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Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant 2020

The 2020 Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant in De Smet

To ensure the show went on despite the pandemic, this summer De Smet’s Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant performed The Hard Winter as reader’s theater, written for stage by Marian Cramer and Jennifer & Adam Rudebusch. Jennifer Rudebusch, who co-directed this year’s pageant performance with her husband Adam, says the context of the play is particularly apt.

“We’ve used the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society archives to research and ground our play in the historical events of 1880, a terribly hard winter that stopped the trains and kept the pioneers of De Smet stuck in their houses for weeks at a time—a particularly apropos show for this year.”

Scene from the 2019 Pageant - Credit: SD Tourism

SDPB filmed and edited the production. “Audiences can expect a fun show that feels a bit old-timey, with a bit of the flavor of A Prairie Home Companion,” says Jennifer Rudebusch. “We have a foley artist for sound effects, a wonderful band to play between scenes, and a talented troupe of actors. COVID has really thrown everybody for a loop this year, and although it has presented us with some challenges this year, we’re excited for this opportunity to work with SDPB to keep Laura Ingalls Wilder and the town of De Smet in people’s hearts and minds.”

Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant: The Hard Winter