By Kristen Miller
Howard Lake native and professional actor Luverne Seifert is coming home to provide audiences with what he promises will be a nostalgic evening of entertainment at the Blue Note Ballroom in Winsted Saturday, July 25.
The production of “Hoopla Train with Yardmaster Yip and His Polkastra” is a family-friendly Vaudeville-style variety show that is part of a 14-city tour bringing professional theater to rural Minnesota, and is supported by a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. The show is being performed in historic ballrooms across the state
Seifert, whose acting roots began in Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted Schools, has performed on a number of stages, such as Off-Broadway, The Guthrie Theater, and The Children’s Theater Company.
The 1979 HLWW graduate credited his theater teacher, Dave Metcalf, saying he is “one of the handful of people responsible for me being the artist that I am today.”
Currently living in St. Anthony Village in Minneapolis, Seifert and his wife, Darcy Engen created the Sod House Theater company five years ago in an effort to bring professional theatre to greater Minnesota and “perform in venues that are important to the historical narrative of the community,” he explained.
The company’s first tour, for example, was all performed in historic mansions throughout the state, including the Dayton house in Worthington. The show, “Cherry Orchard” was to show the challenges communities were facing at that time, and centered around a family who was losing their home to foreclosure.
“Hoopla Train with Yardmaster Yip and His Polkastra” is expected to “bring back ghosts of the past,” Seifert said, as it’s performed in historic ballrooms, complete with upbeat polkas and waltzes, accompanied by The Chmielew-ski Funtime Band.
Now primarily used for wedding receptions, these historic ballrooms were once venues for popular touring groups, Seifert said, making reference to Minnesota having more ballrooms per capita than any other state.
Upon visiting the Blue Note Ballroom, Seifert began to recall his own fond memories watching bands like the Johnny Holm Band perform. “I remember going over there on a Saturday night and having a great time with friends,” Seifert noted.
Some of the other ballrooms the show is scheduled to perform at are Kato Ballroom in Mankato, the PlaMor Ballroom in Glencoe (Aug. 6-7), and Falls Ballroom in Little Falls.
“Hoopla Train with Yardmaster Yip and His Polkastra” is not a theatre performance, however, Seifert noted. It’s a ‘70s variety show with music, dancing, and comedic skits. Local talents will also be added to the show, Seifert said, including a group from HLWW. Seifert’s brother, Dan Ness will also make a guest appearance on the ukelele.
“It’s a very fun show,” Seifert said, adding that it will be a very relaxed environment with food and drinks available to purchase.
To set the stage, Seifert explained that the show is about a group of performers who come together once again to perform in front of a live audience. “The acts are polished and very good, but they sometimes forget how it goes,” he said, adding that’s where the comedy plays in. Seifert will perform the role of Grandpa.
The show will be performed at the Blue Note Ballroom at 7 p.m. with 200 general admission tickets available for purchase either in advance or at the door - $10 for seniors (62 and older) and children (17 and under; and $15 for adults.
Advanced tickets can be purchased at BrownPaperTickets.com or at the Blue Note. For more information, call (612) 414-2032.