What if, what if, what if?

The Bridges of Madison County takes the stage

Submitted Photo Francesca (Kaylee Capp) tries to choose between Robert (Eric Clemons-Left) and her husband “Bud” (Brian McKinley).

The question of “What if…?” is a prevalent theme in the next MSU Summer Theatre play to hit the stage tonight through Friday, June 29, at the outdoor amphitheater on the edge of the college campus.

Starting every day at 8:30 p.m., The Bridges of Madison County follows the story of Francesca Johnson as she has four days to herself when her family leaves to attend the 1965 State Fair. When National Geographic photographer Robert Kincaid comes to ask directions from her, the question of “What if..?” really begins as the next four days could change the course her life has been taking forever.

A winner of the 2014 Tony Award for Best Score, the romance is expected to leave audiences here in Minot breathless as it has left audiences elsewhere. First time being performed here, The Bridges of Madison County is directed by Ashley Nilsen, a staple of the MSU theater scene. Working with the summer theater since 2003 as an actor and doing other assistant work, the play will be her first directed at the amphitheater.

When asked why she chose this show in particular over another choice, Nilsen said “The music. It really drew me and when I listened to it, I was just blown away.”

The numbers are full of emotion, especially the final two, said Nilsen, and while they still have a show tune feel, all the ballads also have a country speed to them to help set the scene.

Submitted Photo Francesca, played by Kaylee Capp, is shown in the arms of Robert Kincaid, played by Eric Clemons.

Along with the music, Nilsen really thinks audiences will enjoy the relationships that unfold in the scenes from Francesca with her family to her with Robert Kincaid. The hard choices that need to be made at the end will likely leave audiences torn.

“Bring tissues,” Nilsen said both jokingly and seriously. “It is such an emotional show.”

Reservations for The Bridges of Madison County are encouraged but not necessary. The box office will open an hour before each performance to give audiences time to purchase their tickets. Prices vary from $20 for deck seats to $15 for adults, $10 for seniors, military and MSU faculty and staff, and $5 for all youth under the age of 18.