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Pioneer Previews: Summer comedy theater available at two venues

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Two different comedies open this week: "Lend Me A Tenor" at the Paul Bunyan Playhouse and "The Last Resort" at Long Lake Theater.

One play is set in 1934 in Cleveland, Ohio, and the other is a musical-comedy about a run-away mobster in a rundown hotel in Canada with young actors from Bemidji. Don't be torn between which to choose - see both!

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"Lend Me a Tenor," a comedy written by Ken Ludwig ("Moon Over Buffalo" and "Crazy for You") will open at 8 p.m. tonight at the historic Chief Theatre in downtown Bemidji for a two-week run. Director Zach Curtis has chosen some familiar actors like Ari Hoptman, Karen-Wiese Thompson, Ryan Parker Knox and Matthew Goinz to portray an emotional (Italian opera singer) Il Stupendo, his histrionic wife and the desperate general manager of the Cleveland Opera Company who enlists his assistant to go on stage because "the play must go on." Performances are at 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday July 6-16 and a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday , July 10, with a $15 ticket price. Tickets for the evening performances are $22 for adults, $15 for students and $20 for groups of 10 or more. Call box office at 751-7270 for tickets or go online at paulbunyanplayhouse.com. This production is underwritten by Arrow Printing, Ken K Thompson Jewelry and Forestedge Winery. "This activity is funded in whole or in part by a Region 2 Arts Council grant through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund passed by Minnesota voters on Nov. 4, 2008.

"The Last Resort" by Norm Foster, a Canadian comic playwright, with a musical score by Leslie Arden will open today and continue until July 29 at the Long Lake Theater in Hubbard. A madcap comedy with on-the-run mob informant (Andy Browers), his FBI girlfriend (Sarah Bull) and twin sisters (Liz MacGregor) and the other assorted guests have the resort owner Freda Heitz (Nick Dahn) frantically busy. Director Juliann Kjenaas, drama coach at Park Rapids High School, directed "Nunsense" and "The Kitchen Witches" at the theater in previous seasons. Gary Stennes serves as musical director and accompanist for this show. Performances will be at 3 p.m. Wednesdays until July 27 and at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday from July 7-29. Tickets are $16 for adults and $8 for children 4-12. Box office number is 218-732-0099 or visit the website at longlaketheater.com. The drive is worth the effort as the playhouse has a solid reputation for good theater experiences. Directions: south on U.S. Highway 71 for four miles past Park Rapids, turn left onto State Highway 87 and travel four miles east to Hubbard, turn right onto Hubbard County Road 6 and the theater is located about four blocks south on the left. Reservations recommended.

Folklore Theater

Minnesota Folklore Theater presents the return of "An Evening with Patsy Cline" for eight performances. A popular musical that is returning by popular demand will begin at 7:30 p.m. July 7-10 and 11-14 and a 3 p.m. matinee Sunday, July 10. The Minnesota Folklore Theater is located 6 Broadway, Akeley. Call 218-652-2666 for reservations.

First Wednesday

First Wednesday at the Sanford Center is an open house from noon-3 p.m. with refreshments (gourmet cupcakes and beignets, coffee from Dunn Bros. Coffee) and entertainment by local musicians. Drew and Tracy from Pelican Railroad will perform and tours of the center will begin at 12:30, 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. and includes the Bemidji State University Hockey portion of the center. This event is free and open to the public.

Church musicians

Bemidji Area Church Musicians will present musicians Mary Thoreson, Jon Romer, Jacque Tinsley and Andrew Ronnevik, and vocalist Steve Reznicek at noon today at Calvary Lutheran church, 900 Bemidji Ave. A free will offering will be accepted in support of the music scholarships given each year. A luncheon will be served following the concert for a nominal cost.

Design desserts

Third Annual Desserts by Design fundraiser for the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra is looking for volunteers to donate desserts or to design a table. The event will take place Friday, Sept. 23, at the Hungry Bear conference Center. Contact Jeanette Halcrow at 444-2689 or Carol Milowski at 444-4344 for further information.

Mixed display

"20X20," a collaboration with the Jackpine Writers' Bloc and Blank Canvas Gallery, will be on display through mid-July. Twenty artists have created artwork, and 20 writers have written poems or short stories inspired by the art. The show is open to the public and may be viewed from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday, and noon-4 p.m. Sunday at Blank Canvas Gallery, 311 Main Ave. S., Park Rapids.

Weekend music

- "Timberline" with Kari Munson, John Essig, John Kingsbury and Dave Sand will sing and play Saturday, July 9, at the Fireside Grill, U.S. 2 W in Bagley.

- Brigid's Cross Irish Pub & Restaurant will host the Broste Family & Friends. For more information phone 444.0567 or logon to www.brigidsirishpub.com or facebook.com/brigidscrossirishpub.

- Upstream TV, Bemidji's newest Public Access channel, is holding a fundraiser and membership drive at Brigid's Cross beginning at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 9. Live music with Vitamins & Criminals will start at 11 pm. Spin It To Win It, a physically interactive game will start at 8 pm.

Audition call

Actors are needed for "Guys on Ice," an ice fishing musical comedy about three men between the ages of 30 and 55 by Minnesota Folklore Theater. Rehearsals will begin July 18 and the play will open on Aug. 25 at the theater, 6 Broadway St., Akeley. Call 218-652-2666 for audition appointment; stipend for gas and housing is available. For more information about the play, see Staff Blogs on the home page of bemidjipioneer.com and scroll down to Bemidji Arts News or www.bemidjiarts.areavoices.com.

Workshops

- Region 2 Arts Council will hold the following grant writing workshops Thursday, July 14, at the office, 426 Bemidji Ave.: 5-6:30 p.m. Individual Artist Grant and McKnight Career Development Fellowship; 6:30-7:30 p.m. Arts and Cultural Heritage Grant and from 7:30-8:30 p.m. Arts Project Grant and Community Arts Support Grant. All workshops are free but registration is required; call 751-5447 or 800-275-5447 or email staff@r2arts.org.

- Watercolor workshop "Summer Friend I" will be held from 1-4 p.m. Saturday, July 9, at Gallery North. Instructor Marion Caroline will show the participants how to paint a bright monarch butterfly hovering over a blooming thistle (or flower of choosing) using a variety of watercolor methods and intense color. The fee is $45, and all materials will be provided. Registration is at Gallery North, 502 Third St. N.W., and no prior experience is required.

- "Summer Friend II" painting on a feather workshop will be held from 1-4 p.m. Saturday, July 23, at Gallery North with Marion Caroline. Participants will finish painting a feather of a monarch butterfly hovering over a blooming thistle. The fee is $45 and all materials will be provided. Registration is at Gallery North, and no prior experience is required.

Announcements of arts and entertainment events may be sent to the Bemidji Pioneer, P.O. Box 455, Bemidji, MN 56619-0455 or e-mailed to news@bemidjipioneer.com

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