Nome’s first musical proves good in the country and in town
Last weekend, the first Nome-based, Nome-written and Nome-produced musical premiered inside the Nome Elementary Commons with show times Friday, April 28 through Sunday, April 30.
“Good in the Country,” was written, arranged and directed by Sarah C. Hanson-Hofstetter. The show’s tagline was “A Nome-grown musical about finding home in Nome” and tells the story of young “Ann Coleman” who was born in Nome, leaves as a child, then returns later in as a KNOM Radio Mission volunteer with hopes to re-connect with her long-lost father who still lives in Nome.
The musical is based on a true story.
Maya Coler starred in the leading role as “Ann Coleman,” with Philip Hofstetter as “Jude Coleman.” Dave Coler and Ian McRae rotated between the roles of musical accompaniment, narrative contributor and cast member throughout the entire show.
In two acts of six scenes each, Hanson-Hofstetter arranged a collaboration of songs written by herself, Ian McRae, Dave Coler, Laura Davis Collins and Jim Abbott into a story about not only life in Nome, but also life in general.
With the theme of relationships between family and friends experiencing both heartbreak and joy, “Good in the Country” took audience members through various real-life situations like packing to move, driving to the airport, boating down the river, picking berries on the tundra and of course, spending time in the country at camp.
Between scene transitions, the familiar sounds of KNOM radio hotline played (with exaggeration) over the speakers, bringing much laughter from the audience.
From a colorful light show during the full cast performance of “Aurora Borealis,” to a song about Nomeites, to the title song and “One Foot in the Country” that shined a light on an all-too-familiar problem of downtown Nome having a bad influence on one’s better judgment, cast members reminded the audience about the everyday experiences that are shared by the people who live in Nome.
Before the show, Hanson-Hofstetter thanked the audience for coming as well as the production staff and performers for their hard work and the Nome Arts Council for the opportunity. “Since I was a teen, musicals have played out in my head about everyday life,” says Hanson-Hofstetter in her director’s notes. “I love to write songs with the community in mind, hoping to touch imaginations by highlighting the ordinary beauty, hilarity and trials of the place where we live.”
The musical was presented by the Nome Arts Council with contributors Nome Elementary School and Sew Far North.