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Detroit Lakes community theater reborn

DETROIT LAKES - For 25-plus years, Playhouse 412 provided some of the best amateur theatrical productions to be found anywhere in northwest Minnesota.

But on April 1, 2007, the Detroit Lakes-based community theater organization officially "merged its talents" with the Historic Holmes Theatre, signaling the end of an era.

Now, under the name Summit Productions, Inc., community theater is getting a new lease on life in the lakes area.

"We want to re-launch community theater in a regional area, instead of just in Detroit Lakes," says Vicky Williams, who serves as the coordinator for Summit Productions.

"When Playhouse 412 decided to cease productions, we (Summit Productions) had the opportunity to take on their endowment," Williams added. Summit Productions is the theatrical production arm of the Historic Holmes Theatre.

But while some members of Playhouse 412 will be a part of the new community theater organization, "This is a whole new beginning," Williams explained.

"We (the Historic Holmes Theatre) did a show last year, 'Full Moon Macabre,'" said Williams. What they discovered in organizing that production was that "there was still an interest in community theater."

"So we decided to see if we could re-introduce community theater, and Summit Productions would be a guide for them (the new organization)," said Williams.

Summit Productions is now looking for actors, actresses and behind the scenes crewmembers for its first official production, "The Mousetrap," set for Feb. 28 and March 1 in the Historic Holmes Theatre Ballroom.

Williams is hoping this production will lead to the formation of a new community theater troupe that will continue the tradition of excellence begun by Playhouse 412.

Auditions are set for this Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 24-25, from 5 to 8:30 p.m. in the Holmes Theatre Ballroom.

The play will be directed by Dave Goebel of Frazee, who also directed Playhouse 412's last full theatrical production, "Romantic Comedy," in 2006.

"When Vicky contacted me six weeks ago, I said I can only do these things in the winter ... this worked out (for my schedule)," Goebel added.

When asked why he agreed to do "The Mousetrap," Goebel said, "It's always a challenge."

Though the plot of "The Mousetrap," based on the Agatha Christie novel, is a familiar one, the play will have a surprise twist at the end -- and there is another "top secret" aspect of the production in store.

"There will be a surprise when people come into the ballroom," Goebel said, noting that the cast will be sworn to secrecy. "Our set will be unique."

A cast of eight, including five men and three women, is needed for the production. For more information on auditions, contact Vicky Williams at 218-844-4221, Ext. 14, or visit

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