Previous Responses And Comments

Amy Bolte says:

June 3, 2010 at 1:33 pm

We’re thinking of coming for the performance this year. Can you explain the differences between the show that will be in Ava versus the one in Mansfield…we’re trying to decide between the two. Also, is this age appropriate for a mature 5 year old girl? Thank you.

admin says:

June 4, 2010 at 10:19 pm

Hello Amy,

Thank you for your interest in our pageant.

We are looking forward to another GREAT year! Our performances at the amphitheater is without a doubt much better because: #1. The amphitheater is under the canopy of the unmatched beauty of the Ozarks’ stars. #2. All props are readily available at the amphitheater (when we perform at other locations we cannot begin to take all the props). #3. The stage of amphitheater is much larger than Ava’s stage. #4. The lights and sound are better at the amphitheater.
Now, to answer your question concerning the appropriateness for a “mature 5 year old girl”…My granddaughter was 5 years old when she started performing in Laura’s Memories, which was 12 years ago. The pageant is quality entertainment for all ages but particularly for children because Mrs. Wilder’s stories focused on her childhood days.

I hope I have answered your questions, and I hope to see you and your family this summer. We are having auditions next week and there is a good possibility I’ll be playing “Pa Ingalls” again this year.

Thanks again.

Phil Bennett

Frank DeVenuto says:

August 10, 2010 at 8:18 pm

This is a copy of what I sent to our newspaper editor in Salem, MO after watching Laura’s Memories this past Saturday evening (7 Aug 10):

Having only moved a few months ago from Virginia, we have been treated to some special gems in the our home state of Missouri ranging from the beautiful Montauk State Park to a wonderful church with great preaching to some truly exceptional and special neighbors. One of these gems was watching the Ozark Mountain Players (OMP) perform during the twentieth anniversary of “Laura’s Memories” this past Saturday evening. Members of the Mansfield, Mo. community come together each year to present a ninety-minute performance featuring events and people, complete with song and dance, from the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Performed in an amphitheater under the stars, the acting, singing, and dancing were superb as we smiled at the antics of the farmboys, cheered when Jack survived the river crossing, laughed at Laura’s revenge against Nellie Oleson, and wept with joy and sadness as Laura got married and moved away from her family. These events and many others were penned in the eight “Little House on the Prairie” books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Having checked out some of the books from the Salem Library, we have been reading her series as a family for the past few months and “Laura’s Memories” made some of the stories come to life.
A special highlight of the evening was meeting one of the OMP co-founders, Pat Allen, and some of her family during the intermission. Extremely friendly, charming and always smiling throughout our conversation, they have written the show’s music each year since its inception.
Sadly, there are only a few more performances this year. If you want to spend a fun-filled evening with your family while enjoying the rich heritage and history of Missouri, then seeing “Laura’s Memories” is a must. Information for the performances can be found at

Frank DeVenuto
204 County Road 2403
Salem, MO 65560

Joan Groff says:

August 12, 2010 at 8:21 am

Will there be an evening performance on September 18 or is the 3 o’clock the last one for the season?

Thanks for your reply,


Megan Gajdosik says:

August 12, 2010 at 7:18 pm

When is the outdoor play for next year? WE missed it this year so we would like to know for next year.

admin says:

August 16, 2010 at 12:57 pm

Hi Joan,

Thank you for your inquiry. Yes, there will be an evening performance at 8pm.


admin says:

August 16, 2010 at 1:18 pm

Hello Frank,

I’m deeply moved and humbled by your kind words, they are greatly appreciated. Thank you so much for taking the time to express your gratitude. Having met Mrs. Wilder at a young age (1954), I think she would be very pleased at how we honor her memory. For your information, the 80-member cast of “Laura Memories” are all volunteers and the proceeds (after expenses) from of our performances go to scholarships for high school seniors.

Thanks again for your visit and for telling your neighbors about our pageant!

Phil (Pa Ingalls)

John & Carolyn Voth says:

September 9, 2010 at 11:19 am

Is there both a 3 pm and an 8 pm performance on Sept 10 and 11? Do we need tickets in advance?

admin says:

September 14, 2010 at 5:06 am

Hello John and Carolyn,

Thank you for your inquiry!

No, we do not sell advance tickets. Seating has not been a problem; however, we are expecting large crowds so get there early if you’re wanting a good seat.


Radonna Roy says:

January 20, 2011 at 8:12 pm

I am very excited for tryouts and the actual season. I enjoy the play so much, and I hope that 2011 brings more excitement for all of the cast members, and fans!!

admin says:

January 22, 2011 at 9:33 pm

Hello Radonna, I share your excitement! I believe this year will be the greatest yet.

admin says:

February 1, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Hello Megan,
I hope you’re having a warm winter. Currently, here in southern Missouri, we’re experiencing a blizzard! Summer seems so far away. However, now is a good time to enjoy the beauty that winter brings, and before you know it the warmth of summer will be here. And what a summer it will be! This year (2011) OMP is having 6-weekends of Laura’s Memories and I truly hope you and yours can make one, or more, of the performances. It is musical fun for the whole family and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Hope to see you there!

Phil (Pa Ingalls)

Adrian Adams says:

July 21, 2011 at 5:49 pm

I can’t wait for the actual plays to start! This year will bring enjoyment to the audience,as well as the cast!

admin says:

July 23, 2011 at 11:38 am

Hi Adrian,
I agree! This is “Laura’s Memories” 21st year and it may be one of our best. We are getting phone calls from all over the United States. In fact, a gentleman called last evening from New Jersey; he and his family are planning to be at our first weekend performance. Wow! Our first performance is just a little over one month away (Aug. 26, 2011). I’m glad the play is starting later this year because the weather should be much cooler.
Phil (Pa Ingalls)

Ashley Kastning says:

May 12, 2011 at 7:19 pm

I heard about your auditions in June and was wondering if it were for younger kids as well? I have 7 yr & 11yr old little girls and a 4 yr old little boy, are they too young to try out and when, place and time are the audtions if they aren’t too young. Also what do they need for the auditions?

Thank You

Nancy Zaritz says:

May 17, 2011 at 3:02 am

I enjoyed Laura’s books and so did my children. I’m looking forward to introducing my grand children to Laura’s books and “Laura’s Memories” this summer.

admin says:

May 17, 2011 at 10:25 am

Hello Ashley,
I understand your concerns about age being a factor for the auditions; however, last year our youngest cast member (a Farmer Boy) was only 2-years old but his performance was outstanding. In fact, in recent years we have had babies in scenes that were held by their mothers. “Laura’s Memories” is a family oriented pageant. It is indeed entertainment that the whole family can enjoy on and off stage.
Thank you for your inquiry, and I hope to see you at the auditions!
Phil (Pa Ingalls)

admin says:

May 17, 2011 at 10:37 am

Hello Nancy,
It is nice to hear from you.
If you and your children enjoyed Laura’s books then I’m confident you will all love “Laura’s Memories”. “Laura’s Memories” is unique because certain events that Laura wrote about (concerning her life) are brought to life on stage and they are complimented with music and songs because music was very much a part of her life.
I hope to see you and your family this summer at the pageant.
Phil (Pa Ingalls)

Jacqueline Green says:

July 13, 2011 at 9:52 pm

Dear Phil, (Pa Ingalls)

My granddaughter Katie and I came to Mansfield the last night of Laura’s Memories , and because she was dressed up like Laura, she was invited by one of the women to be in the last scene of the play, when everyone was singing. It was the highlight of our trip and I just wanted to thank you again for a wonderful program. I am hoping to bring her sister Elysia, who will also be 10 in 2012.
Jacque Green

admin says:

July 14, 2011 at 3:56 pm

Hello Jacque and Katie,
It is so nice that you took the time to write, and even better that you visited us last year. We are delighted that you enjoyed “Laura’s Memories” and we look forward to seeing you again. The show still has eleven scenes (two Acts) but this year the pre-show will feature “Dr. Tann”. As you may know, Dr. Tann was the one who helped the Ingalls and area families through their fever sickness, which Laura wrote about in the 15th Chapter of “Little House on the Prairie”. Last year was an excellent year for “Laura’s Memories” because our record breaking crowds seemed to share your enthusiasm, and many have already called about this year’s performances. I truly look forward to seeing you, so please give me a shout, and who knows…maybe this year Elysia and Katie can both be on the stage.
Phil (Pa Ingalls)

Allie Sargent says:

July 27, 2011 at 9:16 pm

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Michael Delcour says:

August 14, 2011 at 8:58 am

Hello. I just found the website! Years ago I participated in a Butter Days play written and directed by Gil (can’t remember his last name). Although I never participated in Laura’s Memories, I did enjoy my time with the play and never forgot the people I worked with. It was an amazing experience that I will never forget. I hope to be able to return to Mansfield this year and watch the show!

admin says:

August 17, 2011 at 11:20 pm

Michael, it is GREAT to hear from you. We hope you are doing well. I remember Gil (Bachman) because he tuned our piano and he also worked with Terry and Pat on the play, and he also was instrumental in helping OMP. He is a wonderful person! This is the 21st year of “Laura’s Memories”, and through the years it has evolved into a masterpiece for wholesome family entertainment. As you know, there is a lot of work goes toward putting something like this together but as you said it is an amazing experience. We are not only producing “Laura’s Memories”, we are also producing memories for ourselves, memories to last a lifetime and beyond.
Hope to see you at the play, and drive safely.
Phil (Pa Ingalls)

David Ball says:

August 29, 2011 at 1:38 pm

I was given dates and times for the outdoor musical theater as well as the festival. I lead senior adult trips for our church members and need to know the appropriate protocol for scheduling a trip for one of your theater dates. I will await your response about reservations. Thanks.

admin says:

August 30, 2011 at 8:42 pm

Hello David,
We are delighted that you are considering a visit to our pageant. Since our amphitheater has a capacity of 600, reservations are not necessary because seating has never been a problem. However, if your group is large (25 of more) we will rope-off some bleachers for your convenience, but we will need to know what date you are planning to come. We start selling tickets 1 1/2 hours prior to the show. So it would be wise to come early and select a bleacher of your choice. Thank you for your inquiry.

Mary R. James says:

September 8, 2011 at 8:31 pm

In the year 2000, I traveled with my 3 sons to Wisconsin, and Ontario.
I had purchased Laura’s book collection as an adult. Of course, we traveled to Pepin,WI. We also went to the cemetary, and the museum. The museum had quite a lot of memorabilia. My husband called me today, to say, guess where we are going the 17th? I said, Really? So I have my collection out, reviewing it. I have wanted to go to Mansfield. Eleven years later…Mansfield here we come! I can’t wait…My family had some of the same family trials, and tribulations. I could relate to her books, and the hard life, joys, and sorrows. I wish I would have been able to meet her – I kind of did with her writings.

admin says:

September 10, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Dear Mary,
I’m happy to hear from you and to learn that you are coming to Mansfield, MO. on the 17th, Wilder Festival! It is always nice to hear from fellow Laura fans because we all have something in common, in that we love our families, friends, community and the simple pleasures that life offers. I know what you mean about “family trials and tribulations”. Having been raised on a rocky Ozark farm with four other siblings, I know how difficult life can be.
We will pray that you’ll have a safe trip.
Phil (Pa Ingalls)

Priscilla Unruh says:

September 14, 2011 at 6:35 am

What a wonderful experience we had with our two granddaughters this past Sat. eveing, Sept. 10. We, of course, enjoyed the tour of Laura Ingalls’ houses, but this pageant certainly was the highlight of our trip. Due to rain, the performance was indoors, but that created a very personal experience for us, since we had front row seats!! We recommend this pageant to everyone that is a fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder.
The girls wanted to listen to the CD we purchased, all the way home in our car – we do now know all the words of “Farmer Boy” – one of our favorite songs!

admin says:

September 15, 2011 at 9:48 am

Dear Priscilla,
As spokesman for the cast of “Laura’s Memories”, we were indeed honored by your presence, and I want to personally thank you for those very kind words! We are all volunteers, and making people happy is one of our most important objectives. Obviously, you taking the time to write us demonstrate that we are succeeding in that endeavor. We are happy you returned home safely. God bless you and your wonderful family, and we hope you will return and perhaps be able to see the pageant at our beautiful amphitheater. Having the performance indoors keeps us dry but nothing can replace the outdoor performance under the stars and with all the props.
Phil (Pa Ingalls)

Elizabeth Tyre says:

September 18, 2011 at 9:11 pm

My sister and I just returned to our respective homes today (TX and OK) after spending the most delightful day in Mansfield, MO yesterday, Sept. 17! Wilder Day 2011 was truly a success for these two rabid Laura Ingalls Wilder fans! Even the cold, wet rain couldn’t dampen our spirits! Our day was capped off by experiencing “Laura’s Memories” in the high school gym. Although we wished we could have experienced its “true” setting in the amphitheater, we were thrilled that there was a warm, dry “Plan B” available! We didn’t really know what to expect. After all, we had spent a week and a half in July touring all of the Laura homesites (including Mansfield where we found out about Wilder Day which brought about this weekend’s excursion!) and watched the pageants in both Walnut Grove, MN and DeSmet, SD. After seeing last night’s performance in Mansfield, we both agreed that “Laura’s Memories” is definitely the best of the 3 pageants . . . hands down!! We laughed, we cried, we bopped along to snappy melodies, we had a delightful chat during intermission with “Pa,” and we truly experienced Laura’s Memories! This pageant does an excellent job of covering all of the books and capturing the most important moments of the life of a lady we ALL would’ve loved to know (and feel like we do know through her books)! Thank you so much for a heart-felt performance and for giving your all even in circumstances that weren’t ideal. I look forward to learning all the songs (on the CD I bought at the show) so that I can belt them out with you from the audience next year! Thank you for being an integral part of our experience of a lifetime!!

Jennifer Dohlman says:

September 20, 2011 at 12:26 pm

My sister and I visited Mansfield this past weekend for Wilder Days. Wow – what a wonderful weekend! While we were drawn to Mansfield this particular weekend so that we could actually hear Pa’s fiddle being played and so that we could go upstairs in the Wilder’s farm house, we knew that we also wanted to attend the pageant. This summer we toured all the Laura Ingalls homesites and attended the pageants in Walnut Grove and De Smet. So, naturally, when we learned of the Mansfield pageant, we knew we had to attend. This was, by far, the best pageant of the three. Although it had to be moved inside the school gym due to the weather, the gym backdrop quickly faded away as the pageant came to life. The music was incredible. The scenes chosen for the pageant completely captured the spirit of the books. I was not prepared for the emotional ending. When Laura departs for Mansfield and Pa sings to his half pint, I literally had to wipe away a tear that slipped down my cheek. That was so powerful. Despite the damp, dreary weather, we had an incredible time and are already planning to attend next year so that we can see it at the amphitheater. Thank you for the perfect end to an already wonderful day!

admin says:

September 22, 2011 at 10:53 pm

Hello Elizabeth,
It is always a real pleasure meeting fellow Laura fans because they are all such wonderful individuals, and they all display a deep appreciation for Mrs. Wilder and her beloved stories. The stories of her life have touched all our lives in a special way, and have provided a nexus for the youth of today, and the youth of future generations, to a better understanding of the importance of each family member’s role in the contribution of life under various situations. I believe that “Laura’s Memories” not only honors Mrs. Wilder, it keeps her legacy alive, and it brings people together who share the same principles that she valued. I’m truly fortunate to be a part of such a group.
I’m happy that you made it home safely, and am looking forward to seeing you again; hopefully, it will be under the stars and in our beautiful amphitheatre.
Phil (Pa Ingalls)

admin says:

September 22, 2011 at 11:23 pm

Hello Jennifer,
It is truly gratifying to hear such kind words, and to know that you and your sister returned home safely. I apologize about the rainy weather and for the inconvenience of having the performance in a gymnasium. Your comment about the pageant’s “emotional ending” clearly describes how I feel each time I sing “Half Pint”. I get a lump in my throat, and I struggle with getting the words out, and keeping back the tears; I always fear that I do not do the song justice. The song is so emotional for me because, as a father and grandfather, it conjures up memories of when my daughter and granddaughter were small. It makes me aware of how precious each moment we have in life and to make the best of what little time we have left. The human drama, as presented in Laura’s stories, covers the spectrum of emotions that is perhaps unsurpassed in the Americana of children’s literature. The stories of her childhood illustrate the importance of enjoying the simple pleasures of life, howbeit, the beauty of a warm summer day playing in a creek, a true friend, a piece of candy, or the basic essentials of life that are too often overlooked.
Thanks again for those very kind words, and I look forward to seeing you again.
Phil (Pa Ingalls)

Amy Smith says:

April 22, 2011 at 9:52 am

Are there any performances planned during the week? We would like to bring a group of students in September or October, but we can only do this during the week during school hours.

admin says:

April 30, 2011 at 4:53 pm

Hello Amy,
I’m sorry but there are no performancs planned during school hours because many of our cast members are also in school. However, I’ll bring your request to the OMP President and our Directors.
Thanks for your inquiry. If something can be worked out I’ll let you know.
Phil (Pa Ingalls)

angela says:

August 16, 2011 at 8:33 am

My family has just started reading the books. We will soon finish the 2nd book and start the 3rd. Which books form the primary basis of the play? Would it be better to finish the series and try to see the play next year?

The October 1st performance fits well within our schedule. I expect we will be finished with the fourth book at this time.


Mark Jones says:

August 17, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Does the theater have an address or do you have directions available?

admin says:

August 17, 2011 at 10:13 pm

Hello Mark,
The amphitheater is located at the west end of Ohio Street which is just one block west of Mansfield School. There will be signs at three access locations: two on highway A, and one on business highway 5. Have a safe trip, and I hope to see you at the play.
Phil (Pa Ingalls)

admin says:

August 17, 2011 at 10:43 pm

Hi Angela,
We’re so happy to hear from you and to learn that your family is reading Laura’s books. I believe you have read enough that you will appreciate the play this year because most of the eleven scenes are based on the first four books. Having just read the various stories of Laura’s childhood, you will certainly recognize the characters as they come to life on stage. As a lifelong resident of the area, I grew up near the Rocky Ridge Farm (Wilder’s Historic Home) and I remember when Mrs. Wilder visited the school and spoke to the students about her books and her childhood adventures. We were very excited, to say the least.
Thanks for the inquiry, and if you come to play we are praying that you will have a safe trip.
Phil (Pa Ingalls)

Crystal Bridgeman says:

August 24, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Are the performances the same each day or are they all different?

admin says:

August 24, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Hello Crystal,
Thank you for your inquiry, and I hope you are having a wonderful day! Each scene represents a segment of Laura’s life in which she wrote about in her “Little House” books. Although all eleven scenes are the same for each performance, in live theater anything can happen, especially when most of the cast members are children.

Phil (Pa Ingalls)

sharon steinbergs says:

September 12, 2011 at 12:30 pm

I am very interested in attending the festival on the morning of Sept. 17th. I live in Nixa and would appreciate a map and driving directions. Also, a list of motels in the area to reserve a room for one adult for Thursday Sept 16th and Friday Sept. 17th. I would be departing on Saturday am, September 18th. Hope to hear from you soon.


admin says:

September 13, 2011 at 6:18 pm

Hi Sharon,
We are happy that you are interested in our festival at Mansfield, MO. The Wilder Festival begins on Friday the 16th and last through Saturday the 17th. Mansfield is only 39.5 mi East of Springfield, on highway 60; turn at first interchange and go South on Hwy 5 to 4-way stop light, then turn East on Hwy A which goes through Mansfield; look for “Laura’s Memories” sign on left. The amphitheater is only 1-block North of Hwy A, which is also Commercial Street. As for a place to stay, everything in Mansfield is already booked, but here are a few other places in the surrounding area: (417-241-2560) in Seymour, Mo; Super8 (417-683-1343) in Ava, Mo; and Travelodge (417-9263152) in Mtn. Grove, Mo.
I’m looking forward to seeing you!

sharon steinbergs says:

September 25, 2011 at 6:43 pm

I was unable to make the Sept 17th show (guess the weather turned out less than good anyway). Now I’m thinking of coming to the Friday evening show on the 30th. I’d drive out that morning and would like to stay in a motel; hopefully there is something available there in Mansfield as I don’t like driving in unfamiliar areas especially at night. Please get back to me so I can make plans to take time off from my part-time job.
Thanks so much. Sharon in Nixa

Bonny Kennedy says:

March 18, 2012 at 12:06 pm

My husband and I plan to come during the wilder festival and plan to see the evening show on Saturday the 15. Is there anyway to pre order our tickets so that we will be assured a seat?

admin says:

April 15, 2012 at 10:00 pm

Hello Bonny,
I want to apologize for not replying sooner. There has been personal tragedy and I have gotten behind on many things.
You have chosen a good time to come because many activities are scheduled for the Wilder Festival, and we’re delighted that you have planned to make our evening performance of “Laura’s Memories”! In answer to your inquiry about pre-ordering tickets, I regret to inform you that we do not sell advanced tickets. However, I want to assure you and your husband that seats will be available. Our amphitheater comfortably seats 450 and there is ample areas on either side for additional seating, if needed. The gates open around 6:30pm and it would be wise to arrive early.
Thank you for making “Laura’s Memories” an important part of your visit to Mansfield! Have a safe trip, and I’ll see you this summer.
Phil (Pa Ingalls)

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