December 9, 2010 at 2:27 p.m.
Wildcat drum major producing a play

He thought he was going to be a musician but discovered theatre is where he belongs

He thought he was going to be a musician but discovered theatre is where he belongs
He thought he was going to be a musician but discovered theatre is where he belongs

You don't really need a reason to take in a Centennial Showboat theatre performance. As a scenic destination it makes a nice day trip from here to Harriet Island in St. Paul. But, if you've never ventured there in the winter, now's a good time to go and support a local high school grad who just might have "his name in lights" someday.

Chisago Lakes Area High School alum Adam Ehret is producing "The Match Girl's Gift" now playing aboard the historic paddlewheeler at Harriet Island.

Ehret is gainfully employed as a stage manager at two professional theatres, so with that practical experience under his belt, he psyched himself to take the leap to producing a show of his own.

Ehret says it took a couple of years to nail artistic rights (he originally wanted to stage 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' but the Peanuts character images are closely guarded.) He bought rights to "The Match Girl's Gift," adapted for stage by Laurie Brooks, and auditioned actors in September, worked like a fiend with director Kristin Kenning and opened the show November 27.

"The Match Girl's Gift" runs just six quick weekends (Thursdays-Sundays), closing January 3. The upcoming winter-break from school would be a great time to attend a matinee and share a unique experience with a young person in your life.

Ehret hopes to make holiday theatre a new tradition aboard the Centennial Showboat; which is hoppin' with music and public and private events in warm weather months, but after the leaves fall, Ehret said life on the river slows considerably.

The "intimate space" of the showboat theatre lends itself perfectly to his "old-timey" rendition, based on the story by Hans Christian Andersen.

Theatre-goers are treated to what can best be described as a vaudeville style show. The production utilizes "wing and drop scenery" which Ehret also assisted in designing and creating. Live musical interludes smooth the transition as sets change. This is a family oriented production that will warm your holiday season inside and out.

Ehret explained that he was active in music programs in high school and was in marching band, but when he got to college he was drawn to the theatre.

He played the tuba in the Wildcats Marching Band serving as drum major his last couple years. (Class of 2001.) In conversation about how he veered from being a career musician into theatre management; he acknowledges that producing is actually a natural manifestation of his willingness to step out and be that lead guy, just like when he was in marching band.

At this point the vibrant Twin Cities theatre scene is satisfying, but Ehret admits that one day he wants to be responsible for a national touring production. And, if that doesn't work out he'll probably be able to pick up some hours at his high school workplace, Lindstrom Foods.

*****

For directions or tickets see www.riverrides.com or call 651-227-1100. The showtimes are 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday through January 2-- except Christmas Day, Dec. 25.

Thursday and Friday shows are at 8 p.m. (no New Year's Eve show.)

Sunday, December 26 there's also a 5 p.m. performance (as well as the 2 p.m. matinee.)

Saturday, January 1, New Year's Day performances are at 2 and 8 p.m.


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