Patrons of the Rose Theater in Maryville are in for a comedy treat both this weekend and next.
The Northwest Community Theater Group is nearly set with its production of "Cannibal! The Musical," which premiers Thursday at 7 p.m.
The musical comedy is based loosely on the real-life story of gold miner Alferd Packer, and tells of how a trip from Utah to Colorado ended up with five of his companions dead and partially eaten.
First produced in 1993, the show was originally written, directed, produced and starred in by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, creators of the popular animated series "South Park" and movies such as "Baseketball" and "Team America."
The Northwest Theater Group typically performs all-ages shows, but wanted to do something more adult-themed this time around.
When complications arose with getting production rights to the play they originally had in mind, they went with "Cannibal."
"We wanted to do more of an adult-themed show this time," assistant director Sarah Ware said. "Someone said 'how about Cannibal?' And we thought, 'why not?'"
The troupe submitted a unique application for the rights, attempting to capture the attention of the owners of the copyright by honoring their sense of humor.
The plan worked. Ware said they received a response the same day.
Auditions began in late August, and although the group had hoped to attract college actors, Ware and director Scott Lance were forced to widen their scope.
The cast now comprises 12 Maryville High School students and two students from Tarkio. The 14 actors play 20 different parts.
"The right amount of people tried out," Ware said. "The right people showed up for the right parts, it's unbelievable. They are doing a really good job with it."
Lance and Ware did have to tone down the script a bit so that it was appropriate for a younger cast.
"We've taken out some parts, especially the cursing," Ware said. "And we did it without taking out the spirit of the humor."
With more than 100 pages of dialogue, the cast and crew have spent the last few weeks rehearsing daily.
"We are lucky to have a long rehearsal period," Ware said. "Things are really starting to come together. They (the cast and crew) are in 'show mode.'"
Tickets are on sale at the Maryville Hy-Vee. Limited seating is available. Adults seats cost $8 and $6 for seniors. "Cannibal! The Musical" is labeled "parental discretion advised" for mature themes.
The show will runs Nov. 29 through Dec. 1 and Dec. 6-7. All curtain times are 7 p.m.
The Rose Theater is located at 118 W. Third in Maryville.