Monday, August 18, 2014

Lori Kempton Talks About Twin Ports Stage and Its Upcoming Show: Sealed For Freshness

Last week I heard rumors about things happening in Superior, a city that is waking up to once again get on the track toward reaching its full potential. One important feature of any serious community is a vibrant arts culture, which is nicely fermenting here. One of the players in this fermentation is Twin Ports Stage, a non-profit professional theater company. A primary distinction between theater companies and general community theater is that the actors are paid.

In three weeks Twin Ports Stage will be taking to the stage for their first major production, Sealed For Freshness. I spoke with Lori Kempton about their upcoming show.

EN: This is a big step for Twin Ports Stage. What's the grand vision for your production company?

Lori Kempton: While I agree it's a "big step" in terms of time and money, it's really the natural progression that we always intended. It is our inaugural stage production and so for us it is important in that sense. The broader vision and purpose of Twin Ports Stage encompasses a lot of different aspects. We intend to build a multi-purpose art facility that provides a much needed stage for our community and fellow artists. We intend to give voice to original material by regional/national writers and musicians and provide gallery space to visual artists. Eventually we intend to expand to provide pre/post production facilities for film projects. Our presence in downtown Superior will also serve as an anchor to revitalize the downtown area and provide a much needed impetus to other businesses to occupy Tower Avenue.

EN: Tell us a little bit about this first show. Who wrote it? What's it all about?

LK: It's a fun show about a Tupperware Party gone astray. As the Samuel French description notes: "Sealed for Freshness" is a play by Doug Stone. Directed by Merry Renn Vaughan, this play is set in 1968 during the heyday of Tupperware parties. Hostess Bonnie invites a group of neighbors over for a party. The guest list: perky, rich Jean, Jean's cranky and very pregnant sister Sinclair, ditzy-blonde Tracy Ann, and new neighbor Diane, who's made quite a career selling Tupperware, but at the expense of her marriage. The mix of personalities and the number of martinis consumed lead to a great deal of absurd high jinks plus revelations of an equal number of secrets and insecurities.

EN: When and where is it playing? Where can people buy tickets?

LK: The show is playing at the Manion Theater in Holden Fine Arts on the UWS Campus September 4 -14. Tickets can be purchased electronically at brownpapertickets or at the door at each performance. Ironically Twin Ports Stage, a project of the John D. Munsell Legacy Fund, is doing their first stage production on the stage that John D. Munsell loved, Returning to Manion Theater is a homecoming for many of the UWS Alumni featured in the show as well as our director Merry Renn Vaughan.

Cathy Podeszwa as BONNIE KAPICA
Victoria Main as JEAN PAWLICKI (alum)
Bridget Ideker as TRACY ANN McCLAIN
Sharon Dixon Obst as SINCLAIR BENEVENTE (alum)
Cheryl Zupec as DIANE WHETTLAUFER (alum)

EN: Why is it important for Superior to have its own playhouse?

LK: Superior currently has no public performance space. The community desperately needs a space dedicated to the performing and visual arts. In addition, there are also local theatre companies, touring companies and a number of area events -- such as the Duluth/Superior Film Festival -- that could utilize the space. We feel the our presence in downtown Superior will also serve as an anchor to revitalize the downtown area and provide a much needed impetus to other businesses to occupy Tower Avenue.

EdNote: If you’d like to keep up with everything else Twin Ports Stage is doing, go to their Facebook page and “like” them. And maybe I'll see you at the show.

Oh, and one more thing, if you don't have any plans tomorrow night, you might enjoy checking out Episodes 7 & 8 of of the Twin Ports Stage live radio theater program "Twin Ports." 

That is, only if you're not already planning to attend Amy Lynn's book release party at the Prove. The book is titled, Remnants of the Disappeared.

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