The Central Lakes Community Performing Arts Center announced a full summer season of plays, musicals, concerts and films.
All events will be outdoors on the summer stage located on the south lawn of the Brainerd campus of Central Lakes College, with COVID-19 restrictions in place.
Patrick Spradlin, the center’s director, describes the season as the first steps in a return to normalcy for performing arts in the lakes area.
“We’ve adjusted to the pandemic by livestreaming our events or by producing plays using television/film techniques,” Spradlin stated in a news release. “While we’ve been successful in producing our work, the key element has always been absent: a live audience, present in the space with the performers. This summer, we’re hoping to make the first significant steps to return to that normal mode.”
The summer season includes four music concerts billed under the omnibus title “Homegrown Music Series.” All four acts are from Minnesota, hence the title. Brainerd Community Theatre will present a comedy, a musical and three films that will be family friendly and free to the public.
Kicking off the concert season on June 9 will be audience favorites Deuces Wild Dueling Pianos. Featuring the musical talents of Ted Manderfeld and Dave Eichholz, the show is a nonstop electrified evening of terrific music and audience-engaging comedy banter.
“We’ve presented Deuces Wild on several occasions,” stated Spradlin. “They are real talents, and our audiences never leave their show without a huge grin on their faces. I can think of no better act to open our season than Deuces.”
The classic Neil Simon comedy “The Odd Couple” will take the Brainerd Community Theatre stage on June 22 and run through July 1. This story of two mismatched men sharing an apartment and struggling to accommodate one another’s eccentricities has been a mainstay of American theater since its debut in the mid-1960s. Beth Selinger directs a cast of local actors who will bring to life these familiar characters.
On July 7, Divas Through the Decades graces the stage in a musical tribute to some of the most
influential female vocalists in American pop music, featuring songs from the ‘40s through today’s current hits, the release stated. The show features music made famous by various divas including Tina Turner, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Celine Dion, Aretha Franklin, Gloria Estefan, Madonna, Beyonce, Shania Twain, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood and more. The Divas stage show is filled with electrifying vocals, cutting edge choreography, great costume changes, and a high energy performance that is second to none, the release stated.
The musical “Xanadu” opens July 28 with performances through Aug. 5. This Tony Award- nominated musical adventure is about following dreams despite the limits others set and rolls along to the original hit score composed by pop-rock legends, Jeff Lynne and John Farrar of Electric Light Orchestra fame. Based on the Universal Pictures cult classic movie of the same title, which starred Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly, “Xanadu” is hilarity on wheels for adults, children and anyone who has ever wanted to feel inspired.
Amy Borash directs and choreographs a cast of actors.
The Holy Rocka Rollaz is set Aug. 11.
“We love this band and so do our audiences,” stated Spradlin. “Here’s a band that takes punk and rockabilly and slams them together to make a high-energy style of ‘50s rock.”
The final concert of the Homegrown Series will be the Rusty Crayfish Brass Band set to perform Aug. 28. The group plays a variety of traditional and contemporary New Orleans brass music, as well as some popular covers and original tunes incorporating blues, swing, funk and pop.
Several Rusty Crayfish members are area music instructors, including Chris Fogderud, Brainerd High School band director; Mike Sommerness, Pequot Lakes High School band director; Chris Halvorson, Aitkin High School band director; and Brian Stubbs, BHS choir director.
“This band has been earning a reputation for excellence from local audiences for some time now,” stated Spradlin. “We’re really proud to be presenting them as part of our summer series.”
The three free films will be screened June 2, July 15 and Aug. 19. Because of restrictions on publicizing film titles put in place by the licensing agency, Spradlin stated he’s not able to name the films by title.
Spradlin stated: “The first has to do with an extermination company specializing in ghosts formed by three oddballs, who eventually do battle with a giant marshmallow. The second is an animated fairy tale film that centers around the exploits of a green ogre. The third features as its title character a comic book hero, played by Michael Keaton, who is opposed by a villain comically played by Jack Nicholson.”
All titles, showtimes for the three free films and the events in the summer series are available on the center’s website at clcperformingarts.com.
“We hope to see a lot of people come out to enjoy these events,” stated Spradlin. “As a community we need to have a return to days of fun, music and companionship.”