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Showtime Pal was developed from a need to communicate and have fun with the audience between shows. Davenport Junior Theatre started as a repertory company in the parks, and this often left dead space. To entertain during these transitions, Showtime Pal was born.

Leone Bredbeck“We sat around and decided the kind of person we wanted to have do that, and that’s how we came up with Showtime Pal,” said Junior Theatre founder Mary Fluhrer Nighswander. “We needed somebody to welcome kids, tell them a little bit about the show they were going to see, and teach them the etiquette of the theatre.”

The original Showtime Pal was Ms. Leone Bredbeck. As Showtime Pal, Leone spent the next fifty years delighting audiences with her games, songs and tidbits about the theatre.

"Omaha had its Storybook Lady, Cedar Rapids had its Playtime Poppy dressed as an ear of corn," said Ms. Bredback. "It was decided a red and white polka-dotted clown was best for Junior Theatre."

And why is the Showtime Pal costume so large? The first time Leone performed as Showtime Pal she was quite far along in her pregnancy. To this day, the larger than life costume and energy of Showtime Pal live on with each new generation.

Hundreds have had the joy of playing Showtime Pal and becoming a part of this tradition, which is unique to Davenport Junior Theatre, the second-oldest children’s theatre in the country.

Daniel with Showtime Pal
Davenport Junior Theatre | Annie Wittenmyer Complex, 2822 Eastern Avenue, Davenport, Iowa 52803
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