LST season in full swing

Photo by Tom Buchko

Photo by Tom Buchko

by Peggy Frazier

The Lake Superior Theatre season opened this year after long work sessions to get the new chairs and risers installed—and what an opening it was. Just about every seat was occupied for the run of Spamalot, and the laughter was so much fun. The Monty Python fans in the audience started laughing ahead of time, knowing what was coming, and watching them was almost as much fun as watching the show.

One of the comments we loved was: “What a fantastic show. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn’t to be laughing hysterically the whole time. All of the actors in the play were fabulous, and the Lady of the Lake was perfect; her voice was incredible and her spunky attitude rocked. I am so glad that I went and thankful that we are able to get quality plays like this at LST!”

Our cast and crew give up so much of our precious summers to entertain you, and we really appreciate it when you give them written kudos.

Without missing a beat, our technical crew put together another amazing production Quilters. When we were considering the show, our artistic adviser Shelley Russell said: “Quilters is a musical reverie on pioneer women, those amazing mothers and daughters whose joy and love and tremendous courage molded the American landscape into all that we know as ‘home.’ But this show is not a closed hen party. This celebration of the human spirit offers everyone a sometimes humorous, sometimes heart-rending gaze into the eyes of a people and a time. And for any of us who might wonder if we’ve inherited our great-grandmothers’ resilience, this show says, ‘Try!’ In Quilters, life’s challenges become opportunities to share our voices in song and hope. This is a lovely show, an inspiring show, where chores, dreams, love, and loss are woven together into an extraordinary tapestry of melody and movement, a sweet melodic celebration of life.”

Director Carrie Seavoy  said it’s really important to consider all perspectives of a story.

“Quilters tells the story of women, a voice that isn’t always heard throughout our history,” she said. “There are moments that make you laugh, moments that make you cry and so many moments that make you think, ‘I understand that feeling!’ We also have a fantastic cast. They are incredibly talented—singing, dancing, playing instruments—everything. It’s a fun process, just being in a room with all of them.”

Tami Seavoy, who is doing the costumes for Quilters, has enjoyed her part of the production.

“It’s been fun to make the prairie costumes and plan the various hats, scarves and aprons the actors will use to represent different characters,” she said.

The show runs until Sunday, August 2, so if you have not seen it yet, put it on the top of your to do list. Warmth, after all, is what the beautiful old quilts delivered, and warmth is what we got from this production as it paid an eloquent tribute to the courage and spirit of our nation’s pioneer women. In the end, when the various patches were assembled into one glorious, brilliantly colorful quilt, the effect was both breathtaking and magical—a theatrical masterstroke that will linger in our minds and memories long after the house lights have dimmed. Don’t miss this dramatic quilt of story, song and memory.

With its poignant story and catchy Caribbean-flavored score, Once On This Island, Jr. starts on August 6 and runs for two weeks with a new 1:00 p.m. matinee for the kiddos. It is a highly original theatrical adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s popular fairy tale, “The Little Mermaid.” From the TONY Award-winning songwriting team of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (Ragtime and Seussical), this magical tale of love garnered eight TONY nominations, including nods for Best Musical, Book and Score. In almost nonstop song and dance, the show tells the story of a peasant girl on a quest to test the strength of her love against the powerful forces of prejudice, hatred and death. Once On This Island, Jr. delivers melody, love and joy in tropical abundance.

As You Like It, with those tremendously talented folks from the Westwood Shakespeare Company, continues our season from August 18 through 21. For many, this is their favorite show and this production is going to be a special addition to our fabulous season. There’s something in the wind, in the trees. Is it love? Rosalind senses it. So does Orlando.

First, though, they have to find their way out of a repressive post-war society and into the freedom of the Forest of Arden. Join them as they move from the McCarthy Era to the Age of Aquarius where the music, magic and laughs are plentiful. From the folks who brought you last year’s Shakespearean tragedy King Lear comes this year’s Elizabethan proto-musical, As You Like It.

Finally, we look forward to our dessert—Superior Cabaret, which will be presented on August 26 and 27. Produced and designed by Jeff Bruning, this cabaret involves a variety of ages and features the best talent available in live theatre and musical performances. The cast is selecting your favorites, and it has an innate ability to connect with a song and to an audience. Other surprises will make this more than a cabaret and continue an LST celebration tradition. A magical evening on the shore of Lake Superior—it just doesn’t get much better than that.

One of the little bits of black magic that is part of running Lake Superior Theatre is knowing when to mess with success. That is to say, when you have a well-received season routine that is selling, how do you know when it is time to replace or redesign it? And an even more critical question: How much should you change it? Too much change and LST may lose its mission…too little and it runs the risk of being stale.

Just like the Marquette Breakfast Rotary Fishboil was updated this year, we too are looking at ways to do some strategic planning to find ways to serve you, our patrons, better with entertainment excellence. As we try to figure this out, we welcome your comments and suggestions at LSTplayhouse@gmail.com.

Thank you to the incredible directors, cast, crew and other volunteer slaves who are keeping the LST magic alive this summer as they give up a good share of our short summers to bring you incredible performances; we are eternally grateful for their devotion.

And thank you to everyone who completed those surveys; we read them all and were delighted by how many of you had dinner in a Lower Harbor restaurant before the show and were staying in area hotels. Supporting local businesses and making our downtown the destination is a big mission for LST.

As far as those of you who wanted more convenient parking, please remember research indicates that regularly walking about six miles a week may protect the brain from shrinking in late adulthood and possibly reduce the risk of memory loss and decline in cognitive abilities.

Besides, you get to focus on our spectacular view while you are walking along…something we do not want you to do while driving.

Those of you who have a handicapped permit can park in our limited parking sites, and if you are having temporary problems, just see the house manager and we will do everything we can to accommodate you. We also want to remind everyone that if you are mobility challenged, make sure to let the ticket office staff know so we can organize the best possible seating for you. And a reminder that you can always order tickets by phone or email and have them waiting for you at the concession stand at the theatre the night of the show.

We receive a lot of positive comments on our surveys and Facebook, and appreciate them all, especially for grant-writing purposes. I am amazed that people take the time to write and snail mail us. One such letter said, “It was a great experience. We enjoyed biking around Presque Isle (always so pretty) and walking along Washington Street stopping at a few shops.

“Our granddaughters’ choice for dining was Donckers (best ice cream sundaes), so it was a very fun Marquette day. Spamalot was fantastic. Such great talent. Every actor had a strong, beautiful voice! The acting and dancing were tops. Love your wonderful productions. A job well done. We give you a 10++++!”

In closing, my question for you is, what is on your theatre bucket list? What show do you want to see or see again? What cool show have you been hearing about but never had the opportunity to see? Is it time for us to bring back Beacon on the Rock, Points North or one of your other original historic favorites? Send us your thoughts at LSTPlayhouse@gmail.com; we would love to hear from you.

Theatre goers are a unique breed; we love the magic of musicals and the drama queen performances. We particularly enjoy LST, where we can walk out of a show to the beautiful blue water watching the wind blowing life into the Ensign sailors. It is all about doing what you enjoy.

Mark Twain said it so much better than I can (one of my favorite quotes): “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.”

—Peggy Frazier

LST-spamalot-dress

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