Tracker Pixel for Entry

​Time and talent Straw Hat Players plot another summer of eclectic offerings

by Jack Dura | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Theatre | May 27th, 2015

Kate Aarness and Kit Asfeldt in

Time and talent Straw Hat Players plot another summer of eclectic offerings

Craig Ellingson knows this summer will be a great one.

The Minnesota State University Moorhead theater director has his hands full with the Straw Hat Players this May and June, and despite several changes that are in the air, he asserts the summer theater students won’t miss a beat.

“It’s going to be a challenging summer for some of our shows,” Ellingson said. “We have a bunch of new people, which is really quite exciting. I think (this season) is going to be a delightful mix of some new faces and old favorites.”

With a shorter season owing to sharing venue space with the Gooseberry Park Players, the Straw Hat Players have four shows lined up. Debuting a new production every Tuesday in June, their summer will see a little bit of everything.

“There’s some great music and costumes and scenery and all that goes along with summer theater,” Ellingson said.

Some Enchanted Evening

With rehearsals off like a shot on May 18, the Straw Hat Players’ first show, “Some Enchanted Evening,” debuts June 2.

The musical revue rounds up a pair of musical theater composers known far and wide.

“It is filled with all the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein pieces you can think of,” Ellingson said, adding that two baby grand pianos will be brought in for the performance.

MSUM music faculty Erynn Millard steps in to perform, as well as Angie Schulz of Music Theatre Fargo-Moorhead.

Twenty-five Straw Hat Players join them onstage for the show, which begins the company’s 52nd season.

Cody Gerszewski as William Barfee in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee / Photo by Carina DuMarce

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

One week after the first production, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” takes the stage.

“It is a newer piece,” Ellingson said of the musical comedy, “and it is very, very funny.”

Six prepubescents vie for top honors in a spelling bee headed by three dubious adults.

“‘Spelling Bee’ is quirky and imaginative,” Ellingson said.

The Good Doctor

The hand of Neil Simon makes an appearance in the Straw Hatters’ season on June 16 with the playwright’s “The Good Doctor.”

This comedy with music “is an ode to Anton Chekhov as seen through the eyes of Neil Simon,” Ellingon said, adding that numerous vignettes studded with comic relief help drive the show.

“Neil Simon is a good summer standard.”


The only Straw Hat production with six dates rather than four is “Cats,” the Broadway musical based on T. S. Eliot’s “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.”

While Ellingson knows the company can pull off a show as large as “Cats,” the time it takes to make the show happen could be a bit of a challenge, especially with three other productions going on as well.

But he is stoic.

“We think we have the student body and talent to present these.”

Season 52

A fixture of summer since the 1960s, Straw Hat Theatre has cemented itself as a staple in the season’s entertainment in the area.

The company’s longevity “proves we are definitely one of the major summer institutions in Fargo-Moorhead,” Ellingson said.

With family-friendly themes and the addition of hearing impaired shows on Thursday nights, the Straw Hat Players have made their performance accessible to all audiences.

With that, however, tickets are going fast.

“I encourage everyone to buy early rather than later,” Ellingon said.


MSUM’s Straw Hat Players Four shows

June 2-27 

Gaede Stage and Hansen Theatre 

Call 218-477-2271 for tickets 

Recently in:

FARGO – The day Tiffany Abentroth stood up before a thousand and more Trump-loving Republicans, she knew the GOP blessing was not within reach. She wasn’t even nervous about it. Still a Marine Corps staff sergeant, she squared…

Last week we talked about my lack of photographic skills and then what the heck am I going to do with all of these bad pictures that I take. Storage options for those pictures continues this week:RAIDAnother storage option is a…

Wednesday, April 25, 9pm-howlingThe Aquarium, 226 Broadway, FargoYou may have heard their sick beats on 95.9 lpfm on Friday's from 5pm-midnight. Now you can dance your pants off in the presence of the minds behind ”The Riverside…

According to Greek mythology Hades is to blame for the Earth’s mournful state of winter. The story involves Persephone the goddess of nature and Hades the god of the underworld in a classic caper of obsession, abduction, and…

Does That Old-Time Religion Signal The End Of Rational Thought?An incident about gender identity in the Maryland Legislature last week magnified a microcosm of what we are going through in the United States about religion in the…

FARGO - A collection of memories from High Plains Reader's annual Cocktail Showdown. Participants were judged on creativity, flavor, and presentation; and this year we added a new category. Like years before, each establishment was…

All About Food


by HPR Staff

By Ben Myhrebenmyhre35@gmail.comAs a North Dakota native, raw oysters are just not a food staple that I think about. We are about as far from the coasts as we can get and we have a backyard full of tasty local cuisine, like walleye…

Record Store Day is all about music artists and fans celebrating “the culture of the independently owned record store.” A variety of unique and special releases are pressed for Record Store Day and those are only distributed to…

Leveraging whatever name-brand clout it might carry with the target demographic, “Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare” -- the onscreen title for the pre and post-credit sequences -- won’t make the kind of impact previously enjoyed by…

There are so many cool places to be in Austin during the South by Southwest Festival -- like the Flatstock Market, which displays the works of the world’s top gig poster artists. The show features posters of varying styles,…

By Nathan Roybardsdream@gmail.comYou are absolutely right. The title is not “To be or not to be” from the famous Shakespeare soliloquy in "Hamlet." I won’t be talking about Shakespeare particularly. I will expound the…

Fargo has its share of people who are passionate about stand-up comedy, even if the success of clubs devoted to it has been mixed. Despite the fact we have seen places like Courtney’s Comedy Club and Level 2 Comedy Club close…

I consider myself an avid wine drinker, but I recently found out there are more than 10,000 varieties of grapes, and about 1,500 of those are used to make commercial wines. I don’t know about you, but I could probably name about…

A few months ago, I was introduced to the concept of probiotics and how they work with our bodies. I would never have guessed the change that occurred after their introduction into my system.I always considered myself a fairly…

By Melissa Martin “I’m sorry” are two vital words to be used in relationships because human beings are imperfect people living in imperfect environments. Ask yourself the following…

Calm was the day in late JulyAnd bright was the sun across the skyBut inside his chest the calm had brokenGovernor Sinner had started croakin’.I laughed the first time I read that, and I’m still laughing every time I think…