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New theater company to open in Brainerd

Web posted July 1, 2014
By Kate Perkins

This winter a new theater company will bring live productions to the Brainerd stage, providing affordable, accessible theater to the community.

Stage North Theater Company will debut with “A Christmas Carol” this holiday season, following it up with a 2015 lineup of productions including “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Wait Until Dark.” Ticket prices are set at an affordable $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12.

Stage North will make its home in the Franklin Arts Center Auditorium. The theater company has invested heavily into the space, and all of Stage North’s shows will feature the stunning  sets, lighting and music the public has come to expect from other local venues, plus more.

Gary Hirsch, of Pequot Lakes, and Kevin Yeager, of Brainerd, are cofounding Stage North, adding to Brainerd’s lively arts scene. Hirsch, a former English teacher in Mora, Minnesota, is active in community theater in Pequot Lakes and at Central Lakes College (CLC). With a bachelor’s degree in theater, he’s served as Drama Director for more than 100 shows, also acting in many.

Yeager, a home designer in Brainerd, has acted in more than 20 local plays since 2008. He was recently Bill Sykes in Pequot Lakes Community Theater’s “Oliver” and was Otto Frank in “The Diary of Anne Frank” at CLC. He’s also performed technical and management positions for numerous productions, and has made acting appearances in Brainerd, Pequot Lakes and Minneapolis.

Stage North, in addition to producing family-friendly plays and musicals, will host a series of darker productions known as “Stage North After Dark.” The plays will be held at the Brainerd High School small theater and feature smaller, more intimate shows with darker action and entertainment for mature audiences. The first play on that lineup is “Wait Until Dark,” which will debut in October 2015.

Casting for “A Christmas Carol” will take place early this October. Hirsch said this family-friendly Christmas classic will provide the community with an affordable, high-quality holiday production. More information is available on the Stage North website, www.stagenorththeater.com.

Hirsch said the motivation to start a new area theater company came from a desire to bring more great theater to the area.

“We enjoy working hard to come up with a good product,” Hirsch said. “We want these to be so good. We want to blow people away with the value of good theater.”

For more information on Stage North Theater Company, visit the company’s website or call 218-232-6810.

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