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Holiday showtime: Music and crafts at Holmes this weekend

If you're in need of a little Christmas spirit this weekend, then why not stop by the Detroit Lakes Community & Cultural Center's Historic Holmes Theatre?

A full weekend -- plus one day -- of holiday happenings at the Holmes get underway Friday night, as Community Alliance Church sponsors a special presentation of the original Christmas drama, "The Window," at 7 p.m. on the stage of the Historic Holmes Theatre.

This free presentation tells the story of a hotel owner and his son, who have reached a breaking point in their relationship. An ancient piece of glass points the son to the true meaning of Christmas.

Then at noon Saturday, the Holmes Ballroom will host the first-ever "DLCCC Marketplace," a unique showcase for local artisans in which 15-20 vendors will display their handmade holiday gift items.

According to Kesley Myhre, the Center's marketing coordinator, the DLCCC Marketplace is modeled on a holiday marketplace in Vienna. Items include embroidered clothing, wood furniture, soaps and lotions, jewelry, pillows, blankets, glass ornaments, paper collage artwork, paintings, Christmas stockings and tree skirts, wine bags, cards and food items.

"It's kind of a fun way to get everyone in the spirit of the holidays," Myhre said.

Local author Lisa Jayne of Detroit Lakes will also be on hand to sign copies of her new children's book titled, How Do You Know? A Book About the Five Senses, which will be available for purchase at the event.

Published by Tate Publishing and Enterprises, How Do You Know? captures the five senses through a child's world of discovery and experience. According to the author, simple things like hearing a train whistle or petting a kitten create learning experiences rich in the educational foundation of young children.

The Marketplace will be open from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, and noon to 7 p.m. on Sunday, and will also feature live entertainment on both days, including the Women's Community Choir, North Star Cloggers and Holly Heisserer on Saturday; Sunday performers will include Rick Kratzke, Diane Jordan and Friends.

Each day's Marketplace event in the Ballroom will be followed by a concert in the main theater, just across the hall.

On Saturday, the Lakes Area Community Concert Band will present its Holiday Concert at 4 p.m. According to band member Rick Olson -- who also acts as the group's public relations spokesperson -- the concert will feature a wide range of Christmas favorites, including Anderson's "Sleigh Ride," Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus," Tchaikovsky's "Themes from the Nutcracker Suite," and Reed's "Russian Christmas Music" and "Greensleeves." This concert is free and open to the public.

And on Sunday, the Sigmund Romberg Orchestra & Soloists, known as "America's First Touring Pops Orchestra," is coming to the Historic Holmes Theatre to perform their touring show, "Viennese Christmas," at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students.

According to John Giattino, the show's producer, the concept for "Viennese Christmas" was conceived by himself and his wife, a former opera singer who once performed in Vienna.

"We designed it based on the New Year's Day Gala in Vienna," he said.

"Viennese Christmas" was designed to be a touring show, Giattino added.

"We are a touring company -- we're not based in any particular city," he said.

Though his company, International Concert Management, also produces other shows, he and his wife are touring with "Viennese Christmas" because this show is, as he puts it, "our baby."

"This is one production we travel with," he said. "We take a lot of pride in what we put up on that stage... we want to see that everything is done properly. We also have tour managers that represent us when we don't travel (with the shows)."

For more information about "Viennese Christmas" and the Sigmund Romberg Orchestra, you can visit the Web site,

Remember the "plus one day" that was mentioned earlier? This weekend is so jam-packed with activities that it's spilling over into the following Monday.

That's the day that the hit Broadway musical, "A Year With Frog & Toad," brings its touring production to the Holmes Theatre's main stage for two shows -- a sold-out matinee at 1 p.m., where the audience will consist mainly of area elementary school students, and a second, evening show for the general public at 6:30 p.m.

Though this touring show follows its Broadway counterpart very closely in terms of content -- the production team worked closely with the show's creator, Adrianne Lobel (daughter of Arnold Lobel, author of the original "Frog and Toad" books) -- there are some differences, according to producer Stephen Gabriel.

For one thing, the show's set had to be redesigned for a touring company.

"We had to do some redesigning to be able to accommodate all the different theaters (with varying stage dimensions) on the road," Gabriel explained.

Then, the show had to be recast -- a process which took several months to complete, Gabriel said.

They didn't have to look very far to find the actor who plays Frog, Jon Satrom.

"He had already done another show for us (i.e., Intramusic Theatricals, the production company)," Gabriel said. Satrom starred as Austin in the 2006 touring production, "Discover Theater."

After auditioning 160 other actors to fill the remaining four roles in the cast, they finally found Frog's counterpart, Toad, in New York University graduate Will Cohen.

In a surreal twist, they found out only after offering the job to Cohen that he was, in fact, Satrom's roommate in New York City!

"We had no idea they were roommates," Gabriel said.

But it turned out to be a happy coincidence, because the friendship between Frog and Toad that is central to the play's theme came naturally to the two actors.

"Because of their (real life) friendship, they have an amazing rapport on stage," Gabriel said. "It worked out very well for us."

The remaining three members of the cast -- Leanne Consalvo, Tommy Labanaris and Laura Yanez -- each play multiple roles, Gabriel said.

"Those three play kind of a Greek chorus to what's going on with Frog and Toad," he said. "They play all the other animal roles.

Because the cast is small, this show is "a very intimate piece," Gabriel said. "It's small, but effective."

And it's also what Gabriel describes as "a full blown musical," with background music underscoring even the spoken dialogue portions of the show. There is one other major difference from a full Broadway production, however: there is no live orchestra.

However, he added, "We recorded it with live musicians, so the recording is very high quality."

From early production meetings and casting to set design and costuming to cast rehearsals, the entire process of putting together the touring production of "A Year With Frog & Toad" took about eight months to complete, Gabriel said.

Gabriel said that while the show is based on a series of children's books -- books that are still widely read and studied by first, second and third grade students across the country -- adults will enjoy the show along with their kids.

"It's a very family oriented show," he said.

Tickets for "A Year With Frog and Toad" are $10 for adults and $5 for children.

For more information, or to purchase tickets for "Viennese Christmas" or "A Year With Frog and Toad," contact the Historic Holmes Theatre Box Office at 218-844-SHOW (7469), stop in during regular box office hours (10 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday through Friday, or two hours prior to the start of a show) at 826 Summit Ave., or visit the Web site,

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