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DL grad performs at Maine resort this summer

By day, like many college students working summer jobs, Bryce Dutton washes dishes. But by night, the Detroit Lakes native takes the stage, performing in professional caliber shows.

Dutton is no stranger to theater. His name is likely familiar to those who have attended high school musical and theatrical performances in the past, where he starred in several leading roles.  He has now begun establishing his name in broader theatrical circuits.

Son of Wade and Holly Dutton, the 2011 Laker graduate recently completed his sophomore year at University of Wisconsin — Stevens Point in the Bachelor of Performing Arts program. This summer, his pursuit of this career path has taken him even further east, all the way to Quisisana Resort in Lovell, Maine.

“It’s the first time I’ve really been away from home,” Dutton said of being out of driving — and often cellphone — range for such an extended period.

Quisisana Resort is a unique summer destination.  Situated on Lake Kezar, complete with mountain scenery, gourmet dining and a diverse offering of traditional resort activities, it’s the musical performances each evening that truly set it apart. Dutton describes the experience as “a cruise ship lifestyle on land.”

While travelling to Maine might seem like quite a trek to make for a summer job, the resort has many connections to the Wisconsin university Dutton is attending. “Several of the other Bachelor of Fine Arts students in the theatre program had auditioned and worked at Quisisana,” he said. The Musical director at the resort also was a Stevens Point graduate.

Employment at Quisisana Resort also offers an opportunity to take the stage where many who have progressed to Broadway and other professional shows have stood before.

“There’s a large variety of performers from different areas, and they all gel really well,” Dutton said of his fellow staff members, musicians, and cast mates, many of whom hail from Arizona, New York, and Wisconsin. The staff ranges in ages from 18-24, though he said the majority are 20-22.

Dutton auditioned for the competitive program by sending in two one-minute recorded cuts of songs. He currently stars in a performance of “Oklahoma” each Monday night, and in a Broadway musical revue. The resort also features jazz, piano, and opera performances throughout the week from the talented staff.

While Dutton admits that his parents were “a little skeptical,” he said the paying job and opportunity to perform at Quisisana Resort has been “a great opportunity.”

“So far, the biggest challenge is finding time to rest,” he said of his rigorous schedule.

Dutton’s day begins early as he heads to wash dishes from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. The first weeks in Maine were especially demanding, because rehearsals for the performances dominated most of the afternoon. The shows begin at 9 p.m. each night, and Dutton takes the stage multiple times during the week.

“My favorite part is definitely the type of performers I’ve been surrounded with,” Dutton said. “The people here are extremely talented, extremely humble. They get dirty and work hard, and have such a passion for performing.”

Dutton has his sights ultimately set on earning a leading role on Broadway, which he said is “not an unreachable goal.” He has progressed as far as making final callbacks in auditions for the National Equity Tour of “Beauty and the Beast,” in which Dutton had been hoping to reprise the role of Gaston which sparked his high school theatre career.

He prefers the “Golden-age style musical,” and is most comfortable with Rogers and Hammerstein music, which he said works well with his voice. Dutton credits his theatrical and musical roots in Detroit Lakes as being a major contributor to his current career path.

“I actually didn’t like theatre until I joined my freshman year of high school,” he said of his first performance. “It was so much fun.”

“I enjoyed it more than anything I’d ever done.”

Of the high school theater productions, he said, “The caliber we’ve done in Detroit Lakes is a higher level than many high schools. Our program is a hidden gem among high schools in Minnesota.”

Article written by Libby Larson of Detroit Lakes Newspapers