Hello, readers! Isn’t it hard to believe we’re already into the second week of July? I feel like it was just last week that our company met for the first time to read through Crazy for You. I hate to be cliché and say that time flies when you’re having fun, but, well…there you go. It does. Not only do I feel like time flies in the midst of all the working and playing we do at Festival, but I also forget what day of the week it is. But we have a company dinner every Sunday evening, and I am more able to mark the passage of time when I’m provided with food.
Although two of our four summer shows have opened (Crazy for You and The Foreigner), we’re still as busy as ever with rehearsing, performing, teaching at creativity camps, writing music, and now focusing on our work in the conservatory with local youth actors. Most of the summer artists are involved in the conservatory production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in some capacity. I am not acting in this production, for example, but I am still a teaching artist with the show. Our schedule is divided up into a morning session from 10-noon and an afternoon session from 1-6. In the morning, the teaching artists lead exercises and activities to prepare the youth actors (and—let’s be honest—ourselves) to meet the demands of the text and tell our story with voice and movement. Then the director joins us for an afternoon of rehearsing. So far, we’ve been doing this four days a week. I have only started becoming comfortable performing Shakespeare’s texts in the past couple years, and I know I would have really struggled with it if I had been in a play like this one when I was at the age of the youth actors. But they are blowing my hypothetical adolescent self out of the water. They’re a troupe of pros and arrive every day ready to learn and eager to share their experiences. It’s a lot of fun to spend a morning making funny noises and capering around the room. What a job I have. I hope they’re learning as much as I am.
For anyone reading this who isn’t sure you’d enjoy or understand seeing a Shakespeare play, I encourage you to give this production a try. Midsummer is a very popular romantic comedy, and the director and cast are more than capable of meeting the challenge of communicating the story to you. It’s not a foreign language; I promise you’ll catch on. Also, the show doesn’t have its first official public performance until July 20th, so you have some time to read a synopsis of the play online to make it easier to follow once you get here. We have fairies, lovers, lovers’ quarrels, a talking wall, a talking donkey, dancing, magic, poetry, and a fearsome lion. Who could ask for anything more?
Big cast, incredible talent, classic songs, lots of moving parts. Director Johnson has done a superb job interpreting this classic Gershwin musical. Bravo!!
I’ve never blogged before, so I’m not entirely sure how this works… So I’m just going to use you as a sort of diary in which I will summarize my stay in St. Croix Falls so far. Yeah, that sounds nice. J
I heard about Festival through my dear friend Seth Kaltwasser, who I’m sure you’re all familiar with! It seemed like such a good fit and in a beautiful area, so how could I not want to be here? I was thrilled when I got the call, and I’m ecstatic to report that my excitement has been met with an experience that has exceeded expectations (believe it or not, I did not intentionally use that many “ex-“ words in that sentence..)
I am blown away by the kindness I encounter every day here. As is normal for anyone, I get nervous when I know I’m going to a completely new place, but I have never had such a successful transition as this one has been. Firstly, I’ve been placed with a wonderful woman, Barb Delaney, so this is a shout-out to her for being endlessly interesting in addition to gracious!
Secondly, the Festival team is so encouraging and the ideals of the company, holding each other up and being kind in everything you do, are beautifully simple yet incredibly effective.
Thirdly, my fellow apprentices and interns are an amazing group of talented, warm-hearted, hilarious people. It is an awesome feeling to look forward to rehearsals for so many reasons – learning, practicing our art, AND spending time with some of the coolest people I’ve ever met. I feel spoiled, honestly!
Okay, so that’s how the last two and a half weeks have been in general… AND THEN YESTERDAY (June 9) WE DID THE COOLEST THING EVER. Wisdom Horse Coaching provided the summer 2013 company with an unforgettable experience, learning more about ourselves through the unbiased honesty of horses. As I’ve learned through conversations with my family and friends, it’s basically impossible to adequately describe the experience; suffice it to say, I learned a lot about myself, how I deal with others, and the energy I give off from just a couple of hours of this equestrian-guided education. Only problem being… Now I want a horse.
In sum – I love it here, and you are why. So thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
I’m Erich Peltz. I was born in raised in St. Louis, Missouri. I work with Festival Theatre as a performance and education intern.
Since I have been at work here a lot of fun things have been happening. Rehearsals have been going on and other professional things have been rolling very smoothly.
I have also been meeting good friends and exploring what St. Croix Falls and Taylors Falls has to offer. Posted here are some pictures of what I love to do when I get to live someplace new: climb things, fish, and laugh. Most of the time I have a camera on standby when I am out exploring, so I can capture beautiful moments like these. This area is beautiful, especially in comparison to my home town. (I do some fishing and exploring there as well, but I feel like I've seen most of it). I cannot wait to plan a camping trip with everyone in the cast and crew as well as a bike ride, more fishing days, and maybe even a bear safari! More pictures and fun things to come!
Thanks for reading!
A Fulfilled Sense of Adventure
Dennis and Cam Raedeke have been more places than the average person, traveling the world by boat for fifty years. What motivates that kind of unique lifestyle? All will have an opportunity to hear the complete story and ask questions when the Raedekes and biographer Phil Peterson, along with pianist Dan Chouinard, share a presentation, “Around the World and Then Some,” covering the Raedeke’s travel adventures on Saturday, June 15th at Festival Theatre in St. Croix Falls.
Their adventure began with Cam’s family business. Her grandfather owned Muller Boat Company, which originated in Stillwater as a boat building company and expanded into Taylors Falls in tour boat operations. She grew up in Taylors Falls with her father, mother and sister, spending most of her time in and around the waters of the St. Croix River. The Muller family’s paddlewheel boats have been traversing the St. Croix River since 1906, giving thousands upon thousands of visitors a river’s-eye view of the beautiful bluffs and a lesson in geology as the boat crews tell the history of this region.
Dennis enters the story as a young member of the U.S. Air Force stationed at the Air Force Radar Station near Osceola, Wisconsin. Once he and Cam met, and he learned about her family’s business, the stage was set for a lifetime of adventure together.
After being discharged from the service, Dennis immediately went to work at Muller Boats for his father-in-law, Bob Muller. Driving and maintaining the excursion boats was perfect training for someone with a sense of wanderlust, for such a person needs to know how to fix motors and navigate bodies of water. In his youth, sailing small boats on lakes and rivers in Canada built skills and confidence. As an adult, constant practice using larger and larger boats helped him gain valuable experience. Upgrading to a larger vessel and sailing Lake Superior was the next step in their intentional pursuit. The dream of traveling the world and sailing the oceans provided the motivation to study hard and learn all that could be learned, in order to see that dream become a reality.
Dennis and Cam eventually took over the Taylors Falls Scenic Boat Tour operations, including the canoe rental business, and expanded into the downhill ski industry to fill the winter months. They worked hard to turn Wild Mountain Ski Area into a modern, profitable tourist attraction.
With their businesses growing and doing well, the Raedekes were able to purchase their first catamaran in California. Their first extended family adventure on the ocean took place in 1979 aboard the original Wild Wind, sailing with their three teenaged kids from Los Angeles to Florida through the Panama Canal, a trip lasting four months and covering 6,000 miles.
Amy Frishmon, daughter and current co-manager of Wild Mountain, relates how her parents have influenced her outlook on life. “I consider myself blessed to have parents that are so adventuresome,” she states. “They taught me that anything is possible. I’ve been able to travel throughout the world with them as well as with my existing family. My love of travel, adventure and the courage to go anywhere and to do anything definitely comes from my parents.”
After many more years of traveling, the dreams and plans of sailing the world have now been completed, a rare thing indeed. The Raedekes feel satisfied and fortunate, and even more so as they share their experiences with interested readers. But Dennis is quick to tell the grandchildren, “This did not happen by accident.”
“Around the World and Then Some” with author Phil Peterson, Dennis and Cam Raedeke, and musician Dan Chouinard will take place at Festival Theatre on Saturday, June 15th, with a social hour at 6pm and the presentation beginning at 7pm. Copies of the book will be available. Tickets for this event are just $15, with the proceeds going toward the purchase of a baby grand piano for the theatre. Call the box office for reservations (715-483-3387) or purchase online.
Sailing Adventures on Stage at Festival Theatre
Local author and adventurer, Phil Peterson, will celebrate the sailing adventures of Dennis and Cam Raedeke when he hosts a special book launch party and presentation on Saturday, June 15th at Festival Theatre. Festivities begin at 6:00 p.m.
Fifty years and a world of travel are chronicled in the book “Around the World and then Some” which tells the Raedeke’s love story with sailing and how they crafted a life that allowed them to manage the family business (Wild Mountain & Taylors Falls Paddle Boats) and pursue their passion for sailing. A social hour begins at 6:00 p.m. with the presentation starting at 7:00 p.m., including music by Dan Chouinard, whose first job was as a musician over thirty years ago aboard the Taylors Falls Queen during the summer paddleboat season.
Peterson, Chouinard, and the Raedeke’s all see this event as a fantastic way to raise money for the purchase of a grand piano for Festival Theatre. Over the years, Festival has always had to rent pianos for when professional pianists perform, such as Chouinard, Butch Thompson, and others. The full price of the $15 ticket will go to the piano fund.
Peterson’s book covers the human interest aspects of this story, which began shortly after the Raedeke’s married in the fall of 1960. However, the book also shares the technical and nautical tales that will engage those who sail or have an “armchair” interest in sailing. Fascinating photos and descriptions abound of encountering and overcoming challenges. When Phil Peterson presents on June 15th at Festival Theatre, it will be a travelogue, complete with projected images, narration, and musical interludes by Dan Chouinard.
Tickets are $15 and can be reserved here, or purchased at the box office.
Andrew, Jackie and Seth have some fun in mind for this summer.....
Festival Theatre’s Sew Good Improv returns for a fourth year of summer comedy. This year, eighteen company members will make up the rotating cast of the improv troupe. Shows take place each Friday night at 9:00 p.m. following Music on the Overlook, beginning June 7th and ending August 23rd. (Two exceptions: no shows on July 5 or August 9.)
“Improvisational theatre is one of my favorite forms of creative exploration," said Jaclyn Johnson, Associate Artistic Director and team member of Sew Good. Jaclyn, who trained at the Brave New Workshop in Minneapolis and has been a member of several improv troupes since her training began in high school, goes on to explain, “Improv lets actors play, discover, and practice being present, in the moment, accepting and perceptive of all that is happening on stage. And as luck would have it, this usually results in some very funny, very honest, very memorable moments that excite and make each show unique."
This summer the cast will be split into three improv teams. Each performance will feature two teams and both teams will experiment in a variety of improv structures. Audience suggestions inspire each scene and actors will create a show using their collective wit and talents as their only tools.
Tickets for Sew Good Improv are $5.00 and can be purchased at the door or in advance at the box office. General admission seating is limited with shows taking place in the street level Elbow Room. The Act II Cafe will be open during every show, offering beer, wine and other refreshments. Bring your friends and join the fun!
Festival Theatre staff, board members and volunteers have been busy these past few months, putting together a new, updated website. We appreciate all the time everyone spent on designing, gathering and developing the information you need to know. It is a work in progress, with more information to be added, and new events posted as plans come together. Thank you for your patience in our transition.
This is the place for news, comments, and entries from EVERYONE! Feel free to post about the theatre, shows, events, or just your overall experience with Festival!