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Good Deeds & Great People

The Alexandria Area Arts Association (AAAA) presents "Good Deeds and Great People" - an Alexandria Sesquicentennial play written and directed by Kevin Lee of Miltona.

Performances are set for June 21, 27 and 28 at 7:30 p.m. and on June 22 at 2 p.m. at the AAAA Theatre.

"Good Deeds and Great People" is a light-hearted look at life in the Alexandria area during the past 50 years.

The show contains new songs, including "The Gangplank Blues," "A Day on the Lake," "The Pickle Pickin' Polka," and "Viking Lament."

The show will also bring back some of the personalities that are well known to area residents.

Kevin Lee of Miltona, the author of the play, was the recipient of the 2007 Lake Region Arts Council/McKnight Fellowship Grant.

Lee has been involved with AAAA both on and off the stage for several years.

He has written and directed several other plays, which included "A Sven and Ole Christmas," and most recently an adaptation of Dicken's "A Christmas Carol."

For more information on the author and his works visit his Web site at www.kevinleemiltona.com.

This production is funded in part by a grant from the Lake Region Arts Council through a Minnesota State Legislative appropriation.

Cast list

• Gramps - Virgil Linn.

• Gram - Sharon Thalmann.

• Jon - Mitch DeLaRosby.

• Mary - Courtney Bitzan.

• Company of actors and singers - Gloria Deick, Barbara Kruse, Hyson Krusemark, Kirk Landman, Christina Marquardt, Rosalia Ray, Paul Schoenack, Sandy Susag and Joan Marie Wittrock.

• Musicians - Skilly & Duff. (Members include Mikko Cowdery, Bruce Kelly, Anne O'Flynn and Terry Kennedy.)

• Crew - director, Kevin Lee; stage manager and set design and construction, John Thalmann; sound design and technician, Chuck Wencl; props, Barb Grover; and producer and light technician, Dedra Zwieg.

From the director

The idea for the play, according to its director, Kevin Lee, came about a year ago when he received a call from Rachel Barduson from the Douglas County Historical Society.

She wanted to do a joint project with the AAAA for the state's 150 anniversary.

The pair talked about growing up in Douglas County and all the things they remembered - all the entertaining things.

The decision was made to do a project that wouldn't be a historical presentation going back to the pioneer days, but a show about the life from the 1950s forward.

"I started gathering stories soon after," said Lee. "The ideas just kept percolating in my head all fall and winter."

Lee explained that the final project - "Good Deeds and Great People" - is presented through the eyes of a grandpa and grandma who are telling their two grandchildren about what they remember.

The retelling starts when the grandson complains about not having anything to do.

Memories of the Gangplank and events like the 1970s Miltona tornado and people like Erc Aga, along with stories about the Runestone, church dinners, Central School and watching KCMT-TV are recalled by the older, but not old, couple.

"But this doesn't mean that people needed to grow up around here to enjoy," explained Lee. "The show's story will make sense to any Minnesotan. The skits and music reflect patterns and rhythms of life here."

Lee noted that he wrote some new songs for this production, including a Viking Lament about coming to Minnesota that starts out, "Eight Swedes and some Norwegians, we..."

The company of actors and singers will also sing a series of songs in the immigrant languages of Norwegian, Polish, French and Swedish.

There will be songs about church food and Lee said there will be a "word-for-word" from a Miltona resident who served on the USS Leedstown, which was bombed in 1942 during World War II.

When asked what makes this play special, Lee said, "It's a story about the good deeds and great people who made our lives better. It was written by a local playwright, includes some new music and it will be presented by a very talented cast of local actors, singers and dancers. That's a pretty good deal!"

IF YOU GO

Box office hours: Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and one hour prior to performances.

Cost: Tickets for adults are $15. Tickets for children 10 and younger are $10. All ticket sales are final. No refunds or exchanges.

More Info: For more information call (320) 762-8300.

WHAT

"Good Deeds and Great People"

WHEN

Performances are June 21, 27 and 28 at 7:30 p.m. and on June 22 at 2 p.m.

WHERE

Alexandria Area Arts Association Theatre, 618 Broadway.

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