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Lawrence County native and established Broadway playwright to direct BHSU musical

Lawrence County native Bill Russell, a New York lyricist and established Broadway playwright, will co-direct a musical Lucky Duck at BHSU.

Lawrence County native Bill Russell, a New York lyricist and established Broadway playwright, will co-direct the musical Lucky Duck at Black Hills State University, in what BHSU theater director Bert Juhrend calls “a tremendous opportunity for our students and the community.”

The BHSU show will run Oct. 18-21, with a reception for Russell following opening night.  Russell will also be attending classes at BHSU as a guest speaker.  This is a rare opportunity for BHSU students to interact with an established and successful Broadway playwright. 

Russell, who was raised in Spearfish and graduated from Spearfish High School, has been honored with two Gilman/Gonzalez-Falla Commendation Awards.  He was also recently inducted into the Spearfish High School Fine Arts Hall of Fame.  Russell wrote the book and lyrics for the critically acclaimed Broadway musical Side Show, receiving a Tony nomination for book and sharing a nomination with composer Henry Krieger for score.  The show also received a nomination for “Best Musical”. 
 Lucky Duck premiered as Everything’s Ducky (written with Henry Kreiger and Jeffrey Hatcher) at Theatre Works in Palo Alto, California, garnering the Will Glickman Award for Best Play in the San Francisco Bay area.  The musical also received the “Backstage West” Garland Award for Best Score.  Most recently it was produced at the Old Globe in San Diego under the new title Lucky Duck. 

The musical is about an ugly duckling, Serena, who runs away from her rustic barnyard to pursue her dreams in New Duck City.  Her adventures with a bunch of zany characters, including Prince Drake and Wolf, a talent agent and reformed meat-eater, take her from high-fashion runways to perilous performing opportunities.  Although the show resembles a children’s story, it is definitely an adult musical, full of ribald humor.

Tickets are available at the door.  For more information, contact Bert Juhrend at or 642-6268.

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