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:

AMHERST, SOUTH DAKOTA – Four days before TransCanada anticipated obtaining permits for the Keystone XL project, the company’s older pipeline leaked, spilling more than 210,000 gallons of Canadian crude oil into the South Dakota…

The Transgender Day of Remembrance memorializes the trans individuals who have lost their lives due to violence this year. It is a day where we read their names and remember them—not how they died, but how they lived. This is also…

Thursday, November 16, 7-9pmUnglued, 408 Broadway N, FargoProof Artisan Distillers and Unglued present a craft party with four distinct projects and help from artists Ashley from AENDEE and Nicole Rae, not to mention a special…

“The experience of all ages has proved that the people constantly give away their liberties.” - John Adams“Man’s dishonesty with himself is his greatest enemy. When he makes a mistake, his memory admits, ‘I have done…

The thoughts and prayers of politicians will finally be answeredWe have had 307 mass shootings (four kills or more) so far in 2017, including the last one in Sutherland Springs, Texas, where 26 mortals attending church, aged 18…

For the third week in a row, our panel of judges were out on the town with a thirst for cocktails and a focus on presentation, flavor, and creativity. This week’s adventures took us to a couple of hotspots in south Fargo, as the…

Colder weather, changing leaves, pumpkin spice and more are some of the few things that come to mind when many think of fall. But fall is about much more than sugary lattes and scarves, and you can fully indulge in fall flavors at…

I’m told that there is nothing quite like a live Green Jelly show, where anarchy and foam puppets reign. So perhaps it’s in the spirit of the upcoming show that my intended interview with the mastermind and vocalist behind the…

On Tuesday, November 14 at 7pm, the Fargo Theatre hosted a screening of “The Mission of Herman Stern,” a feature-length documentary chronicling the remarkable humanitarian efforts of the North Dakota businessman and founder, in…

Would you like to escape your stressful daily life with a relaxing arts event? Do you like to meet with old friends and make new ones? Or maybe you would like to start your Christmas and Holiday shopping early. FMVA has the event…

Ted Larson introduced me to Chris Jacobs one evening at Weld Hall in the late 1980s. I was in high school then, but Chris recognized fellow film fanatics, and we would chat a little bit each week. I learned quickly that he loved…


​Talking to strangers

by Sabrina Hornung

“I don’t have a tour, like, on the back of a sweatshirt,” comedian Paula Poundstone says. “I go out every weekend. This weekend I went out Friday, Saturday and Monday. Mostly it’s Friday/Saturday or Thursday through…

Believe it or not, “The Holidays” are upon us. If you’ve been to Target lately, and I know you have, you may have noticed that the Christmahanakwanzika stuff is already up (if you’re unsure of that term, Google it).In fact,…

Essential oils. They are all the buzz lately. It seems everyone has heard of them or is purchasing them. Some people know how to use them; others are just interested in the wonder of their complex scents.Essential oils are as…

Live and Learn

​The other shoe

by HPR Contributor

By Elizabeth Nawrotnawrot@mnstate.eduI look up from my hotel lobby breakfast astonished to see a framed print of Wassily Kandinsky's "Mit und Gegen,” a masterpiece of color and composition that just happens to be my favorite…

By Anthony Paul [Editor’s note: This piece contains language that some readers may find offensive]It has been all over social media and the news lately, how our president and commander-in-chief called and spoke with one of these…