Play tells story of Boone County explorer with an all-female cast

Courtesy: The West Side Show Room
Courtesy: The West Side Show Room(WIFR)
Published: Oct. 14, 2019 at 1:07 PM CDT
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An upcoming play from the West Side Show Room in Rockford will use an all-female cast to tell the story of John Wesley Powell, an explorer with ties to Boone County, Illinois.

The "Men on Boats" play tells the story of Powell’s 1869 expedition down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. Powell led a crew of nine men on a four-month journey down the most dangerous sections of the river, navigating boulders, whirlpools, and waterfalls.

The play is based on the journals of the men from the journey.

“Seeing female actors in the roles provides a context to the story,” says director Mike Werckle. “It’s wildly comedic, skewering the stereotype of the colonialist explorer-- but it also shows the humanity of these men as they endure extraordinary circumstances."

"Men on Boats" marks the first play at the West Side Show Room's new performance space at 1414 N. Main Street.

Performances run from Nov. 7-24 on Thursdays-Sundays. For more information,


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