Little Theatre of Owatonna (LTO) is bringing an extra musical production to their stage in late July, at the request of its former Executive Secretary Sharon Stark.
“The Last Five Years” was a production that Sharon saw Mara Ostermeier-Schack perform in Wisconsin. Sharon had hoped to see Mara return to the LTO stage for this production. LTO’s board is pleased to make that wish a reality as Mara along with Dr. Tim Van Gelder will bring this two-person musical production to life.
“It is truly a gift for me to be back on the LTO stage and performing this musical in honor of my dear friend and mentor Sharon Stark” said Mara. Vidette Ostermeier will direct this two person musical production. She had this to say, “While it has been a bit challenging with both actors rehearsing on their own a state apart, I am really looking forward to the magic that will happen when they come together for rehearsals later this month.” This modern musical ingeniously chronicles the five-year life of a marriage, from meeting to break-up and from break-up to meeting.
Written and Composed by Jason Robert Brown. It was originally produced for the New York stage by Arielle Tepper and Marty Bell it was also originally produced by Northlight Theatre – Chicago, IL. “The Last Five Years” Is Presented with special arrangements through Music Theatre International (MTI).
Performance dates for this production are one weekend only July 25, 26 & 27 @ 7:30 PM and Sunday, July 28 @ 2:00 pm. This production is outside of LTO’s regular season, the admission price is as follows: adults are $17.00 & students are $14.00 each.
For this two-person musical, Mara Ostermeier Schack is playing the part of Catherine Hiatt and Dr. Timothy VanGelder is playing the part of Jamie Wellerstein. Both people are veterans of the LTO stage and are excited to bring this story to life. Both have an affection for Sharon Stark and have a passion for live theatre, they want to see live theatre continue for many generations. This program will help to kick off the Sharon Stark Forever Fund. Attendees will learn more about the Sharon Stark Forever Fund and how to make an impact on LTO for years to come.
The Sharon Stark Forever Fund ensures LTO’s ability to provide high quality LIVE theatre productions in the Owatonna Community. An endowment will provide the consistent long-term funding that LTO needs to continue to produce quality shows while maintaining affordable ticket prices.
The fund is named after Sharon Stark, a founding member of LTO who attended or participated in every production for 52 years. Sharon provided a generous donation to the theatre which established the Forever Fund.
The Sharon Stark Forever Fund will be professionally managed with the help of the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation to conserve and grow the principal. Income from the endowment will be available to support the theatre with its operational and educational expenses.
On Thursday evening there will be a special event called the Sharon Stark Forever Fund Lawn Party. This Lawn Party will give everyone a chance to come together for a fun evening celebrating the life of Sharon Stark and the establishment of the Forever Fund. Mike Jensen, LTO’s President went on to say that he is looking forward to everyone connected with LTO whether a patron or part of a production to have the chance to come together in a fun venue to socialize, reconnect, and to kick off the Forever Fund. The Lawn Party’s time is later in the evening to allow those that attend the production or participate in the Crazy Day activities the chance to come out and enjoy the evening. Jensen went on to explain that they are working on creating something special with this evening Lawn Party.
The lawn party will take place on the Little Theatre of Owatonna front lawn between LTO and the Owatonna Art Center. This event will happen on Thursday, July 25, 2019 from 9 pm to 11 pm. Entertainment for the event will be provided by David Williams. The Owatonna Country Club will provide the Hors d’ oeuvres for the event as well as a cash bar. The dessert for the evening will have a special tie to LTO as they are seeking volunteers to prepare desserts from the LTO Cookbook that was produced several years ago under the direction of Sharon Stark. Other than the cash bar this free event is open to ALL.
Another element to this Lawn Party event is that Sharon’s Jacket and Shoe Exhibit will be open at the Owatonna Art Center that evening. “Anyone that knows Sharon remembers her jackets and shoes, they were such a part of who she was” said Victoria Bartkowiak, Executive Secretary of LTO.
Jensen went on to say that “Sharon will be a part of LTO’s work forever through this Legacy Fund, it is so fitting to create this fund.”