Production coming to Detroit Lakes
Most students in American schools today could probably tell you who George Washington is. Or Abraham Lincoln, or Lewis & Clark.
But what about Betsy Ross? Harriet Tubman? Clara Barton? It's an unfortunate fact that when it comes to remembering the people who played significant roles in history, the first names on most people's tongues would be those of men, not women.
Twenty years ago, songwriter and musician Ann Reed hoped to change that, at least slightly, by writing a song that would shed some light on the important role of women in history. That song, called simply, "Heroes," contains within its lyrics the names of 40 women who changed lives or shaped history in some way.
But while the song struck a chord with audiences, and grew in popularity, Reed wasn't quite done with her project.
"I had always had it in the back of my mind that it would be nice to do a larger theatrical production," Reed said -- a production that was based on the same theme.
Some 15 years later, Reed came back around to writing a script for that theatrical production, called "Heroes: A Celebration of Women Who Changed History and Our Lives."
"I wanted this show to be something where everybody would leave thinking that they had learned something they didn't know when they walked in -- and also, hopefully, they would be inspired and uplifted by it as well," Reed said.
Though it had been many years in the making, Reed said she actually worked on the script for less than a year.
"I finally got my act together and actually managed to do what I had been thinking about when I first wrote the song," Reed said. "We first performed it (the 'Heroes' show) in 2007 at the Fitzgerald Theatre in Minneapolis."
A cast of talented performers, including Reed, was joined on stage by a local choir for that performance, which was produced by Minnesota Public Radio and later released on both CD and DVD.
Then, a couple of years later, Reed began to contemplate the idea of making "Heroes" into a touring production.
Rebecca Peterson from A Center for the Arts in Fergus Falls had been a fan of the show since that debut performance, and told Reed, "I'd love to bring this to northern Minnesota."
"I said, 'Great,'" Reed continued, "so she just really went after it, and here we are."
Reed will be joined on stage by six talented singers and musicians, including Dan Choinard, Joan Griffith, Thomasina Petrus and Denise Tabet.
As was the case for the original performance in St. Paul, a local choir of Detroit Lakes singers has been recruited to perform with Reed as well. That choir, under the direction of Brent Gerber, began rehearsals Monday. A second rehearsal is set for next Monday, March 14, with the final run through to take place the afternoon before the concert.
The "Heroes" tour is being produced by A Center for the Arts and Turtlecub Productions, Inc.
The Historic Holmes Theatre received both an "Arts Tour Minnesota" grant and an "Institutional Presenter Support" grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board to bring the production to Detroit Lakes.
That show is set to take place at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 17 -- St. Patrick's Day -- on the stage of the Historic Holmes Theatre, 806 Summit Ave., Detroit Lakes.
Tickets are $12 for adults, $6 for students, and may be purchased at the Holmes Box Office, by phone at 218-844-SHOW (7469), or online at www.dlccc.org.
Additional performances will also take place at the library in Long Prairie, Min., on Wednesday, March 16; at A Center for the Arts in Fergus Falls on Saturday, March 19; and at The State Theatre in Zumbrota, Minn., on March 26.
The project was funded, in part, by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, with monies appropriated by the State Legislature through the Clean Water, Land & Legacy Amendment approved by Minnesota voters on Nov. 4, 2008.
The Detroit Lakes performance is also being sponsored by BTD Manufacturing, as part of the ongoing BTD Community Connections Series at the Holmes Theatre.