Frontier Revue marks 50 years performing Doc Thayer's music

Veteran Frontier Revue performer Don Swigart reprises his role as the "Best (Bleep-Bleep) Sheriff" as the revue celebrates 50 years of performing the music of James E. Thayer.

The annual Nebraskaland Days celebration once again offers the Frontier Revue as it celebrates the 50th anniversary of Dr. James E. “Doc” Thayer’s music this year.

Thayer, a Sidney physician, died in 2011 at age 86, but his original music that details historical Nebraskans and events lives on. While other historical programs have performed his music in the past, the Frontier Revue has put it front and center for each performance over the past 50 years.

Audiences will again have the opportunity to enjoy his music Sunday through Tuesday.

Jennifer Winder is the director and has been involved with the show for 10 years.

“I brought back a couple of pieces because Don Swigart, who is a long-time cast member who has had several roles, and he came back this year to make a little cameo,” Winder said. “I brought back the ‘Bleep-Bleep Sheriff’ last year — that was kind of Don’s signature piece.”

Winder said she is bringing back some of the members of the cast who have performed with Swigart through the years as well.

“We invited previous cast members to join us including Don and Kevin McGahan,” Winder said. “I’ve asked him for 10 years and he finally came back this year. I think he’s having a great time.”

Another song that hasn’t been done for a while is back as well, Winder said.

“I brought back ‘Heavenly John,’ which we haven’t done for several years,” Winder said. “So there will be an old-fashioned shotgun wedding (scene).”

The collection of songs, dance numbers and sketches is tied together by a theme or story. Winder said she writes a new storyline each year.

“This year it’s kind of a whodunit,” Winder said. “We have a cowboy who gets shot and you don’t know until the end of the show who did it.”

About 35 cast members participate in the revue.

The show is at the North Platte Community College South Campus in the McDonald-Belton Theater. Shows are at 2 p.m. on Sunday, then at 7:30 p.m. both Monday and Tuesday evenings. Admission is free this year.

There is construction taking place on the parking lot on the north side of the building, so Winder said there are three shuttles to get attendees to the performances.

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