This is the third musical dinner theater event for Wega Arts at the Gerold. 2013 saw the Gerold transformed into Tommy G’s speakeasy, complete with gangsters, teetotalers and tommy guns. In 2014 Secrets of the Dead involved a body in a wall, séances, ghosts, and the solving of a murder. The mixture of comedy with music, audience involvement and mystery made both shows a great night of entertainment.
This year the production is a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Gerold Opera House, which was built in 1915 by George Gerold, a local farmer. The building has housed dances, movies, dinners, civic events and more. It has served and is serving its community well. From 1915 until talking pictures arrived, the building was mostly a vaudeville house.
This year’s event will celebrate the Vaudeville era. Notes from traveling performers have been found on the back of old scenery that Wega Arts is extremely happy to have. ‘Had a great time! Nice town,’ Signed by the Langston sisters, 1928’…and so on.
Wega Arts, a non-profit formed in 2007, is dedicated to developing new material, entertaining the community, and providing kids with training and the opportunity to participate in every aspect of theater and film. Wega Arts purchased the Gerold Opera House in 2007, and has been renovating it, and presenting concerts, films, plays and musicals ever since.
Villains of Vaudeville will headline Laila Salins, a singer from New York. Laila performs cabaret, theater, concerts and opera in NY and Europe…and in Weyauwega! Laila was here last year, starring as the black widow in Secrets of the Dead. Her mezzo soprano voice brought the old halls of the opera house to ringing life. Also returning is the multitalented Craig Anthony Knitt, who is a filmmaker, a cartoonist/graphics artist, and stand up comedian. Craig is also experienced with improvisational theater. He teaches for the Boys & Girls Club in Green Bay.
The Great Rondini will appear as Harry Houdini, regaling the crowd with magnificent tricks and escapes.
The set was brilliantly designed and executed by Sabrina Loehrke, a recent Weyauwega/Fremont graduate. Her many talents include playing flute, acting, and art. Sabrina is beginning her college career at Lawrence University this fall.
Dinner, which will be served during the show, and will be a French meal presented by Your Guest Chef of the Fox Cities. The desert will be a spectacular event and dramatic enough to match the show.
The show is written, directed and produced by Kathy Fehl and Ian Teal who also manage Wega Arts. They both have an extensive background in theater. They met in New York City where each of them wrote and directed plays, ran theater companies and productions, and in Ian’s case did sketch comedy at Caroline’s, Catch A Rising Star and other clubs.
Other participants include Joe Jones of Iola, an experienced song and dance man, Barb Laedtke and Monica Reeves, Joni Radley at the piano, Suzanne Dyer, Melinda Neuroth, Michael Kepler, Amanda and Ava Loehrke, and others. Some are students from the area, and others are theater people who have participated at the Gerold before.
The stage manager, Abby Wigglesworth, will be assisted by Alex Bartel. They will also be characters in the show. After all, the show is a vaudeville show with some back stage intrigue!
Please buy tickets early (by October 23rd). You can buy reserved tables of eight, or whatever number of seats you desire. Go to www.wegaarts.org to buy tickets, check out other events, and to get directions.
The Gerold Opera House is a wonderful remnant of days gone by. Celebrate its hundredth birthday with dinner and a show!