Live Theatre will continue in Owatonna this year even with a Covid-19 Pandemic. Little Theatre of Owatonna (LTO) continues to monitor the situation with Covid-19 and make necessary plans to keep their season alive. Rehearsals and plans are well under way for their first show of the season “Cat’s Cradle” by Leslie Sands. This production will open on October 9th and run for two weekends.
As the LTO Board looked to the rest of their line up for the season, they grew concerned about being able to produce two large-scale musicals, given the pandemic. When the season was put together in late April there was hope that the situation would have improved a little more than it has.
“LTO has a history of high quality productions, and we didn’t want to deprive our patrons of that level of performance” said Kristi Westergaard, LTO President. She went on to share “we decided that we’d feel more comfortable producing shows with a smaller cast and crew. A smaller, high-quality show is much more manageable than a large musical given our current environment”.
Based on the current situation, the LTO Board has made the difficult decision to set their two musicals aside for this year and replace them with more traditional productions with smaller casts. “The safety of our guests, cast, and crew comes first – we have a plan to provide incredible productions safely within our current environment for a smaller cast size” said Victoria Bartkowiak, Executive Secretary. Ms. Bartkowiak has been working all spring and summer, researching the best way possible to bring live theatre back to Owatonna. Her research has been through many different organizations like AACT – American Association of Community Theatre, Event Safety Alliance, CDC, MDH website as well as other national and regional theatres.
“Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” by Andrew Lloyd Webber with lyrics by Tim Rice and “Something Rotten” by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farell with music by Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick are the two musical productions that have been put on hold for this year. They have been replaced in the season line-up with a couple of wonderful productions that the community will really enjoy: “A Tuna Christmas” by Ed Howard, Joe Sears, and Jaston Williams and “The Gin Game” by D.L. Coburn.
“A Tuna Christmas” will open on December 4th and will run for two weekends. Auditions for this production will take place on October 10th and 11th. This show will be directed by Bev Cashman with technical director Kathy Purdie. “A Tuna Christmas” is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc.
“A Tuna Christmas” gives you a chance to experience Christmas in the third-smallest town in Texas. Radio station OKKK news personalities Thurston Wheelis and Arles Struvie report on various Yuletide activities, including the hot competition in the annual lawn-display contest. In other news, voracious Joe Bob Lipsey’s production of A Christmas Carol is jeopardized by unpaid electric bills. Many colorful Tuna denizens join in the holiday fun. A Tuna Christmas is a total delight for all seasons. Audiences will enjoy this laugh-filled evening of Holiday FUN!
“The Gin Game” will open on April 23rd and will run for two weekends with auditions being held on February 15th and 16th, 2021. This show will be directed by Jeffrey Jackson with Kathy Purdie as technical director. “The Gin Game” is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc.
“The Gin Game” was a winner of the 1978 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, which originally starred Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn and was later revived with Julie Harris and Charles Durning. It uses a card game as a metaphor for life. Weller Martin is playing solitaire on the porch of a seedy nursing home. Enter Fonsia Dorsey, a prim, self-righteous lady. They discover they both dislike the home and enjoy gin rummy, so they begin to play and to reveal intimate details of their lives. Fonsia wins every time, and their secrets become weapons used against one another. Weller longs for a victory to counter a lifetime of defeats. Learn more as we reflect back in time with these two fascinating characters.
“Changing our season line-up was a difficult decision for the board, but we are so excited to bring live, high-quality theatre to our community,” said Ms. Westergaard. The full 2020-2021 season includes five productions: a mystery, a holiday comedy, a fun comedy production, a traditional drama, and a high energy children’s production. Ms. Bartkowiak closed with “I hope the community will come out and safely enjoy live theatre here in Owatonna this season.”