Zephyr News Release Aug 2, 2018
Upcoming Zephyr Theatre Performances
“Twelfth Night” Shakespeare in the Park
Dates and Time: Aug. 9-14 nightly at 7:30 p.m.
Location: Bayport Marina, 200 Fifth Ave. S., Bayport, Minnesota
Tickets: $15 at the door or online: stillwaterzephyrtheatre.org
Synopsis: “Twelfth Night” is a play of humorous confusion and love triangles with musical interludes. Viola, shipwrecked and desperate, disguises herself as a man going by the name Cesario, to become employed by Duke Orsino. She ends up falling in love with him. But Orsino is in love with the Countess Olivia, and she, in turn, falls in love with Cesario.
Cast members known regionally:
• Joseph Papke as Duke Orsino (theater credits include The Guthrie, Park Square, Mixed Blood, Penumbra and The Zephyr)
• Randal Berger as Feste (The Ordway, The Fitzgerald, Music Box, Playwright’s Center and The Zephyr)
• Sean Dooley as Malvolio (The Guthrie, Jungle, Mixed Blood, Theatre Latte Da and Children’s Theatre Company)
• Eva Gemlo as Olivia (Park Square, Theatre Coup D’Etat and The Zephyr)
• Charles Fraser as Sir Toby (The Guthrie, Jungle, Theatre de la Jeune Lune, Park Square and The Zephyr)
Performance and events line-up six nights a week
Starting Aug. 7
at The Zephyr Theatre
601 Main St. N., Stillwater, Minnesota:
Tuesdays at 7 p.m., dancing, $10
First and third Tuesdays, swing
Second Tuesdays, ballroom
Fourth Tuesdays, folk
Wednesdays at 7 p.m., comedy and film, $5; free open mics
First Wednesdays, comedy
Second and fourth Wednesdays, film, social hour at 6 p.m.
Third Wednesdays, open mic
“Rear Window” Aug 8
“The Man Who Knew Too Much” Aug 22
“Cinema Paradiso” Sept 12
“La Strada” Sept 26
Thursdays at 7 p.m., live music across genres, free
Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m., live theater, $15
Fridays and Saturdays 9 to 11 p.m., jazz bands and jams, free
Sundays at 7 p.m., singer songwriters, $5
Sundays at 2 p.m., live theater, $15
Occasional literary readings and story telling, free
Next literary reading is Sept. 23.
Theater site rental
The Zephyr Theatre is available for site rental by outside organizations presenting events and performances. For more information, contact Calyssa Hall, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Zephyr Theatre office is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Building Purchase and Construction Plans
$2.5 million Phase I fund raising to purchase building – completed this summer
After 18 months of dogged grassroots fund raising, this summer The Zephyr Theatre purchased the $2.5 million former Zephyr train depot, at 601 Main St. N. in Stillwater, Minnesota. The depot had been vacant seven years but once was a hub for the popular Zephyr dinner and entertainment train. More than 500 individuals and businesses have made theater donations large and small, plus many businesses and professionals have made generous in-kind donations. Donor funds to date have come to about $1 million; the remaining purchase price was met by a commercial mortgage loan from Lake Elmo Bank, which has a Stillwater branch.
$4 million Phase II fund raising – began this summer to build an addition and make renovations, planned for completion in 2020
Auditorium addition; theater of a professional caliber
The theater’s building plans include constructing a 330-seat auditorium onto the north end of the building, and renovating the existing building in the next 12 to 18 months, with the Zephyr presenting its first season of musical and dramatic plays by 2020 in its new home. The new auditorium will feature a proscenium stage, and the rake of the seating will allow unobstructed views for audience members from the first row to the last.
Zephyr Theatre leaders says audiences can expect theater to be produced with directors, actors and tech crews at a professional caliber. In addition to live theater, Zephyr audiences will be offered numerous choices in concerts, film, dance, literary arts and storytelling.
Zephyr Theatre donors receive various levels of public recognition and participation in special Zephyr events, based on their level of giving. The production company is a nonprofit organization and all gifts are tax-deductible. Donations are accepted at www.stillwaterzephyrtheatre.org.
Renovations to existing building:
Phase II funds also will go toward the extensive renovation costs of the existing building, which include the creation of a public bakery cafe in the south end, providing house-made gourmet desserts for theater goers at intermission, and open to the public during the day. Adjacent to the planned bakery cafe space, the building features an elegant, wrap-around, solid wood bar, and a spacious lobby with comfortable seating.
The building will house the Zephyr’s wide array of theater arts classes for children and adults, currently housed in a studio downtown Stillwater. Zephyr leaders are proud to bring theater education to the Stillwater community, noting that research has shown theater experience to improve students’ overall academic achievement, according to the American Alliance for Theatre and Education.
Train car to be converted to snack shop on Brown’s Creek State Trail
One vacant train car remains at the Zephyr site, on the riverside of the building. It will be renovated into a snack shop for pedestrians and bicyclists along the Brown’s Creek State Trail, a section of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. The now six-mile trail was extended in recent years, connecting the Gateway State Trail to downtown Stillwater.
Running between the theater and the St. Croix River, the trail will take walkers and riders across the Stillwater Lift Bridge, which, like a metaphor of the depot-turned-theater, is another Stillwater Main Street landmark remaking itself this year. The depot and the bridge, once structures for people enclosed in vehicles, are both becoming places where people are inspired by the arts of theater and the natural world of the stirring river, respectively.
Widely Known New York City Area Musician and Promoter Joins The Zephyr Theatre
Charles “Chico” Rouse Jr. was hired this summer as the theater’s marketing and programming director. He said he intends “to show people how we can do it small, to convince donors that we can do it big.” New to Stillwater, Rouse visited the theater for a film event, was impressed with its plans and Zephyr leaders, in turn, were impressed with his resume.
Rouse has had a distinguished 50-year career as a professional jazz musician, producer, celebrity musician promoter and music club manager and owner. He worked with the Count Basie and Paramount theaters on the East Coast, and recently relocated to Stillwater with his wife, Maria D’Onofrio, who had lived in this area and loved Stillwater. Rouse has followed the performing paths of his late parents. His father Charles Rouse was a renowned jazz player on the saxophone and flute. His mother Esperanza Rouse was a dancer in the still famous Cotton Club music venue in New York City. They collaborated with many well-known artists such as Thelonious Monk and Lena Horn.
History of The Zephyr Theatre
The theater’s Executive Artistic Director Calyssa Hall, of Afton, Minnesota, was trained in theater at the University of Wisconsin at River Falls. She has been a working theater director and educator since 2012 and in 2013 she founded what is now called Only a Dim Image Productions. Her company has produced plays at venues including the Southern, Ritz and Music Box theaters in Minneapolis, including the classics “Gigi,” “Lady be Good!” and “The Philadelphia Story,” and premieres of “A Season for Vivaldi” and “Jacob’s Ladder.”
She started the search for her company’s own theater house in the St. Croix Valley in 2016. Like a savvy casting director, by the end of 2016 she had assembled a nine-member board of trustees, a 13-member advisory board of artists, and secured a purchase agreement to buy the Zephyr Depot. Thus the company began doing business as The Zephyr Theatre. Since then Hall has gathered more than 100 fund raising “stage hands” and other volunteers.
The vision of a new Stillwater theater originated with the efforts of well-known and beloved Stillwater community arts activist Norman Steere. He recruited performing arts advocates who campaigned for a Stillwater theater the past two decades. Steere died in 2016 at age 89; the community then embraced Hall and her team as its new torch bearers.
Since 2016, The Zephyr Theatre has produced numerous performances in Stillwater including “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in local parks in the summer of 2017, and children’s plays including “The Lion King Jr.” and “Mulan” at Stillwater Area High School’s auditorium, all attracting large audiences. While it was leasing the Depot site, the theater company also has hosted and produced many concerts, films, literary readings, dance performances and community events.
Quotes from Supporters
Zephyr Theatre donors
“From learning about this theater project, our family anticipates something spectacular in the old Zephyr Depot. The theater really makes sense to support,” said Brock Ehnert of Stillwater, a Zephyr Theatre donor, who serves on the city’s River Market Community Co-op board of directors. “It fits the space well and correlates with downtown Stillwater’s vision, and people in this area who love art, history and entertainment. The Zephyr Theatre’s creativity and talent will likely gain regional and national attention, bound to become a must-stop destination while visiting the St. Croix Valley.”
“The Zephyr Theatre holds a lot of history, and as a theater it will bring both history and modern times alive through theater, music, dance and the building itself,” said Louise Watson of Stillwater, an arts enthusiast and environmental champion, leading the nonprofit Sustainable Stillwater. She and her husband Bob Floyd are among Zephyr donors.
“The Zephyr Theatre is a great addition to downtown Stillwater. I love our community and I love live theater!” said Erica Oesterreich, who, with her husband Pete, are also on the Zephyr’s long donor roster.
Quote from a board member
“As a member of the board of trustees for The Zephyr Theatre who has been watching its development from the start, I see this performing arts center providing the greater community a place where both friends and strangers become connected and leveled as witnesses to the artistic interpretation of life’s stories,” said Elissa Cottle. “This is possible in a space The Zephyr Theatre renders intimate, surprising, funny and tragic, through speech, song, fabric, and moving parts human and created by human hands.”