I am so excited about the upcoming theatrical events this coming summer season. Yesterday, I had a short coffee break with Abe Hunter, the artistic director of the Loon Opera Company. Abe has shown this community, time after time, his gratitude for the support given to him in 2009 when he went off to Italy to study and play piano with La Musica Lirica. After a fund raising event attended by many in the community and the grant he received from Bemidji Area Arts Endowment, our â€œgood will ambassadorâ€ went off to Italy to play as a collaborative artist and to learn the art of opera.
Last summerâ€™s debut of the Loon Opera Company was a testament to money well spent as this 20 something-year old was able to produce and present (with the help of his singer friends and a student musician) an evening of opera so good that the heat in the Wild Rose Theater did not drive the audience away.
The Lirica experience is paying off this summer as two of the singers he met in Italy are coming to Bemidji to sing in the Loon Opera Company production of Mozartâ€™s â€œThe Marriage of Figaroâ€ this coming July. Lettie Andrade De La Torre, a soprano from Niceville, FL, has agreed to sing the lead role of Countess Almaviva. Tenor Barry Sharrock from North Carolina will sing dual roles of Don Basilio and Don Curzio. Hunter hopes to pay all the bills with full houses, letâ€™s make that happen! If you are so inclined to financially support this production, you can call Abe on his cell phone 218-368-8805. Cash may not possible for some but an offer of refreshments for the rehearsals and other such shoring up would be greatly appreciated. Paul Bunyan Broadcasting has been wonderful in setting up radio commercials beginning in about a week.
I received an email from Bruce Bolton and Shannon Geisen of Long Lake Theater in Hubbard. (Yes they are married to each other and parents to a couple of wonderful children.) They were excited to say that Andy Bowers will be directing the first play of the season, â€œArsenic and Old Lace.â€ Andy, a graduate of the BSU theater program, was in Shakespeareâ€™s â€œWinterâ€™s Taleâ€ at the Guthrie this past season. Andy will also perform in their July musical, â€œThe Last Resortâ€ and in August, Neil Simonâ€™s â€œBrighton Beach Memoirs.â€ Click here to view the calendar and ticketing information.
We know that itâ€™s a bit of a drive down there but has always been worth effort for us, especially eating at the Y Steak House before the show. Some day we might even try the cafÃ© down the road from the playhouse.
I spoke with Jamie at the New York Mills Cultural Center about ticket reservations for the Great American Think-off on June 11. He advised me that if people want to make it to New York Mills on Friday, â€œFor the Birdsâ€ with Kevin Kling and J. Mann will be at the performing arts center. Click here to access their website for reservations, etc.
If the phone is more to your liking, call 218-385-3339. See the Bemidji Pioneer feature on May 27 for a story on the Great American Think-Off and one of the four contestants chosen from across the U.S., Marsh Muirhead.
One of my favorite musicals â€œForever Plaidâ€ opens in a couple of weeks at the Paul Bunyan Playhouse. If you like 50â€™s music (Who doesnâ€™t?) be sure to make it to this show. Some of your favorite Bemidji State University music and theater students are in the show: Jessie Ladig is the choreographer and Matthew Goinz is the musical director and will also play Smudge. For those who do not know, the show is about a guysâ€™ singing group who died after being hit by a school bus of Catholic school girls on the way to the Ed Sullivan Show. They return from the â€œafterlifeâ€ to sing one last concert of some of the familiar hits of close harmony guy groups of the 50â€™s. The Plaids will sing songs that many will remember from their youth and teen years: â€œCatch a Falling Star,â€ â€œThree Coins in the Fountain,â€ â€œRags to Riches,â€ â€œLady of Spainâ€ and a few other â€œremember whenâ€ songs. Click here to access the home page of the Paul Bunyan Playhouse.