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Entertainment abounds

July 14, 2010
By Ted Rowe

No one in our part of the world should complain that there is nothing to do, and yes, I mean even within the county or surrounding counties. If anything, this past weekend was overloaded. There were the usual summer sports from organized to pick-up games.

There was swimming, tennis, and what may be Minnesota's favorite: golf. Probably the biggest attraction was SkyFest the airshow with lots of extras. On Saturday morning they even had a ground event with dedication and riding on two bike rides, one on each of two sections of the recently revamped bike path.

Then everybody loves a parade and Cottonwood came through with one with lots of fire engines and lots of candy and lots of politicians. Parades are always better in the even years when they are sure to attract several candidates running for office. The gun and cannon fire at the beginning of the parade behind the color guard was enough to frighten some of the very young with the loud noise. And the ending was classic with a few horses - now why do they always put the horses at the end? Silly question.


But there was one event that was GREAT! yet had a fairly small, but nevertheless appreciative audience. And the fortunate thing is that the event will be repeated this week so that those who missed it last week will get their chance to experience it. The event? "Hello Dolly!" at the Schwan Performing Arts Center.

I must confess that I do love Broadway musicals and there is no doubt that this one is one of the all-time favorites not just for me, but for lots of folks as evidenced by its continued popularity. It had no fewer than three revivals on Broadway since its original performance in 1964 starring Carol Channing.

Many shows are such that seeing them once is quite sufficient, but musicals like "Hello Dolly!" have a lasting quality. I count myself very fortunate to have seen the show performed live on stage in Minneapolis a little more than 30 years ago starring Carol Channing herself. It was thrilling to be seated in the third row for that. I remember one of the dance scenes when the waiters at the Harmonia Gardens performing the lead song leapt across the orchestra pit to the walkway at the front of the stage - I was pleasantly surprised that they did not land in my lap.

I had also been privileged to have seen the play performed several years before that on the stage in Cleveland, Ohio, starring Mary Martin as Dolly. And is there someone out there who has never seen the movie (1969) starring Barbra Streisand and Walter Matthau?

Professional talent is different than "amateur" talent, but the play, acting, music, and dance of this excellently produced local show is pure enjoyment.


Though seeing Mary Martin in person in "Hello Dolly!," her fame came earlier on Broadway as the star of "South Pacific" (1949) playing Nellie Forbush, which she introduced with Ezio Pinza or as the star Maria in The "Sound of Music" (1959) which she also introduced on Broadway. Just as Carol Channing did not get the lead in the movie for "Hello Dolly!," that position going to Barbra Streisand as mentioned, Mary Martin was supplanted from "The Sound of Music" movie by Julie Andrews.

Mary Martin also introduced Peter Pan (1954) on stage and when it came time to have that filmed, she also did the movie, which was actually a filming of the play and was shown directly on television - one of the earliest color films of such a production in the early days of color television.

Some of you readers may recall a little more recent production on television, "Dallas" (1980s), that starred Larry Hagman as J. R. Ewing. Hagman also starred earlier on "I Dream of Jeannie" as Major Anthony Nelson opposite Barbara Eden as Jeannie. Interestingly, the "Jeannie" series did its first season (1965-66) in black and white with the five or so seasons afterward being in color.

Now you may ask how I got from visiting about Mary Martin to Larry Hagman? The connection is that Mary Martin in real life was Larry Hagman's mother!


Closely related to entertainment is the nightly news - you can take that statement any way you want. But I do have a suggestion to make to the powers that be. Go back to the 15-minute national (and global) news time and 15 minutes for the local news. Much of the current shows are used up saying what will be coming up in the half-hour. When they say they will talk about something in-depth, it often is nowhere close to being what I would call in-depth. The public might be more willing to listen to the news if it weren't so repetitive and strung out. Then there are the television stations that have local news for the half-hour before the national and then repeat the exact same stores for the half-hour after the national news show.

Until next time: Oh, Fiddlesticks!



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