Fort Smith Little Theatre season includes ‘Deathtrap,’ ‘Cinderella,’ ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’

Fort Smith Little Theatre season includes ‘Deathtrap,’ ‘Cinderella,’ ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’

“Based on my experience with FSLT, I think there are two main reasons why the theater has lasted so long: community support and dedicated volunteers,” says Joanne Peterson, president of the Fort Smith Little Theatre Board of Directors as the nonprofit enters its 76th season.

“As an all-volunteer organization, we need people willing to not only be on stage, but to help out behind the scenes,” Peterson goes on. “There is a lot that goes into running each production, as well as maintaining the business side of the theater. From selling program ads to securing rights for performances, from selling show tickets and annual passes to ushering patrons to their seats, from casting actors to working the tech booth, we have some incredible talent in our volunteers. It is due to their love of theater and selflessly giving of their time and talents that our theater can provide the quality shows that we do.

“But just as important is the support from our patrons who come to see our talented actors on stage,” she adds. “Their attendance at these shows not only supports us financially but lets us know that we are providing an entertainment experience worthy of their time.”

Peterson came to FSLT in 2019 “with no theater experience other than being an audience member.”

“After moving to Fort Smith, my husband sent me the link to the FSLT website, and as I was looking at the website to see what shows they offered, I noticed the auditions tab,” she recalls. “Out of mere curiosity, I clicked on that tab and one of the first things it said was ‘No experience necessary.’ And I thought to myself — ‘That’s me!’ After talking with a colleague who was involved at FSLT, I realized that they meant it when they said no experience was necessary, and I inquired as to how I could get involved. I started working set construction, then some backstage roles and finally landed my first role in ‘Miracle on 34th Street.’”

Thanks to the pandemic, Peterson says, FSLT has “learned a lot about adaptability and resilience.”

“My time on the board started in 2020 when we had to make the hard decision to close, and I have been present through the closure and re-opening of the theater,” she says. “Having to navigate such a trying time was difficult, but our volunteers persisted.” Now, she adds, in announcing season 76, “the goal is to provide a variety of shows that appeal to the largest number of people. We usually try to span a variety of genres, but after covid, we have been leaning more toward comedies as we feel laughter will help with healing our community.

“I am always amazed at the quality of the shows produced at FSLT.”

Making up Season 76, which begins Feb. 9, are:

“All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” — A musical based on the popular book by Robert Fulghum, this funny, insightful and heartwarming look at everyday life will be directed by Shannon Stoddard with musical direction by Barry Law, Feb. 9-18.

“Dilemmas with Dinner” — A comedy written by Robin Roberts and directed by Tina Dale, a dinner party swirls out of control with various culinary disasters and guest disclosures, April 13-22.

“Deathtrap” — A mystery/thriller written by Ira Levin and directed by Micki Voelkel, this tale of a writer with murder on his mind played on Broadway for four years and became an acclaimed 1983 film starring Michael Caine and Christopher Reeve, June 1-10.

“Cinderella” — The beloved Rodgers and Hammerstein musical will be directed by Eric Wells with musical direction by George Mann, July 27-Aug. 12.

“Arsenic and Old Lace” — In the spooky comedy classic that starred Cary Grant on film, drama critic Mortimer Brewster learns not only are his adorable little old aunts aware of the dead man in the parlor, they killed him, Sept. 21-30.

“A Christmas Carol” — Adapted by Mike Ferrians and Brenda Chapman and directed by Rikkee Workman Black, Nov. 9-18.

In addition to the six season offerings, FSLT will also perform two extra short-run shows that are not part of a season package. The first is FSLT’s Improv Review, created and directed by Wesley Fox and on stage March 2-4. Second, “A Wacky Tacky Christmas Spectacular” will be brought to life by Shannon Stoddard and Wesley Fox Dec. 14-16.

Season ticket packages start at $70 per person at or 783-2966.

Categories: Theater