LST summer show set to debut Tuesday

By PEGGY FRAZIER

Special to the Journal

MARQUETTE — Lake Superior Theatre presents delightful summer adventures in a unique working boathouse right on Lake Superior in the Lower Harbor, Marquette.

Now presenting its 21st season, LST has established itself as an integral part of our summer fun as it celebrates regional history and culture.

Aug. 13-25, we are thrilled to present the return of the popular “Steel Magnolias” cast directed by (and this time including) Denise Clark. Pulling off a southern-based play can be a bit tricky, but the actresses dishing out “The Dixie Swim Club” are delightful as they share their good times and bad times during the course of their adult lives.

These were five middle-aged southern belles who met in college as members of the swim team and continued their friendship through annual all-girl weekends at a beachfront cottage. The strength of the play is in the characters, and the strength of the characters is dependent on the actresses.

To say these are strong southern women who will get our attention is like the mosquitoes that got our attention in June!

We age with them to the end we all eventually face: old and worn out and scheduled to be replaced. So many of us Yoopers are facing similar situations with our camps — kids are too far away and the maintenance is wearing us all down. There’s nothing as sad as a boarded up beach house, other than its good-time memories being lost to encroaching Alzheimer’s disease.

Thirty-three years later, the good times have all but run out, and at age of 77, these women are running on empty, but they (all but one) are still running, albeit a good deal slower — a situation to which I can relate as I wonder how at 78 the years have flown by so quickly. This is a hilarious and touching comedy about friendships that last forever and that is something to which we can all relate.

Sheree (Jacqueline Love), the spunky team captain, desperately tries to maintain her organized and “perfect” life, and continues to be the group’s leader. Dinah (Denise Clark), the wisecracking overachiever, is a career dynamo. But her victories in the courtroom are in stark contrast to the frustrations of her personal life. Lexie (Monica Nordeen), pampered and outspoken, is determined to hold on to her looks and youth as long as possible. She enjoys being married — over and over and over again. The self-deprecating and acerbic Vernadette (Bridgett Jaakola) is acutely aware of the dark cloud that hovers over her life, has decided to just give in and embrace the chaos. And sweet, eager-to-please Jeri Neal (Faye Elder) experiences a late entry into motherhood that takes them all by surprise.

As their lives unfold and the years pass, these women increasingly rely on one another, through advice and raucous repartee, to get through the challenges (men, sex, marriage, parenting, divorce, aging) that life flings at them. And when fate throws a wrench into one of their lives in the second act, these friends, proving the enduring power of “teamwork,” rally ’round their own with the strength and love that takes this comedy in a poignant and surprising direction.

As Director Denise Clark tell us: “Two years ago, I had the great fortune to gather and direct a magnificent cast that performed the play ‘Steel Magnolias’ at the boat house. It was a lovely experience and a successful endeavor for everyone involved. My friend, Jacqueline Love suggested that we pursue another southern drama, which she frames as ‘Same Time Next Year’ meets ‘Steel Magnolias.’ Which, truthfully is apt. Not wanting to have a too recent comparison to our previous show, we waited two years to bring ‘Dixie Swim Club’ to life. Although not as well-known as our previous endeavor, the cast is familiar, with the exception of me as an addition to the previous ensemble and the addition of Faye Elder. This is not so much a director’s event for me, but a true collaboration of a group of phenomenally talented woman that I will ever have the privilege to know and share the stage with.”

Also coming up, Dave Dagenais brings us “Miscast Musical” collaborating with Monica Nordeen and choreography by Eliisa Gladwell in a unique production that runs Aug. 27-30. It’s your Broadway show tunes with a twist, when our performers let their inner selves shine and perform songs that maybe they were not meant to sing or could expect to be cast in. Octaves change, genders switch and fun follows. Fabulous fun featuring songs from some of your favorite actors performing memorable Broadway shows. This will be a Grand Finale to the season with the Mark Aho Financial Group providing a special treat of delectable desserts for us to sip and savor for which we wish to extend our grateful appreciation!

Mark Aho Financial Group and our other sponsors who are honored on our DonOre wall as well as all of our donors are so important to LST — they keep ticket prices affordable for everyone and have a significant impact on the quality of our shows. Thank you for the opportunity we have each summer to present and preserve our past as we seek to make our waterfront a much more animated and economically vital destination.

Come to the boathouse and share these stories. Stories are more than just a way to entertain and they are a way to connect with each other and create a shared human experience. Make memories. Have adventures. Because I guarantee you that when you look back in the years to come you will think about the beauty that took your breath away in a sunrise or sunset, sitting under the summer stars with someone you love, and the family and friends that gave meaning to your life. You will think about the magical moments at LST that touched your heart and made you feel alive.

Join us for shows that will capture your heart and imagination — all at an amazing value. Visit the Berry Events Center for tickets; call 906 227 1032, or book your reserved seat on line directly at tickets.nmu.edu Please note that if you book on line and do an E ticket (print at home or on your mobile device) there are NO additional charges. All shows begin at 7:30 p.m. Limited parking is available at the boat house for disability patrons and if you require disability seating please call us at 906-227-7625 so we can help you to best enjoy the show.

See you at the boathouse!