'The Wonder Bread Years': Former 'Seinfeld' writer, comedian Pat Hazell to bring nostalgia-themed comedy show to Holmes
Health insurance premiums, tax increases, terrorism, racial violence, sexual harassment, threats of nuclear war... the America of today can be a scary place to live.
If you're looking for a place to escape the stress of everyday living and enjoy an evening of warm-hearted humor and nostalgia, then you might want to check out the live comedy theater production, "The Wonder Bread Years," which comes to the stage of Detroit Lakes' Historic Holmes Theatre on Thursday, Jan. 18 at 7:30 p.m.
Written by and starring comedian Pat Hazell — a former writer for the hit TV series "Seinfeld" and regular "Tonight Show" performer — this show celebrates the "Baby Boomer" generation with references to everything from Hula Hoops and lawn darts to Big Wheels and riding in the "way way back" of the family's Country Squire station wagon.
"It's a hybrid of standup comedy and live theater," says Hazell. "It's not a traditional play... I address the audience directly. It's more like a comedy monologue... but there are also some multimedia elements."
Hazell says that with all the divisiveness in today's society, nostalgia seems to be a common denominator for people who don't agree about much else.
"I had written a play called 'Bunk Bed Brothers,' and it was a hit," he said, noting that the play included a lot of nostalgic props like shelves of old toys and games. "People would come down to the stage during intermission to get a look at all the toys and read the labels on the games to see what was in them. It was really interesting how hungry they were to explore their past."
That experience was the impetus for "The Wonder Bread Years," which is about "bringing an audience together to discover that we have more in common than differences."
Hazell says that it's part of human nature to fear the unknown; it's the differences between cultures and religions and political views that breed fear and hostility.
"Whenever you make a stand, there's always someone to oppose your point of view," he says. "But if you look at the core of who we are and how we grew up, you realize we are far more alike than different."
Hazell says that he has performed at the Holmes Theatre before, but he didn't get to see much of Detroit Lakes during his last visit — which is something he intends to rectify this time.
"I will be coming to town a little early to do some outreach," he says.
According to Holmes Theatre Outreach Director Beth Gilbert, Hazell will be working with some of Kathy Larson's students at Detroit Lakes High School on how to do a theater audition, by performing some lines and song snippets and getting his critique.
"I often do workshops on comedy and writing and creativity and 'Hollywood 101,' for (those who) want to write a screenplay or become a sitcom writer when I'm traveling the country," said Hazell. "This will give me a chance to see more of Detroit Lakes and its surrounding area. I'm looking forward to it."
Tickets for the Jan. 18 show are $25 for adults and $12.50 for students; also, for every adult ticket purchased at full price, you can get a second student ticket at no additional cost. For more information, or to reserve your seats, please call the Holmes Theatre Box Office at 218-844-7469, stop by the box office at 806 Summit Ave., Detroit Lakes, or visit the website at www.dlccc.org/holmes.html.