The largest show ever to grace the Theatre L'Homme Dieu stage will arrive in a little over a week.
"Bright Star," a musical set in the American South in the 1920s and '40s, will open the theater's 2019 season on Tuesday, June 25.
"We have 65 people coming just to put on the show," said Executive Director Nicole Mulder. That's 22 technical workers, 35 cast members and eight musicians. "It's going to be a circus."
"Bright Star," written by actor Steve Martin and singer-songwriter Edie Brickell, tells the story of a literary editor, Alice Murphy, who meets a young man just home from World War II. The meeting awakens her longing for the child she once lost, and she sets out on a journey to understand her past. It's based on a true story.
The production is from the Minnetonka Theatre, a high school program that won 10 SpotLight Musical Theatre Awards from the Hennepin Theatre Trust last fall with "Bright Star." It will run through Sunday, June 30, with shows at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and at 1:30 p.m. Thursday and Sunday.
It is the first of five theatrical performances set for the season. As it has in recent summers, it is also bringing in three musical acts.
Following are descriptions of the other stage shows on the schedule this summer:
• "Grey Skies Blue," by Shapeshift Theatrical, July 9-13. Billed as a fusion of hip-hop and contemporary dance with theater, it features 10 dancers exploring themes of family, race, love and betrayal. It's this year's "bold" choice, Mulder said, not just because of the themes, but because it's dance. "We don't present a lot of dance in this region," she said. "Our audience allows us to take a risk once a year, and this is it."
• "Til Death: A Marriage Musical," July 16-20. A romantic comedy, it stars two real-life married couples. In the show, one couple is in a marital midlife crisis, sharing a cabin with a couple on their honeymoon. "Will their marriages last ... the weekend?" Lind Family Funeral Home & Cremation Services is sponsoring this show.
• "Surfin' Minnesota: Summer in the '60s," July 23-27. The acclaimed playwright and storyteller Kevin Kling has developed a wide fan base in his native Minnesota, and also provides commentaries for NPR's "All Things Considered." This show customized for the Lakes Area audience will feature music from the 1960s, including a sing-a-long, Mulder said.
• "Church Basement Ladies 7: You Smell Barn," Aug. 6-10. Closing the theater's season is a new rendition of the "basement" series, this time with a story celebrating rural life in the 1950s with original songs. Mulder said these favorites nail the details of the life they portray.
In addition to the big productions, Theatre L'Homme Dieu has lined up three concerts, all with 7:30 p.m. show times:
• "I Am, He Said," Matt Vee's celebration of the music of Neil Diamond, July 5 and 6. Vee, nephew to '60s pop star Bobby Vee, will be joined on stage by Bobby's sons Jeff and Tommy for a tribute to Diamond, whose hits span five decades and include, "Cracklin' Rosie," "Sweet Caroline," and countless others. Hot sales for the July 5 date prompted the theater to add another show for the following evening.
• "A Salute to Glen Campbell," by Jeff Dayton, July 31. Dayton, who lives in Nashville, was bandleader and guitarist for Campbell for 15 years, and he will share stories and play many of Campbell's hits, which include, "Gentle on My Mind," "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," "Wichita Lineman" and "Rhinestone Cowboy," among several others.
• Six Appeal, Aug. 14-15. After making its area debut this year at the theater's summer soiree fundraiser, the six-man vocal ensemble group is returning for two shows. They play about 150 concerts a year, and this year won first place in a world a cappella vocal band contest in Moscow where they competed with 180 groups from 16 countries.
New this year
For those who live around Lake Le Homme Dieu, the theater is simply a boat ride away. The theater added a dock with four or five docking spots - depending on the size of the vessel - so theater-goers can tie up and walk a short distance to the theater.
Also new: The outdoor gathering area will include more tables and chairs; opening nights will include a red carpet; "Food Truck Friday" will run from 5-7 p.m.; there will be yoga on the beach on Saturday mornings at 9 a.m.; and for all but the first production, the Sunday matinee will move to Thursday.