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Summer Theatre Today and Tomorrow

Entry to Amphitheatre seating, 2014

Photo of the west side entrance into the Amphitheatre, 2014

 

 

 

Physical improvements to the Amphitheatre continue. For instance, there has been landscaping done near the box office area.  Inside the Amphitheatre, a deck was added to the top of the seating area in 2006.  Portable plastic seats placed right on the concrete before each performance were eventually replaced by yellow plastic seats re-purposed from McFarland Auditorium in Old Main. However these yellow seats were never intended for an outdoor life, and have been damaged by the weather over the years.

Summer Theatre House, 2014

A 2014 photo of the "house," the theatrical term for the the place where the audience sits.  The yellow seats are the old McFarland Auditorium seats.  The blue seats are the new outdoor seats.  The deck at the top was added in 2006.

 

 

 

To remedy this problem, a chair campaign was recently held for the Amphitheatre. Donors were solicited to fund the cost of new outdoor seats. In this photograph, the blue seats near the top are outdoor seats. The buy-a-chair campaign was successful, so the entire theatre should be outfitted with the new seats by the start of the 2015 season.

Tom Rakness performing "The Apple Tree," 1978

Tom Rakness performing in The Apple Tree, 1978

 

 

 

The Summer Theatre Program at MSU has remained a joint university-community endeavor through the years. It is, for the most part, a transient endeavor, as many of the cast and crew change from year to year, particularly as MSU students graduate and move on to jobs or further education.

Tom Rakness performs with the "tarts" in "Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," 2014

Tom Rakness as "The Duke" in Big River:  The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, 2014.  Rakness is one example of an individual returning to Summer Theatre after a number of years away.  The "tarts" are played by, from top to bottom, Courtney Johnson, Maddie Thompson, Emily Taylor, and Emily Wirkus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yet, there are instances of some people who have been involved with Summer Theatre for many years. This has especially been true of the individuals behind the scenes, such the directors, choreographers, music directors. Some actors have performed with the program for over ten years, while others have come back to participate in a season after many years away.

 

MSU Theatre/Alumni Association Sign

A 2014 photo of the Amphitheatre billboard, alerting the public to next year's anniversary.  In addition to funding construction of the billboard, the Alumni Association's M-200 club helped raise the money to build the Amphitheatre.

 

The Summer Theatre Program will offer its 50th season in 2015. The company is considering the possibility of celebrating that landmark by reviving past shows. It also hopes to bring in alumni for this anniversary season, possibly to reprise roles that they previously played in Summer Theatre.

The Minot State University Summer Theatre Program is the oldest institution of its kind in the state, able to continue because of the support of the Minot community.  As Kevin Neuharth has said, "We're supported by our audiences, we're supported by the state of North Dakota because they help pay the rent, and by the students and faculty of this campus. . . . We depend upon the kindness of strangers, strangers that we know and love."

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Summer Theatre Today and Tomorrow