Quote of the Day: BCT Producer Patrick Spradlin and his team (George Marsolek, Lucy Peterson, and Curtis Jendro) saw the closing of indoor theatres due to COVID-19 as an opportunity. “We agreed that to not do anything at all was not an acceptable alternative,” said Spradlin. “So. we started imagining theatre in different formats.” quote from an article by Jessie Perrine for the Westbank Journal for Central Lakes College.

CLC Theater Director Patrick Spradlin chats with patrons before the show on the lawn at Central Lakes College.

It felt like a dream to go to a live theater production last night on the lawn at Central Lakes College (CLC) in Brainerd. Theaters have been dark in Minnesota since the middle of March due to the global pandemic of Covid-19. I’ve been suffering from withdrawal. When I heard that Brainerd Community Theater (BCT) at CLC had plans to do two summer shows, outdoors, I quickly put it on my calendar and volunteered to usher opening nights of both shows. This week you can see Sh-Boom! Life Could be a Dream, directed by Travis Chaput, at 6:30 on the South lawn of the college, Monday-Thursday, weather permitting, with Saturday as an alternate date in case of a rain out. The Marvelous Wonderettes, directed by Amy Borash, will be presented August 3-6, also at 6:30. Both shows, created by Roger Bean, feature favorite songs of the 1950’s and ’60’s. All the best toe-tapping, tug at your heartstrings songs!

Cast of Sh-Boom! Life Could be a Dream, BCT at CLC, summer 2020

The temperature last night was ideal, low 70’s, low humidity, slightly overcast, so no glaring sun. They sprayed for mosquitoes, and I didn’t get any bug bites despite having bare legs and wearing sandals. People brought their own lawn chairs or blankets to sit on. Some people brought snacks, sandwiches, even take out. You could bring your own beverage (no alcohol, please), or buy a bottle of water there. Many people came wearing masks (you can also purchase one there) and kept them on while in line for tickets and while paying. Some people removed them after they’d settled into a spot on the lawn, marked with social distancing guidelines, and some people wore their masks during the entire performance. The performers wore face shields while performing.  It felt like a safe and comfortable way to enjoy live theater. I smiled the entire time behind my mask!

The musical is your typical guy group story. Three young men, Eugene (Oliver Knudson), Wally (Noah Barnhart) and Denny (Jaydon Friedel) meet in Denny’s basement where they rehearse and dream of winning a contest and being discovered for their talent. They’re searching for a fourth singer to complete their quartet. Enter Duke (Jacob Hanson) the cool cat with a motorcycle and leather jacket who works for the car shop that is sponsoring the boys. The boss’ daughter Lois (Lydia Halbach) knows the boys from church. She sings like a dream, and they all fall in love with her “Fools Fall in Love.” Of course, she’s attracted to the bad boy, which angers her conservative father. Well, you can see where this is going. 

Sharon Hartley as Mrs. Varney in Sh-Boom! Life Could be a Dream, BCT at CLC, summer 2020

Denny is getting flak from his mother Mrs. Varney (Sharon Hartley) to “Get a Job.” The story line is woven through a medley of nostalgic favorites like Devil or Angel, Earth Angel, Dreamin’, The Glory of Love, The Twist, and the one that brought us to our feet Rama Lama Ding Dong, and many more. 

Cast of Sh-Boom! Life Could be a Dream, BCT at CLC, summer 2020.

The boys were adorable in their various costumes, designed by Sharon Hartley. The car shop overalls were fun, as were the snazzy jackets for the contest/end of the show. Lois was darling in all her 1950’s outfits with ruffled petticoat underskirts and cute sweaters. Her voice was a dream and she charmed us all with her solos. The young men each had their chance to shine in solos and as a quartet. So much talent and heart in each lovely harmony and lyric. Amy Borash did the choreography. Alex Erickson does the announcer voice over part. Set Design by George Marsolek, sound/lighting by Curtis Jendro.

Alex Erickson (stage manager and announcer) and Travis Chaput, director of Sh-Boom! Life Could be a Dream, BCT at CLC, summer 2020

I want to go again! And, I can hardly wait for the next show, The Marvelous Wonderettes, which is a girl group version, starring Rachael Kline, Nicole Rothleutner, Macy Judd, and Emily-Rose Severson. 

You can see Sh-Boom! Life Could be a Dream on the lawn at CLC the week of July 20, 6:30 show time. Arrive early! People are quick to grab their favorite spot. Please keep a social distance from other patrons, and bring your own bug spray, chair, and snacks. Tickets are only $10 for adults, $5 for children, cash or check only at the door, no advance sales. Please visit the CLC Performing Arts website for more info. 

Go. Create. Inspire!

Journaling Prompt: What have you done for entertainment during this summer of Covid-19?