2008 DC grad takes a seat in the director’s chair
By Kristen Miller
DASSEL, COKATO, MN Rehearsals are underway for the Dassel-Cokato Community Theater’s summer musical production of “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” slated to open in mid-July.
Directing the cast of 29 is 2008 Dassel-Cokato graduate Amanda Imberg. Imberg recently graduated from St. Scholastica-Duluth with a degree in secondary English and a minor in theatre performance.
Imberg was contacted by the community theatre to see if she would be interested in directing this year’s summer musical.
“It’s definitely something I was interested in and hoping to do someday,” said Imberg, who spent time acting at the high school and college level, as well as in community theater.
For Imberg, “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” was one of those childhood favorites, rating right up there with Disney, she said.
As a girl, Imberg remembers she and her sisters would put dresses on and sing all of the classic songs from the production.
Many people she has talked to also remember growing up with the film-turned-theatre production and fell in love with the cast, that included Howard Keel and Jane Powell.
In 1997, “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” was performed by students for the high school fall musical in Howard Lake, when the two schools had combined theatre programs.
For those less familiar with the story line, it is set in Oregon in the 1850s.
Millie, a young bride living in the wilderness, has a plan to civilize and marry off her six rowdy brothers-in-law.
Her plan backfires, however, when, in the brothers’ enthusiasm, they kidnap six women from a neighboring town to be their brides.
The story works off the story of the Sabine women in the Old Testament, and finds inspiration in one of the songs, Imberg explained.
Though kidnapping may sound grim, Imberg said it’s so good-natured and fun-spirited that the audience ends up cheering the men on.
“I think the show has a little bit of everything,” Imberg said.
The audience can anticipate dancing, backwoods brawls, and a little romantic comedy.
“Overall, the story line is just a riot,” she said. “I think people will really enjoy seeing the show.”
In addition to acting, Imberg has worked with stage management, on tech and sound crews, and directing at the collegiate level.
Directing her first community theatre production brings excitement and challenges, both of which, she said, go hand-in-hand.
The first challenge has been working on a short timeline, she said. Usually, there are eight weeks to work on productions. This one, however, due to the timing of the last day of school and coordinating with cast members’ conflicts, there has been only six weeks to work with, which has been difficult, Imberg noted.
The cast seems to be coming together, she said, and the production is right on schedule.
Audience members can anticipate a good mixture of performers, both veteran and new, according to Imberg.
The story line also adds some interesting elements as far as technical aspects, including staging an avalanche.
There is also elaborate dance numbers to choreograph and a full-out brawl to coordinate, which can become a bit tricky, Imberg commented.
Imberg said she feels lucky though, to have such a great crew, from the choreographer and to the tech crew.
The crew includes Deb Moen as production assistant, Stephen Hansen as lighting and sound technician, Deaveny Beaton as vocal director, Brian Veith as instrumental director, Rita Allen as choreographer, and Dan Kyllonen as set designer.
“It’s really a fabulous group of people we are working with,” she said.
Watch for Spotlight on the Performers in future editions of the Enterprise Dispatch.
Four opportunities to catch the show
There will be four performances of “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” on two separate weekends.
Dates are Thursday, July 19 and Friday, July 20 at 7:30 p.m., as well as, Saturday, July 28 at 7:30 p.m. and a matinee Sunday, July 29 at 2 p.m.
Tickets are $15 for adults and $7 for youth, and can be purchased online at www.dc.k12.mn.us/pac or through the Community Education, (320) 286-4120.