In the nursery rhyme justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups — the detectives, who investigate the crime, and the magistrates, who prosecute the defenders.

This is "Law & Order: C-rhyme and Pun-ishment," according to Pioneer Drama, the youth production at the Depot Theater starting Thursday and running through Sunday.

"In my former employment as the Director of Education and Outreach at Starlight Theatre in Kansas City, we performed this particular show as part of a middle-school summer camp," said director Amy Reinert-Price. "It was a hit with our camp participants and their families as it requires a bit of zaniness and enthusiasm for all things left-of-center to pull off — a perfect fit for the middle-school set."

The annual youth production will feature a cast and crew of sixth- through ninth-grade participants who are mostly from Dodge City, with a couple from Cimarron, as well as one visiting family for the summer from San Antonio and another from the Kansas City metro area, according to Reinert-Price.

For those attending a production for the first time, for this particular show, it will help a lot to have an appreciation for puns.

This show is loaded with them, and the cast members fluctuate between groaning and giggling at them — as will the audience," said Reinert-Price. "All of our cast members, plus two backstage crew members, are in middle school/early high school, and they auditioned with varying degrees of experience with musical theater performance.

"Some have performed in prior youth productions at the depot, school and/or church productions, and others are stepping out for the first time doing something of this nature.

"They have all been very open to learning through the rehearsal process, and are excited to entertain their audiences."

This will not be a dinner theater production but there will be desserts and snacks served before the show.

Adults tickets (ages 19 and up) are $15; student tickets (ages 12 through 18) are $10; and children's tickets (ages 11 and under) are $5.

Doors will open at 7 p.m. for evening productions Aug. 1, 2 and 3 and 1:30 p.m. for the matinee on Aug. 4.

There will be a 7:30 p.m. curtain for the evening shows and a 2 p.m. curtain for the matinee.


To contact the writer, email