The Center hosts first ever variety show

Variety show to feature 10 acts and includes a prime rib dinner.

Performers with The Center Theatre Group take a moment during their rehearsal this week to talk about the variety play to be presented Feb. 15. Performers include Jana Hansen (left) Patricia Scott, Nancy Skoog, Sharon Chaney, Ed Yunker, Dorothy Splittgerber, Arthur Treagrue, Retha Hawley, David Hansen and Kathy Tusa. Steve Kohls/ Brainerd Dispatch

Live entertainment featuring 10 acts and a juicy prime rib dinner should be enough to entice people to attend The Center’s first ever variety show coming Feb. 15.

The variety show titled “Valentine Talent Time & Dine” will feature local amateur and professional talent and will begin at 4:30 p.m., with dinner served at 5:30 p.m. at the senior center at 803 Kingwood St., Brainerd. Doors open at 4 p.m.

Tickets are $25 a person and come with a complimentary glass of wine. Seating is limited and tickets may be purchased in the office at The Center. The variety show is a fundraiser for the senior center.

DeAnn Barry, The Center’s director, said the senior center’s theater group came up with the idea for the variety show and organized it.

“It’s wonderful to have our members come up with an idea and to participate in the variety show and pull off a new event to be held here at The Center,” Barry said. “This show has everything from singing to dancing to instrumental to humorous acts.”


Barry said Diane Saumer Guidi, Kathy Tusa and Jana Hansen are the masterminds behind putting the show together. The three members brainstormed ideas of what The Center could do to raise money. They initially thought about doing something with the choir and doing a Broadway show with just members of The Center’s theater group. Then the idea expanded to all the members of the senior center and turned into doing more of a variety show to feature the talents of several members who have different types of musical and theater skills.

“Everyone knew of someone who could sing and another knew another person who could act and that is how it all got going,” Tusa said.

Hansen, who plays the trumpet, knew members who could play instruments who agreed to be part of the show. They also found some dancers and before they knew it the theater group had enough for a show.

“We wanted to do a show in February and have a fundraiser to get people into The Center, especially during the doldrums of winter,” Hansen said.

“We decided we wanted to have the show around Valentine’s Day and instead of doing just a show, we said let’s do a dinner, a cut above our regular dinners and so we decided to go with a prime rib dinner,” Tusa said. “And we went a little further and got a liquor license for a day so we could have some wine. This wouldn’t necessarily have to be a date thing because where does a widowed lady go on Valentine's? Well they can come here.”

“All ages are welcome,” Hansen said of the show. “We have been working on this since October and we hope it will be successful.”

There will be 10 individual acts revolving around Valentine’s Day. There are 18 people taking part in the show, with some doing more than one act. Guidi, who began singing at age 3 and turned professional at age 9, was planning to perform, but now may not due to health issues. She has sung with the Heartland Symphony Orchestra, church and community choirs and coordinates the pianists at a hospital in the area.

Some of the acts include:


  • Tusa plans to read “The Cremation of Sam McGee,” a lengthy poem written by Robert W. Service. Tusa said she has always loved this poem.

  • Hansen on trumpet and a friend on clarinet will do a duet to the song “Mission Impossible.” Her friend also will dance in a second act.

  • Dorothy Splittgerber will perform a comedy.

  • The Olson Brothers, Al and Lynn Olson, born in Brainerd, began their musical career on piano. They will play their accordions.

  • Ed and Yvonne Yunker, who ran the Geritol Frolics from 2004-18, will perform an act. Ed will sing and Yvonne is choreographing the dancers.

  • Sharon Chaney and Pat Scott, who both sing with The Center’s choir, will sing “Love Makes The World Go Round,” with Nancy Skoog on piano.

“This is a big deal for me,” said Scott, as she has never performed for an audience before besides singing in the choir. On the flip side of the coin, Chaney has performed in the Geritol Frolics and has sung all her life.
“I also play the accordion,” Chaney said.

Need one more reason to attend the show? A volunteer group of fraternity men in their late 20s-40s, who call themselves the King of Hearts, will serve the food being catered by Mark Nesheim from Wings Airport Cafe in Brainerd. Nesheim owns the local eatery with Kimmy K. Fox.

For more information on the variety show, call The Center at 218-829-9345.

JENNIFER KRAUS may be reached at or 218-855-5851. Follow me at on Twitter.
What To Read Next
Get Local