MSU Summer Theatre’s season starts June 13

Submitted Photo The cast of “Something Rotten” is shown on stage during the past season.

If smiling is your favorite, Minot State’s Summer Theatre Season 58 delivers with a full schedule of performances.

“We are happy to welcome back our audiences to a night up on the hill under the stars,” said Chad Gifford, MSU Summer Theatre artistic director. “We have a lineup of shows that have never been done here before and a mix of community members that you know and love up on the stage once again. Thanks to the addition of a sprinkler system, the green hills will look more alive than ever before.”

The season will showcase “Jimmy Buffet’s Escape to Margaritaville!,” “Doctor Dolittle,” “Calendar Girls” and “Elf the Musical.”

Kicking off the season is “Jimmy Buffet’s Escape to Margaritaville!” running nightly Tuesday, June 13, through Sunday, June 18. Directed by Gifford, the musical features original songs and some of Buffet’s best-known classics, including “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere,” “Fins,” “Volcano” and “Cheeseburger in Paradise.”

“We are starting our summer with a show that’s aimed at our adult members more than anything,” Gifford said. “‘Escape to Margaritaville’ ties together several Jimmy Buffet songs into a concert-like musical experience that will be tons of fun in the sun. You might even be invited to sing along if you know the words. It’ll rock and roll you into a good time!”

The second performance of the season, family friendly “Doctor Dolittle,” tells the tale of a wacky and kind doctor who can talk to animals and will take to the stage Friday, June 23, through Monday, June 26, and again from Wednesday, June 28, to Saturday, July 1.

“Calendar Girls” will be on the Josh Duhamel Stage Monday, July 10, through Friday, July 14. Based on the true story of 11 older women who pose for a calendar to raise money for the Leukemia Research Fund, this show has a PG-13 rating.

Rounding out Season 58 is “Elf the Musical.” Running from Monday, July 24, through Friday, July 28, and again from Sunday, July 30, to Tuesday, Aug. 1, the performance based off the beloved holiday movie will end the summer on a high note.

“We have a couple great family shows in the lineup this summer with ‘Doctor Dolittle’ and ‘Elf the Musical,'” said Gifford. “Talking animals and Christmas in July should make a fantastic experience for the whole family. Come eat popcorn, drink a root beer float, and enjoy a night up on the hill.

“You should also come see ‘Calendar Girls,” the only show that isn’t a musical this summer, but instead is based on a true story of some retired women who decide to make a fundraiser in quite the eyebrow-raising way. You’ll have to see it to believe it!” he added.

Doors open for all performances at 7:30 p.m., with showtimes at 8:30 p.m.

Tickets go on sale Thursday, June 1, at 9 a.m. and can be purchased online at MSUSummerTheatre.universitytickets.com or by calling the box office at 858-3228.

Tickets are $8 for children 12 and younger; $11 for seniors, high school students, active military, and Minot State faculty, staff, and summer school students with a current MSU ID; and $16 for adults. Deluxe seating is also available for $25-$35 and includes access to the Hook & Ladder Wine Bar.

The Minot State University Amphitheater has been the home of the Summer Theatre Company since 1971 and has undergone an overall $2.8 million renovation the past two summers, including a brand-new plaza, updated bathrooms, enhanced accessibility and lower-level concessions.

New in 2023 is the updated Kevin Neuharth Green Room, named after the longtime Minot State professor.

“We are excited that the actors in the shows will get to relax backstage in the Kevin R. Neuharth Green Room, complete with comfortable seating and air conditioning,” Gifford said. “The new heart of Summer Theatre will keep our actors fresh and ready to blow your socks off.”

Finishing touches to the amphitheater will take place during the summer with a canopy covering the stage in time for the current season, a marquee sign installed later in the summer and an updated wheelchair lift after the season.

“Audiences will be amazed when they see the new canopy over the stage,” Gifford said. “Not only will it protect the performers from the elements — which will allow the shows to go on more frequently after it rains — but it allows us to provide new lighting in multiple ways to enhance the performance.”


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