Photo Flash: Gilbert and Cast of Little House on the Prairie Return Home to DeSmet, SC

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Last week, Melissa Gilbert and the cast of the acclaimed National Tour of LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE, THE MUSICAL performed at the Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

But before taking the stage, Gilbert and her cast mates headed north to the town of DeSmet, where they visited the original Ingalls' Family Homestead, the quarter section of land that Charles Ingalls set claim to in 1880, now located at 20812 Homestead Road. It is in DeSmet where Laura Ingalls Wilder not only grew up, but also where she returned later in her life with her husband, Almanzo Wilder, and where she wrote many of her Little House stories.

During their time in DeSmet, Gilbert and company joined the city's mayor, Gary Wolkow, a he officially declared June 1, 2010 as LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE, THE MUSICAL Day.

Gilbert, who stars as Caroline "Ma" Ingalls, will be joined by Steve Blanchard (Charles "Pa" Ingalls), Kara Lindsay (Laura Ingalls), Kevin Massey (Almanzo Wilder), Kate Loprest (Nellie Oleson), Jessica Hershberg (Mary Ingalls) and Anastasia Korbal (Carrie Ingalls).

The cast also visited the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society, the original DeSmet surveyor's house and the cemetery where much of the Ingalls family is buried, including Laura's parents, Charles and Caroline.

Melissa Gilbert said, "I'm beyond thrilled to have had the opportunity to revisit the DeSmet homestead with my LITTLE HOUSE touring family. This was definitely a great experience for the whole company, to see the actual place where the Ingalls story was first born, and to join Mayor Wolkow in celebrating our musical's incredible national success. It's was a fantastic day for all of us."

LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE, THE MUSICAL, based on Laura Ingalls Wilder's beloved series of classic American books, is the uplifting story of an American family forging a new life amidst the mighty challenges, heartbreaks, joys and triumphs that face them in the newly-settled heartland. It is also the story of young Laura Ingalls, as she begins her life as a young woman, finding purpose and finding love. Above all, it is the celebration of the pioneering spirit and the core values on which this country was founded - a spirit that still resonates today.

Melissa Gilbert, who rose to fame as a child playing Laura in the hugely successful 1970s NBC television series "Little House on the Prairie," now continues her legacy "on the prairie" by taking on the role of Caroline "Ma" Ingalls.

Following the Sioux Falls engagement, LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE will play Ft. Worth (June 8-13) and Atlanta (June 15-20), before completing its celebrated 26-city National Tour in Kansas City (June 22-27).

Initiated for the stage by Adrianne Lobel (A Year with Frog and Toad) and Francesca Zambello, LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE is directed by Zambello (Disney's The Little Mermaid) and features music by Academy Award winner Rachel Portman (Emma), lyrics by Donna di Novelli and a book by Tony Award winner Rachel Sheinkin (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee). Michele Lynch is choreographer and Kevin Stites is musical supervisor.

LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE is produced by Ben Sprecher, Amy Sprecher, Louise Forlenza, Bob Boyett, Jay Harris, William Franzblau, Tony Fusco, Larry Feinman, Peter W. Bezemes, Friendly Theatrical, LLC, Jon B. Platt, Wendy Federman, Michael Filerman, Marc Schwartz, Karl Sydow and Nelle Nugent, in association with Bob Reich and Sharon Carr.

For additional information, visit www.LittleHouseTheMusical.com.

Photo Flash: Gilbert and Cast of Little House on the Prairie Return Home to DeSmet, SC

Photo Flash: Gilbert and Cast of Little House on the Prairie Return Home to DeSmet, SC
Kara Linday ("Laura Ingalls") visits the historic schoolhouse near the Ingalls' original homestead

Photo Flash: Gilbert and Cast of Little House on the Prairie Return Home to DeSmet, SC
DeSmet Mayor Gary Wolkow presents the proclamation to Melissa Gilbert

Photo Flash: Gilbert and Cast of Little House on the Prairie Return Home to DeSmet, SC
DeSmet Mayor Gary Wolkow presents the proclamation to Melissa Gilbert

Photo Flash: Gilbert and Cast of Little House on the Prairie Return Home to DeSmet, SC
Melissa Gilbert and Company

Photo Flash: Gilbert and Cast of Little House on the Prairie Return Home to DeSmet, SC
Cast members visit the Ingalls' original homestead

Photo Flash: Gilbert and Cast of Little House on the Prairie Return Home to DeSmet, SC

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