Some interesting characters hang out at the Hi-Way Diner late at night, Lindsay Kerns says, and she and her friend fit right in.
No one found it strange that she and Phillip Malcom sat at the diner for hours each night in front of their laptops, watching episode after episode of the 1990s TV show "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman" on YouTube.
And typing. And laughing.
That happened over three weeks in May and June. The result is the script and lyrics for "Dr. Quinn: The Musical!" -- a parody they and their friends in The Colonel Mustard Amateur Attic Theater Company will present Saturday night in a backyard theater.
According to its publicity release, the musical is for "anyone who desires to experience a life-changing comedy/dramedy/mocumentary/romance/action-adventure/thriller/nighttime soap opera musical."
"But it's really just a great excuse to hang out," says Kerns, 24.
Anyone expecting a polished performance, forget it. The actors were cast for their sense of fun, not their theater backgrounds. Of the cast of 30, maybe three have legitimate theater experience, Kerns says.
Anyone expecting elaborate sets can forget that, too. Backgrounds will consist of cardboard cutouts.
But you can expect to have a great time, she says.
And to be part of the show.
Once, they handed out squirt guns to the audience. Another time, balls to throw at the actors.
Bring a lawn chair or blanket, maybe a towel, Kerns suggests.
"People in the front row might get wet," she says, smiling.
The Colonel Mustard theater company began in 2007 in the attic of a historic house near Ninth and D streets. The house was painted the color of mustard. Kerns lived there with five other women. Christmas that year, they decided to throw a party. At the last minute, they threw together a skit. About 50 people crowded into the attic.
It was a hit. Each production after that grew in scope. The audiences grew, by word of mouth and Facebook.
In May 2009 they put on "Jurassic Park: The Musical!" in the backyard of the Colonel Mustard House. So many people came that they've moved down the block this year and will spread across two backyards for their sixth show.
This time, they're actually trying to memorize their lines.
They expect hundreds of people Saturday night.
"The grass-roots nature of it is something that happens easily in a town Lincoln's size," Kerns says. "Also, this is a town that has an arts appreciation."
This may be the last big blast. Kerns leaves Sunday for Los Angeles, where she'll attend film school at the University of Southern California.
And there may be a big surprise for people who come Saturday night, she says, although there's a small chance of it actually happening: Jane Seymour, who portrayed the original Dr. Quinn, just might be hanging out in the audience.
A friend of a friend was a costume designer for the TV show and told her about the musical.
"She (Seymour) responded she would very much like to come if possible," Kerns says. "She did say she was ‘amused and anxious about it.'
"We told her we'd save her the nicest lawn chair."
Reach Colleen Kenney at 402-473-2655 or firstname.lastname@example.org.