Saturday, April 27, 2013

“Remember When” Concert for Mother’s Day in Bigfork

This tribute concert for Mother’s day by Pat Surface and friends will be the fourth time Pat and his wife Donna appear on The Edge Center stage in Bigfork.  They will also bring members of the Grand Rapid’s St. Joseph School children’s choir to sing “Everything is Beautiful” with Pat.  The “Remember When” concert brings music of the 60s and 70s to life especially with Donna Surface signing music with a grace and energy that enhances the experience. The special Mother’s day concert will be on Saturday May 11th at 7PM. Admission $10 for adults, $5 for children.

Pat Surface says, “My family is my inspiration for much of my music.  For family has taught me devotion and cohesiveness and how we are all the same.” Born in St. Paul and placed in foster care, Pat became part of a musical family, the LaPlants.  They shaped his life and life’s work. The LaPlants, award-winning musicians themselves, are instrument builders and family builders.  Pat has two adopted siblings: one Hispanic and one Native American.

Donna Surface says “This is our most popular show. They really enjoy revisiting songs they couldn't wait to hear on the radio or from their beloved vinyl LPs back in the day. There are so many 'Oh wow, I LOVED that song!' moments throughout the show. The late 60’s into the 70’s was a pivotal era in so many ways, and woven through the music in this show are reminders of what it was like to be I recall the events and pop culture that shaped that time.”

“We have so enjoyed our engagements at the Edge Center For The Arts. We love the venue and our concerts have always been extremely well attended. We always look forward to performing at the Edge because it is an intimate venue yet it seats a nice-size audience. The sound and lights, stage and large screen really suit our shows - with multi-media and signing and a variety of musical sounds and voices.”

Return to a time when the lyric and melody were the essence of a song as you take this entertaining and nostalgic musical journey with Pat and Donna and their guests including members of the Boundary Water Boys band (above), John Ely, Jeff  Menten, Marina Whight, and Pat's family, The LaPlants....and opening will be The Simple Guys.

Enjoy the timeless music of: John Denver, Gordon Lightfoot, Dan Fogelberg, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Jim Croce, Harry Chapin, Leonard Cohen, James Taylor, Simon & Garfunkel, The Eagles, America, (and more). During the concert you will be treated to nostalgic favorites from the 60’s and 70’s – great familiar sing-a-longs (and sign-a-longs) from Pat and The Boundary Water Boys’ 4 best-selling CDs, Songwriter, Songwriter Too, Songwriter Three and Songwriter Four, and Pat's new album, Little Folk Songs.


The performers include Pat Surface (above with his wife Donna) who is and award-winning singer/songwriter and leader of the Boundary Water Boys. Pat is the founder of Spiritwood Music of The Boundary Waters, an acoustic record label based in Ely. Pat grew up in Grand Rapids.

John Ely - An award-winning steel guitarist (and dobro player) with many hit songs, two Grammys, three other Grammy nominations, and numerous recordings and TV appearances to his credit.

Jeff Menten – Jeff plays smokin’ violin for the Boundary Water Boys. He has won many awards at the Minnesota Country Music Association competition, including Instrumentalist of the Year.

Donna Surface, a Performance Artist in Sign for The Hearing Impaired (a combination of American Sign Language, dance and dramatic interpretation), will also be performing.

Marina Whight, A native of the Grand Rapids area, Marina Whight has been involved  with many local theater and musical groups, including Reif Center Dance, and  Showboat.  According to Marina, she has been singing and harmonizing forever.  One of her musical highlights was winning Overall Grand Champion at the Minnesota Country Music Championships.

The Simple Guys are Bill Adamson and Jim Cagle. They are a couple of guys who like to play simple songs, using simple chords, simply to have a good time. They like to do some original songs based on Minnesota humor and just being Minnesotan. One person said "you guys are like the Smothers Brothers on lutefisk." We guess that says it all!

Also featuring members of the St. Joseph's Catholic School Children's Choir in Grand Rapids, plus members of The LaPlant Family (above).

We hope you come and enjoy an evening designed for moms and  just right for the whole family.  The e show is on Saturday May 11th at 7PM at The Edge Center in Bigfork Minnesota.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Show is Ready to Go…Come See ”Becky’s New Car” in Bigfork

The stage is set, the actors ready and the final regular rehearsal was tonight: Tuesday April 23.  It went great.  Here are some pictures of that rehearsal and an invite to come and see one of the regular performances at the Edge Center in Bigfork April 25 – 28.  That’s this Thursday through Saturday at 7PM and Sunday at 2PM.  The price is $12 for adults.  But we have one more offer for you…come tomorrow evening Wednesday April 24 at 6PM for the dress rehearsal…there is no charge and all you have to do is enjoy the play and laugh.  For more information on the play see the previous blog.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Ever Want to Change Your Whole Life?

Becky’s New Car shows what happens to an every day sort of person given the chance to “try” a new life.  She isn't really unhappy about the life she has now, but, like a lot of people, wonders “what if?”.  She gets that chance when a millionaire walks into her car dealership and her life.  This is a funny, fast-paced, and entertaining look at events for Becky and the people around her in the new play at The Edge Center in Bigfork. Becky’s struggles with the situation make her face the realities of her life and decide on her future. Performances are April 25 – 28: Thursday through Saturday at 7PM and Sunday at 2PM.  Price $12 for adults.

Becky Foster is an ordinary person working in a car dealership dreaming about that “what if” question.  Her husband is a hard-working, honest, down-to-earth roofer who loves her dearly…and she loves him.  Pictured above Becky and her husband Joe who have a family, nice house, and all that goes with it.  But still she feels at a dead end when her latest car customer lets her test drive a new life.

Becky Foster played by Greta Drewlow is a forty-something woman in a mid-life crisis. Becky works for a car dealership.

Joe Foster played by Archie Wass is a forty-something roofer, who is a good husband that means well but is settled in his ways.

Chris Foster played Elliot Wolfson is Becky and Joe’s mid-twenties son who is a psychology student and lives in their basement.

Walter Flood, played by John Hanson, is a wealthy businessman.  He is in his late 50’s, widowed, and looking for a second relationship.

Kenni Flood played by Linette Schwartz is Walters’s mid-20’s daughter.  She is a bit on the spoiled side.

Steve, played by Tom Boland, is a widowed, 50ish car salesman who works with Becky.  He wants a better job at the dealership.

Ginger, played by Valerie Sobrack, is Walter’s unmarried neighbor.

Steven Dietz, above, wrote the play as a birthday present for a friend’s theater-going wife. The friend is Charles Staadecker, and his “present” was a hit for his wife and the public too.  They have seen the play over 100 times around the country and are challenging organizations to follow suit and commission plays.

Becky's New Car had its world premiere on October 23, 2008 in Seattle and has kept audiences laughing ever since.  It won a Steinberg/American Theatre Critics New American Play Award for a play that opened out side of New York.  Dietz placed eighth on the Top Ten Most Produced Playwrights in America.

Photo by Andrew Walts

Charlie and Benita Staadecker Created a lasting arts legacy with this play.  As Charlie says “You can choose to buy a new car, or throw a big anniversary party, or pay for a legacy work of art. What footprints do you leave in the sand?”

In a letter from Charlie to The Edge Center, he said, “we had no idea at the time what a journey we would take...and to date we have seen the play over 115 times in 27 cities…each production having their own interpretive feel.”

“Blessed with a hit, we became evangelical about commissioning (plays)...and am happy to report 20 new plays are currently underway, funded using the Becky model.  And amazing at it is, the great professor emeritus Oscar Brockett in his 10th edition "Play Anthology" a textbook used by theatre and drama majors across the country included Becky's New Car; so Deitz is now alongside Moliere, TS Elliot, Oscar Wilde etc.....”

“We are so very pleased you (The Edge Center) selected’s a story that will not only laughing throughout the performance, but has enough gravitas to be a story that universally resonates.”

In answer to a couple of questions about the play, Patricia Feld, Artistic Director of The Edge Center, says, "It was really time to do a comedy in town, and I went looking for scripts that were first funny, but weren't sophomoric, dated, or had all male roles.  Then finding Becky’s New Car, I fulfilled those requirements, plus added a new genre for the Edge, a modern comedy of manners, aka farce.”
Why is this play a good fit for The Edge?  "It's probably such a popular community theatre piece because it's so funny, has a small (7 member cast), and simple set requirements.  But I have to wonder how well theatres are performing its fast-paced, running all over the theatre, frantic timing.”

 Will The Edge ever commission a play "I do believe that arts organizations owe a debt to past artists by commissioning new works for future generations, but the Edge has yet to find the funding to commission any new plays."

What should the audiences look for? “A challenging production that requires fast entrances, exits, costume changes, and well-timed laugh lines.  It’s a smart comedy whose characters are pretty well rounded, and they’re all really ‘nice’ people, one of whom makes a bad choice, tries to live with it, and does some growing.  We have a new stage set-up that’s fun…and look out for the leaky roof.”

Come and see the newest play at the Edge and find out what Becky decides for the “rest” of her life and what Patty means by the leaky roof.

Monday, April 1, 2013

"You give me a real warm feeling like a potbellied stove on a frosty morning."

What a charmer… this is from “PILLOW TALK”…the last Classic Movie in Bigfork this season, ranked 5th in gross earnings in 1959, was nominated for four Oscars, won an Oscar, and in 2009 added to the National Film Registry.  A period review said it was “…one of the most lively and up-to-date comedy-romances of the year.”  With a cast including Rock Hudson, Doris Day, Tony Randall and Thelma Ray,  “Pillow Talk” is now a popular classic.  Come to The Edge Center April 11th, enjoy this light-hearted movie, and leave smiling.

Learn the “story behind the story” of  “Pillow Talk” along with a cartoon from the same year on Thursday at 6:30PM. The free movie presentation by the Classic Movie Series and treats matched to the movie will include a background presentation by Jack Nachbar.

In  “Pillow Talk” two people sharing a phone line, one a cad, who sings the same song with different names to different women he is trying to woe, and the other, a beautiful lady who hears the scheme and becomes disgusted with his antics.  Then things get complicated.

The pretty lady is Doris Day.  Today she is living in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California and professionally is known for both her acting and singing career.  Born in 1924 as Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff; she will turn 90 next year.  She started singing for big bands in 1939 and her first starring film role was in “Romance on the High Seas” in 1948. She appeared in 39 films, and, as a box office star, ranked number one for three years, in the top 10 for ten years and currently sixth all-time (male and female). She made her last film in 1968, “With six you get egg rolls.”

For another part of her professional career, Doris recorded 640 songs, released 29 albums, with songs spending 460 weeks in the top 40 charts. Her singing popularity began right after her first hit recording, "Sentimental Journey", in 1945. She also had an impressive television with her own show:  “The Doris Day Show” for five seasons.

The handsome cad in “Pillow Talk” is Rock Hudson.  At six feet four inches, Roy Harold Scherer, Jr. was an imposing handsome character even before his stage name of Rock Hudson.  Born in 1925 and died in 1985, he became a well-known leading man in American films of the 1950s and 60s.  He starred with Doris Day in three movies: “Pillow Talk, “Send Me No Flowers” and “Lover Come Back.”  He was also recognized for his dramatic acting side in films like “Giant” (Oscar Nomination) and Magnificent Obsession.” In later years he had a significant career in television including as a star in “McMillan and Wife” and a reoccurring role in “Dynasty”.

As far as “Pillow Talk” was concerned, Rock Hudson, at that time, did not want the part, until he met Doris Day.  He always credited Doris Day for teaching him “to do comedy.” Hudson was voted titles like “Star of the Year” and “Favorite Leading Man” by numerous movie magazines.  He started in 70 motion pictures in his career that spanned four decades.

Tony Randall plays the best friend of Rock Hudson in “Pillow Talk” providing additional comedic power to the film. Born in 1920 and died in 2004, Tony Randall was an actor, comic, producer and director.  Probably best known for his role as Felix Unger in the television adaptation of Neil Simon's play, “The Odd Couple”.  Tony wanted to be known for more than the fussy half of the Odd Couple and deserved it.  He acted on Broadway, was in radio and on television.  His early fussy role in TVs “Mr. Peepers” was similar to the Felix Unger character.  He was the comic foil to Rock Hudson and Doris Day in all three of their movies doing an excellent job. He also received a Tony award for his dance with ballerina Alexandra Danilova and even played the lead in the musical comedy “Oh Captian” in 1958.  He received an Emmy for his Unger role in 1975. Read more about him at:

Thelma Ritter plays Doris Day’s housekeeper in  “Pillow Talk”. Her character is cynical, feels strongly about how men and women should relate, and drinks.  Thelma was born in 1902 died in 1969 and was best known for her comedic roles as working class characters.  With six Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actress and winning a Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical, she had an excellent career in the movies.  She also was in numerous TV series episodes in the 1950s such as Alfred Hitchcock Presents, general Electric Theater and The United States Steel Hour. Read more about her at:

So, for the last movie of the season, The Edge Center ends up with a funny and entertaining movie: one that should leave you with laughs and more information about the period, the movie making and the stars.  Please join us Thrusday April 11th at 6:30 PM.  And if you need just a little more of a push read the following period review from the New York Times: