistic, uncertain Rose Fenny, what started as a cruel game becomes a lesson in love and a reminder there is more to people than meets the eye.

Eamon Schiro, who plays Birdlace, discusses the ways in which the show challenges perspective and social constructs.

“In society today, with the media, we’re very obsessed with our surface looks and how we’re perceived by the outside world,” Schiro says. “I think it’s good to be reminded that it’s not just about how your nose looks and how clear your skin is…it’s what’s inside that counts.”

Schiro is a rising sophomore at Ball State University, where he studies musical theater; this is his first production with LCP. Ashley Sprangers stars alongside him as Rose.

Photo courtesy of Robert Colletta Photography

“It’s been really emotional for me to take the role on,” Sprangers says. “I really relate to Rose as a character.” Rose is a longtime dream role for Sprangers, who has previously worked with LCP both onstage and on the production team.

Dogfight is R-rated due to the issues it discusses, including sexual assault and wartime violence, which is portrayed via  loud noises and flashes of light during the battle scene. Majeskie and Sprangers emphasize these events, though startling, are crucial to bring into public conversation.

Photo courtesy of Robert Colletta Photography

“The important thing under that shock value is that we’re really trying to explore how people treat each other,” Sprangers says. “It’s just a complex look at the different levels of humanity that each person has.”

Dogfight’s musical score and choreography offer an unusual combination of militaristic movement and ‘60s-style pop. The music and lyrics are written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, the renowned composers of Dear Evan Hansen, La LaLand and The Greatest Showman.

Standard tickets for Dogfight cost $24 and VIP front-row tickets cost $26; tickets purchased as a group (10+) are $22 each. 

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