In honor of its tenth anniversary in May, Detroit Lakes' Historic Holmes Theatre is revisiting the first show ever performed there -- an original theatrical production written and staged entirely by local talent.
"Holmes Spun Theatre 2" will be presented on Friday and Saturday, May 4-5, at 7:30 p.m.
Aspiring actors and actresses who would like to be involved in the production are encouraged to try out at the auditions scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 19 from 7 to 9 p.m., and Saturday, Jan. 21 from 10 a.m. to noon.
And even if you aren't available to take part in the official auditions, theater director Amy Stoller Stearns said anyone who would like to try out for a role is welcome to call the Holmes Box Office at 218-844-7469 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an audition time.
"There can be up to 50 different roles in this show," Stearns said. "We need people who can sing and dance, but also those who just want to read a script (i.e. act). There are roles for all ages, men, women, children and teenagers -- and we also need backstage help, with costumes, set design, tech ... everything."
Though the second "Holmes Spun Theatre" production will revisit some of the themes and scenes of the first one, the script is new.
Stearns said she approached the show's original playwrights, Lynn Hummel and Mary Otto, about a possible sequel, and they were "very enthusiastic," but Otto did not feel she would be able to commit to participating in the project this time.
So three new collaborators -- Nikki Caulfield, Cyndi Anderson and Erlene DeCock -- stepped forward to help Hummel write the new script.
"We started brainstorming about some of the local things going on, and that kind of lit the fire for the themes in the show," Caulfield said. "The show centers around the theme, 'Why do we love this area?'
"It was really a lot of fun collaborating -- all four of us having very different points of view was good, especially for a show that represents so many different people."
"I would say the original show focused more on the early history of Detroit Lakes -- the founding of the community -- and this one is more contemporary," Hummel said.
"It has some of the stories that were left out of the first one," Stearns added.
For instance, Hummel noted, one segment of the show involves interviews with citizens who are proponents and opponents of establishing a public beach in Detroit Lakes.
"One young man sings a song about his vision of what that beach can be, and why we ought to have one," Hummel said. "Then the opponent says, 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it, don't rock the boat, stick with the status quo,' and he also has a song.
"They present their views on 'Hodge Podge' with Andy Lia. Their arguments are not necessarily factual, but more what we now envision they might have been."
Another segment focuses on the DL Pavilion and how it's changed through the years, while another focuses on the Holmes Theatre and its first 10 years of existence.
The latter segment also features the return of E.G. Holmes, a founder of the Detroit Lakes community whose character was prominently featured in the original production.
"He couldn't stand to miss a party," said Hummel, who actually played Holmes in the original production (though he noted that a new actor will likely step into those shoes for the new show).
"He (Holmes) is also quite pleased to see his name all over town -- the Holmes Theatre, Holmes Street, Holmesville Township, and even the Graystone still has the name 'Holmes Building' on it," Hummel added. "It puffs him up with pride."
Working with three new collaborators on the "Holmes Spun Theatre 2" script went quite smoothly, he noted, adding, "We worked very well together."
Though the basic script is now finished, Caulfield said they are still polishing up the final draft that will be used at the auditions.
"It's still a work in progress," she said. "I'm sure the final draft will be quite different from the actual performance -- as the actors and director bring their perspective, it becomes very organic. It changes as it needs to."
Though Caulfield is also the director of the theater's annual Shakespeare in the Park production, she will not be involved behind the scenes with this show.
"We'll hand it over to (play director) Larry Swenson and the cast, and after that it's up to them," she said, adding that she will be turning her attention to preparing for this summer's Shakespeare production, "Romeo & Juliet."
Just like the original "Holmes Spun Theatre" production, the new show will focus on presenting the history of Detroit Lakes, "told through song and fable," Stearns said.
"It's going to be a lot of fun," she added, noting that just like in the original, the new "Holmes Spun Theatre" will include quite a bit of comedy.
"We use a lot of local humor, which I think is more funny," Caulfield added.
Hummel noted that Caulfield's theater experience was invaluable in taking the different segments of the show and "working it into a program that flows -- she's just been a wonderful addition."
"We had many, many ideas that we couldn't use, simply because you want to pack it all into two hours," he said. "We had a lot of good, discarded ideas."
So might those ideas be revisited for "Holmes Spun Theatre 3"? Possibly.
"One of the characters says, 'We'll probably be back to see you again in another 10 years,'" Hummel said.
"I wouldn't be surprised if there's one of these every decade. I would be surprised if I'm involved in the next one."
Rehearsals for "Holmes Spun Theatre 2" will begin in mid-March; this show is part of the theater's BTD Community Connections Series.
Call 218-844-7469 or visit www.dlccc.org for more information.