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Rock & Roll Christmas show coming to DL

Are you ready to hear the holiday favorite "Little Drummer Boy" performed in the style of the rock classic "Wipeout"?

Does the idea of combining traditional Christmas tunes with the rock stylings of artists like Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin intrigue you?

Then get your tickets now for the "Rock & Roll Christmas Spectacular," which takes the stage at Detroit Lakes' Historic Holmes Theatre on Thursday, Dec. 16 for a 7:30 p.m. show.

The show, which has been delighting audiences in the St. Cloud area for six years now, is the brainchild of musicians Ted Manderfeld and Paul Diethelm.

Manderfeld is one-half of the popular dueling piano duo known as Deuces Wild, while Diethelm is the former guitarist for blues giant Jonny Lang.

Though they knew each other mainly by reputation before teaming up to write the first Christmas Spectacular show in 2005, Manderfeld said each of them quickly saw a kindred spirit in the other.

"A theater owner in St. Cloud asked me if I would put together a rock and roll show, and I said, only if I can do it my way," Manderfeld said.

In other words, he wanted to be a producer as well as a performer -- but he didn't want to do it alone.

"I wanted a playing partner -- someone who was creative," Manderfeld said.

So he approached Diethelm, who was just wrapping up his eighth year of touring with Jonny Lang, and was ready for a new challenge.

"We just hit it off right away," Manderfeld said.

Before too long, the duo had come up with the concept for the "Rock & Roll Christmas Spectacular," which premiered in December 2005 at the Pioneer Place Theatre in St. Cloud.

"It started as two shows at this small theater in St. Cloud," Manderfeld said. "Now it's 11 shows in that theater and it's gone from 300 people to about 2,000 people coming to see our show in St. Cloud."

Because of that success, the cast has begun branching out to do shows in communities outside the St. Cloud area, including Brainerd, Watertown -- and Detroit Lakes, where Manderfeld and Deuces Wild partner David Charles Eicholz have done several successful shows in the past.

"This will be my third trip (to the lakes area)," said Manderfeld. "I'm really excited to get up there and share this show with Detroit Lakes."

The Rock & Roll Christmas Spectacular is quite different from most holiday shows, Manderfeld said, because the arrangements of the songs are all original, composed by himself and Diethelm especially for the production.

"It's unlike any other Christmas show that you'll see this season, I guarantee it," he said. "It's part concert, part theater, part comedy."

The show has been described as "the most creative take on Christmas since eggnog!" Manderfeld believes this is because the show not only blends holiday favorites with classic rock, but also includes comedy, parody -- and even a game show!

Yes, that's right.

"There's a game show in there," Manderfeld said. "You've just got to come out and see how it fits in ... you'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll be on your feet cheering.

"I'm very, very proud of this show."

Tickets for the Rock & Roll Christmas Spectacular are $20 for adults, $10 for students, and can be purchased online at, by phone at 218-844-SHOW (7469), or by visiting the Holmes Theatre Box Office at 806 Summit Ave., Detroit Lakes.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454