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International crewmembers man Menasha production of 'Bridges of Madison County'

Kings student backstage
Posted at 6:21 PM, Nov 08, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-08 19:21:06-05
  • UWO-Fox Cities is putting on the musical version of Bridges of Madison County, and behind the scenes is a crew of international students who are getting university credits.
  • The show will run from Thursday through Saturday for two weekends. Thursday and Friday evening shows are at 7 p.m., with Saturday matinees at 2 p.m.
  • Watch to see how all the pieces come together for a unique experience that benefits everyone.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

How far are you willing to go for love? I'm your Menasha Neighborhood Reporter Darby McCarthy, and here at the Fox Theatre, students from all over the world are coming together to answer that question.

Thursday night, a musical based on a best-selling book will open at UWO Fox Cities campus.

“The story is basically about the choices that you make for love. Do you stay or do you go when you find your passion?”

Bridges of Madison County centers on an Italian-American WWII wife living on a farm in Iowa. It was also turned into a movie starring Meryl Streep in 1995.

But what you might not catch from this vantage point are stories behind the scenes that span thousands of miles.

"Many of these students had to make a difficult choice by leaving their home country to come here for their passion of education.”

Yujeong Byon is a student from South Korea.

“I can show you where I work here. Here's my coworker..."

But she's in Wisconsin...

"...He's running away."

Through an opportunity called the Kings Program.

The program gives international students a chance to earn college credits at a local university, and then transfer to a top 100 school after two years.

One very popular option for earning credits is the theatre program.

“It's kind of a win-win situation where students get the credit, but at the same time, the theater team is getting that crew that's really needed.”

Kings Center Director Chihae Lee says that this year, 25 [Kings] students are involved in the crew for Bridges of Madison County.

And she says it's a good chance to practice their English.

“It's a new kind of vocabulary in English too that they're learning – theater English, right?”

Yujeong says that she is making lots of international friends, and one-of-a-kind experiences.

“I love to see those musicals so, [I thought] ‘Oh, this is my chance to work with them!’ So, I joined it even though I don't need any credits.”

UWO-Fox Cities Theatre Director Susan Rabideau says that if you come to the show, you'll catch more than just a beautiful score by composer Jason Robert Brown.

“You get to see all of the kids' handiwork. So, they did most of the painting of the sets, along with the scenic artists, and they sort of learned along the way.”

Yujeong says she is grateful she made the choice to travel more than 6,000 miles for this experience.

“This is a great opportunity for me because I can do a lot of things that I cannot do in Korea. And also this theater program is like just fun for me.”

Bridges of Madison County opens Thursday night at 7 p.m. It runs for two weekends, with matinees on Saturdays.