PEQUOT LAKES -- The Pequot Lakes performing arts season promises a wide variety of entertainment options, including visits by two of Minnesota's premiere theatrical companies.
The season opens Oct. 12 with a touring production by the Children's Theatre Co. and ends in early April with another by the Guthrie Theater.
Both Minneapolis-based theater companies are among the best the state has to offer.
In between their appearances, the season moves along with two community theater stage productions, a pair of concerts featuring professional acts, and the traditional "Christmas Toys for Children" carol sing-a-long during the holidays.
The Greater Lakes Area Performing Arts 2002-2003 season will close with "The Stuff of Dreams" touring production by the Guthrie Theater of Minneapolis.
The 2002-2003 season marks the 15th year that Greater Lakes Area Performing Arts and Pequot Lakes Community Education have collaborated in hosting the performing arts series for area audiences, said a Community Education spokesman.
"It's one of the oldest theater arts programs in the state of Minnesota," said Richard "Dick" Mark of Community Education, which acts as fiscal agent for the area arts group.
"What is most interesting is that I'm getting calls for tickets from people who live in other areas," Mark said in an interview this week. "People like to come to the lakes area when they can catch one of our shows."
Although Community Education underwrites the cost of the season's schedule, expenses are covered through ticket sales, private donations and arts-related grants, he said.
Mark's office, however, provides in-kind staff support to Greater Lakes Area Performing Arts for administrative and promotional services.
In addition, the season's productions are held in the Pequot Lakes High School auditorium free of charge, Mark said.
Season tickets -- at $60 for adults, $55 for seniors -- have been available for the past several weeks. Call (218) 568-9200 for order forms. The public may also purchase a "mini-season" ticket for less, which allows admission to four of the scheduled events.
In the meantime, the community theater troupe has been auditioning the cast for its fall production of "Lucky Stiff," a musical that runs Oct. 25-27 and Nov. 1-3.
The group's spring production -- scheduled Feb. 28, March 1-2 and 7-9 -- is the ever-popular "Mister Roberts."
The professional musical acts booked for the season include Company B, a female trio that beckons the Andrews Sisters' boogie-woogie sound, and jazz pianist Butch Thompson.
Company B, which hails from northern Minnesota, will appear Dec. 14, with Thompson scheduled Feb. 8. Thompson, a longtime fixture on public radio's "Prairie Home Companion," hosts a popular weekly jazz radio show in the Twin Cities when he's not on stage.
This year's "Christmas Toys for Children" show -- which features sing-a-long caroling with many area performers -- is scheduled Dec. 8.
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