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Readers' theater is Oct. 30

Last year, Detroit Lakes' Historic Holmes Theatre started what they hoped would become a new Halloween tradition: The Not-So-Late-Night Movie.

The show featured a "science fiction double feature" of Mel Brooks' classic "Young Frankenstein" and cult favorite "The Rocky Horror Picture Show."

In between the features, movie-goers were kept entertained with a "pumpkin catapult," in which the large orange spheres were launched from the roof of the Detroit Lakes Community & Cultural Center.

Though both the pumpkin catapult and the double feature will return this year, on Friday, Oct. 30, they will be joined by a new holiday tradition: The Spooky Readers' Theatre.

Summit Productions, the community theater group based at the Historic Holmes Theatre, is staging the inaugural event. Five members of the Summit Players have signed on to read such eerie favorites as Edgar Allen Poe's "The Pit & The Pendulum" and O. Henry's "After 20 Years."

Directed by Doug Schultz, who will also be a reader, the production will feature Liz and Cecil Ballard, Kathleen Sullivan and Rick Johnson.

Because some of the selections will be of a darker, scarier nature, this show is not intended for younger children, according to Summit Productions' Vicky Williams. A Christmas holiday-themed reader's theater event set for December will have more family-oriented fare, she added.

The five cast members have been meeting twice weekly for the past month or so in preparation for the event, though Schultz says this show is less rehearsal-intensive than past productions.

"We don't have to do a lot of memorization," he explains. "Everybody gets along well... sometimes we have too good a time, and it's difficult to get back on task."

"We give him (Schultz) lots of stuff to look at, and he goes through it and figures out what will fit (the show's format)," says Liz Ballard. Though she doesn't have as much theater experience as her castmates, she's enjoying the experience.

"I'm producing, directing, and everything else," Schultz says. "This is the first production I've ever directed.

"One of the best things about (the cast) is that they're cheap," he jokes.

"Yes -- free," returns Cecil Ballard, who like Schultz, is a veteran of past local community theater productions, including "Carnival," "West Side Story," "Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" and "Fiddler on the Roof."

"And we're real easy to work with," adds Liz Ballard.

Williams says the cast has pretty much taken over production of the show, though she's been assisting them as needed.

The set for the show will include a fireplace, overstuffed chairs, spooky lighting, candelabras and "lots of spider webs," Williams adds with a laugh.

The Spooky Readers' Theatre gets underway at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 30, in the Historic Holmes Theatre Ballroom. It will be followed by the movie double feature and "world famous" pumpkin catapult, says Williams.

Admission to the Reader's Theatre is $10 for adults, $5 for students. Concessions will also be available throughout the evening. For more information, call the Historic Holmes Theatre Box Office at 218-844-SHOW (7469) or visit the website,

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