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'Jerome of the Snake' to make public debut in Detroit Lakes this Friday

John Munson, left, and Matt Wilson are the creative forces behind The Twilight Hours, as well as "Jerome of the Snake," the original theatrical production featuring their band that will make its world premiere this Friday, March 9 at Detroit Lakes' Historic Holmes Theatre.1 / 2
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It's not often that Detroit Lakes' Historic Holmes Theatre gets an opportunity to debut an entirely new theatrical work — but that's just what's going to happen this Friday, March 8, as long-time Minnesota music makers Matt Wilson and John Munson bring their band, The Twilight Hours, and a cast of three Twin Cities actors to town for the first-ever public performance of their new show, "Jerome of the Snake."

"We're just so excited — you can't imagine how kind of at a nice edge we are right now, with all the things we're doing to prepare, and the excitement of rehearsals," said Wilson. "To us it's just an incredible experience, and a huge privilege."

Munson said they first experienced putting together a theatrical show in conjunction with their music when they were preparing to release the band's second album, "Black Beauty," a couple of years ago.

"We had so much fun doing it, and it was so gratifying to create something unlike anything we'd ever done, or that people had seen before," he said. "We're basically doing that again, but we're taking it on the road and taking it one notch higher in every degree — we've made a whole play this time."

That play, "Jerome of the Snake," is a production which, according to Holmes Theatre director Amy Stoller Stearns, "is truly unlike anything we've ever had here before. It will feel like you've been transported far from Detroit Lakes."

What makes it so unusual, Munson says, is that while it includes some elements of musical theater, and some elements of a rock concert, it's actually more of a hybrid of the two.

"In some ways, it's like a musical, but rather than using songs as a vehicle to propel the story forward, it uses the songs to illuminate the emotional context of the story," he explained — and the songs are rock songs.

"It's like musical theater for those who find regular musical theater kind of intolerable," he joked.

Munson, Wilson, filmmaker Phil Harder and set designer Chris Larson — who is currently a Guggenheim Fellow — have all been working together to create something truly unique.

"While we've played in a lot of theaters, we haven't put on a show quite like this in that type of setting before," Wilson said. "We want to be brave and try new things."

"Matt and I are both at the point in our creative lives where people keep wanting you to do the same thing they've seen you do in the past," Munson said. "You really have to very consciously retain your right to violate expectations and try new things because otherwise you'll be in a kind of trap... this piece actually explores that idea... the trap of reproducing something rather than creating something new.

"The story revolves around two musicians — one who is towards the end of their career, and one who is a fresh new artist," he continued, noting that the two men explore "what that means in terms of your artistic life... the dreams that remain constant, and the dreams that maybe change over time."

To bring the story to life, they have included not only their full band — including Dave Salmela on keyboards, Steve Roehm on guitar, Richard Medek on drums, and Minneapolis Jacques Wait on lead guitar — but a cast of three talented actors: Dane Stauffer, John Catron and Lillian Noonan.

In addition, Wilson said, they are bringing along a truly special talent — "my tiny little daughter."

"She's in the very first scene," Munson said, adding, "She's going to be a hard one to follow."

Tickets for the show are $20 for adults, $10 for students — or buy one adult ticket at full price and get a second student ticket for free! For more information, please call 218-844-7469, visit the website at www.dlccc.org/holmes.html, or stop by the Holmes Box Office at 806 Summit Ave., Detroit Lakes.

Holmes Art Cellar Grand Opening

Prior to the start of this 7:30 p.m. show, the theater's new Holmes Art Center will hold its grand opening from 4 to 7 p.m.

The event will feature live music by local musician Rhoda Habedank and a "make and take" crafting opportunity with jewelry artist Krista Marie, as well as exhibits featuring sketch artist Joann Knapp, Detroit Lakes, and wood lathe artist Kurt Anderson, Frazee.

""I refer to my wood turning venture as Tossed and Turned," Anderson says. "I have been turning wood since 2001. I try to mostly use discarded, donated or scavenged wood for my art — thus 'tossed' and then 'turned.' I find immense satisfaction and relaxation from the hours of time spent unveiling the beauty that God has wrapped in and around various trees. Each piece of wood has something to show you. Some pieces are very basic while others are very out-of-the-box interesting. I approach each turning with an open mind and a flexible plan, as sometimes my bowl really wants to be a plate. One can force a design, but oft at the expense of missing the very gift that the wood wants to display."

"Exploring the visual world is exciting," says Knapp, who is experienced in various art media, including painting, printmaking and sculpting — but is perhaps best known for creating on-the-spot sketches of the live shows she attends at the Holmes Theatre. She also spent 15 years teaching junior high art.

Caravan du Nord

Friday night's show by The Twilight Hours will be preceded by an opening act — rising Minnesota indie/folk musician Humbird, who will perform a half-hour set featuring her own unique blend of experimental folk and environmental Americana.

Humbird's appearance in Detroit Lakes is part of the Minnesota Music Coalition's 2019 Caravan du Nord, which is making its eighth annual stop in the community.

According to MMC director Ellen Stanley, the Caravan du Nord is "a traveling showcase of Minnesota music that presents 18 bands and solo artists to six theater venues in Greater Minnesota for all-ages performances, workshops and community engagement."

Humbird's set will be followed by "Jerome of the Snake."

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 18-plus years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Detroit Lakes School Board. 

(218) 844-1454