The New Ulm Actors Community Theater presents: I Do! I Do!
NEW ULM – With the theme of love filling the air as Valentine’s Day approaches, the New Ulm Actors Community Theater has just the production lined up to satisfy anyone’s appetite for a good old-fashioned love story.
Opening on Valentine’s Day, NUACT will present two Dinner and a Show performances of the musical “I Do! I Do!” at the New Ulm Holiday Inn.
Few plays cover the topic of love as well as “I Do! I Do!” It is a two-character story that examines 50 years of marriage between Agnes and Michael Snow – both the highs and the lows.
“It is such a timeless theme of couple-hood, no matter where we are,” said Kent Menzel, who stars as Michael opposite Janet Holm as Agnes.
The musical is based on the Jan de Hartog play “The Fourposter,” with the entire story set in the bedroom of the Snows’ apartment, centered on their four-post bed.
Beginning when the couple marries in 1895, the story follows their life as a young married couple, then progresses through their life as they have kids, watch their children grow up and leave home, then continues as they learn how to relate to each other again as empty nesters and finally ends in 1945 when they move out of their apartment for a smaller living space.
Although the Snows’ children are mentioned during the musical, they are never physically present on the stage.
Every aspect of married life is explored during the course of the musical, with fights as much a part of the fabric of the story as the moments of joy.
“We have fun, and the audience will have fun,” Holm said. “It will make you laugh and will make you cry, and you will relate to everything about it.”
Reservations are needed in advance for both performances (Feb. 14 and Feb. 15), with tickets available at www.newulmact.com and at the New Ulm Area Chamber of Commerce. Tickets are $39, with an all-inclusive meal to be served prior to the performance.
Doors open for the performance at 5:30 p.m. on both nights, with dinner service beginning at 6 p.m. The show will begin as dinner wraps up around 7 p.m., and a dessert of Valentine’s Day molten lava cake will be served during intermission.
“It’s an incredibly talented cast with beautiful music,” co-producer Paul Warshauer said. “In my opinion, a great value for Valentine’s Day.”
Playing opposite each other on stage is nothing new for Menzel and Holm, who are both veterans of NUACT productions. “I Do! I Do!” will be their fifth time doing so.
In the last year alone, Holm played Doris Walker opposite Menzel’s Fred Gailey in NUACT’s December production of “Miracle on 34th Street.” Last July Holm played Annie Oakley and Menzel played Frank Butler in the Sleepy Eye Community Theater production of “Annie Get Your Gun.”
Holm and Menzel also starred as Mary and George Bailey in NUACT’s December 2011 production of “It’s a Wonderful Life” and played Winnifred the Woebegone and Prince Dauntless, respectively, in NUACT’s October 2011 production of “Once Upon a Mattress,” a musical based on the fairy tale “The Princess and the Pea.”
Holm is a 12-year veteran of productions in New Ulm, Sleepy Eye, Springfield and Mankato. In “I Do! I Do!,” she wears her own original bridal gown for the marriage scene.
Menzel, a native of Bloomington, has lived in New Ulm for 14 years. He is coming fresh off creating the adaptation for NUACT’s production of “Miracle on 34th Street,” his first experience doing so.
“I Do! I Do” features the NUACT debut of Jessica Buller, who will accompany the performance on keyboard.
A native of Eagan and a graduate of the St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, Buller is currently a junior at Martin Luther College studying early childhood education.
“I Do! I Do!” first opened on Broadway to great acclaim in 1966, with book and lyrics by Tom Jones and music by Harvey Schmidt. The original Broadway production starred renowned actors Mary Martin and Robert Preston, with Preston winning a Tony Award for his performance.
Martin won three Tony Awards in her career and is best known for roles as nurse Nellie Forbush in “South Pacific,” Peter in “Peter Pan” and as Maria in “The Sound of Music.” Preston starred as Harold Hill in the original Broadway production of “The Music Man” and also went on to star in the movie adaptation.
Despite its Broadway roots, the musical reached a whole new level of success at a much closer venue with a record-setting run at the Chanhassen Dinner Theater.
The Chanhassen production set a national record for longest continual run with original cast for any play, lasting from 1971-1993, with stars David Anders and Susan Goeppinger marrying each other in real life during the run.
The last time NUACT presented a two-cast member production similar to “I Do! I Do!” was a production of “Love Letters.”
NUACT’s upcoming schedule this year includes “Murder at Bock Fest” later in February, “The Front Page” in April, “South Pacific” in July and “Inherit the Wind” in August.