'84, Charing Cross Road' cast announced

"84, Charing Cross Road," a charming, bittersweet comedy, will be performed Jan. 18-Feb. 3 on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.

This play is adapted by James Roose Evans from the 1970 book of the same title by Helene Hanff. In it, she details the almost 20-year friendship she developed with London bookseller Frank Doel and the other staff at Marks and Co, Booksellers. Hanff, a New York writer, began doing business by correspondence with Marks and Co in 1949, and there followed a long and warm friendship that lasted into the 1960s.

Hanff's letters are vivacious and funny; Doel's are more formal, but gradually soften into a more familiar tone. In them, they converse about books, their lives, and topics ranging from Yorkshire pudding to the Brooklyn Dodgers. "84, Charing Cross Road" has been adapted for stage, radio, television, and film.

Tickets are $26 for adults and $19 for students of any age, with a $2 discount for seniors on the Sunday matinees, for this production in the Black Box Theater.

"The Charitable Sisterhood of the Second Trinity Victory Church" auditions

Auditions for "The Charitable Sisterhood of the Second Trinity Victory Church," a warm-hearted comedy by Bo Wilson, will be held on Monday and Tuesday, Jan. 21 and 22, 7-9 p.m. Actors may schedule an audition time by going to ThePhipps.org. If necessary, callbacks will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 23.

The roads are flooded, the bridges are washed out, and less generous souls are staying safely indoors, but the five angels of mercy do their best to help the victims of global disaster, spiritual deprivation, and, most of all, each other.

Director Lindsay Fitzgerald is looking for five women, ages 20s-50s, who are willing to play with big characters and find some real emotion along the way. All auditioning should come prepared to read from the script. Those auditioning should also bring a resume; a headshot, if they have one; and a list of all conflicts they may have during the rehearsal period.

Rehearsals will be held in the evening during the week, with some daytime rehearsals on the weekends. The show will run for nine performances March 22-April 7, on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. as well as Sundays at 2 p.m. on the main stage.

The Phipps Choral Society Seeks Singers

This spring, area singers will have an opportunity to engage in some of history's most beloved choral music. The Phipps Choral Society will perform timeless works from the great composers - Handel, Verdi, Bernstein, Puccini, and others - in "Opera and Oratorio Encores" on Sunday, April 14 at 2 p.m. This is going to be a "big sing" with dramatic and full-voiced choruses. The society encourages all who may be interested to join them.

No auditions are necessary to be a member of the Choral Society chorus, however a good grasp of basic musicianship skills will be of definite benefit to interested singers. Weekly rehearsals begin Sunday, Feb. 10, at 2:30 p.m. in the music studio of The Phipps Center. Singers are expected to attend the vast majority of weekly Sunday rehearsals. A $20 membership fee is collected from each participant at the first rehearsal to help with production costs for the performance.

Interested singers should register online by going to ThePhipps.org, where they will find information and a link to the sign-up page. Registration before Friday, January 4 is requested.

The Phipps Choral Society, now in its 30th season, is rehearsed and directed by Thomas Dahle.

Shoop! Vocal jazz group

Shoop!, five powerful vocalists and a tight, six-piece jazz combo, will perform on Saturday, Jan. 26 at 7:30 p.m. The vocal jazz group puts new twists on old standards with a sound that's a nod to The Manhattan Transfer and New York Voices. Shoop's repertoire includes "Sing, Sing, Sing," "Mack the Knife," "I Love Bein' Here with You," "Night and Day," "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square," "Lady Is a Tramp," "Georgia On My Mind," "Straighten Up and Fly Right," "I'm Beginning to See the Light," "Blues in the Night," "Come Fly with Me," "Peel Me a Grape," "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You," "What a Wonderful World," "Operator," "I'll Be Seeing You," "Someone To Watch Over Me," "Autumn Leaves," "I Only Have Eyes for You," "Fly Me to the Moon," "Misty," "For All We Know," "All Of Me," "Route 66," "They Can't Take That Away From Me," "It Had to be You," "The Look of Love," "Moonglow," "The Way You Look Tonight," "Beyond the Sea," and many more. Tickets are $22 for adults and $15 for students of any age.

Willy Wonka, Jr.

Roald Dahl's "Willy Wonka Jr.," with words and music by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, adapted for the stage by Bricusse and Timothy A. McDonald, and based on the book "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" by Dahl, will be performed by The Phipps Children's Theater Feb. 15 to March 3.

Famed and reclusive chocolate maker Willy Wonka holds a worldwide contest in which those lucky enough to find one of five golden tickets in their chocolate bar win a trip to his mysterious factory. Young Charlie Bucket, his Grandpa Joe, and four pairs of spoiled children and their parents take a wild journey through the incredible factory, guided by the eccentric candy man.

Dahl's timeless story of Willy Wonka and his quest to find an heir comes to life in this stage adaptation of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," which features the songs from the classic family film "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," starring Gene Wilder. The memorable score includes "The Candy Man," "Pure Imagination," "Oompa Loompa," and "I Want it Now" by Academy and Grammy award-winners Bricusse and Newley.

Performances will be given Feb. 15 to March 3 on Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., as well as Sundays at 2 p.m. on the main stage.

Tickets are $25 for adults, $23 for seniors, and $13 for students and youth. It is recommended for children age 4 and older.

Ballroom dance parties

Ballroom dance parties are offered on the first and third Saturday of every month Oct.-May, and the third Saturday of every month June-Sept., from 7 to 10 p.m. in the dance studio.

Tom Larson will offer a dance lesson during the first hour. The foxtrot and Lindy hop will be taught on Jan. 5. Salsa and bachata will be featured Jan. 19. This is an opportunity to have fun trying out new dance skills in a relaxed and comfortable environment. Dancers of all experience levels are welcome. Admission is $12 per person.

Larson has taught at The Phipps since 2003 and owns the Ballroom and Wedding Dance Studio in Minneapolis. He performed for five seasons with The Continental Ballet Company.

Private flute and piano lessons

Private flute and piano instruction for ages five through adults is available on Fridays.

Sue Christian, a K-12 music education graduate of Luther College, has taught privately since she was 16. One of her favorite teaching opportunities is that of the Hudson Middle School Band Camp, at which she works with budding young flutists.

A member of the Wisconsin Music Teachers' Association, she is involved locally with the St. Croix Music Teachers Association, offering piano performance opportunities to students of all ages. Also a member of the Upper Midwest Flute Association, Christian has tutored students who have won competitions in both organizations. One of her former flute students, as a sophomore in high school, earned the prestigious opportunity to perform in the top 12 for a national competition to solo with the Air Force Band. This student went on to pursue a career in flute performance at the University of Wisconsin - Madison.

Christian also has extensive experience in accompanying soloists and ensembles as a collaborating pianist in college-level recitals as well as festivals in area schools. In addition, she accompanied The Phipps Festival Chorus and The Phipps Oratorio Society for numerous years.

Private violin lessons

Private violin lessons for students ages seven through adult are offered throughout the year.

Instructor Sarah N. Bertsch has taught violin and coached ensembles for over 25 years. Previous positions include Northwestern College, Wooddale School of Music, Friendship School of Music, and Minnehaha Academy. She received her M.A. from St. John's University and her B.A. from St. Olaf College.

Bertsch has toured nationally with pianist Don Irwin and artist Fernando Ortega and has played concerts in Bulgaria, Romania, Macedonia, Japan, and Guatemala. She has recorded with Sara Groves and a number of regional church music groups. Bertsch enjoys playing and teaching a variety of musical styles. She plays violin in the Oakdale-based global music group Ensemble Aventura and enjoys collaborating in Hudson with pianist Layton James. Bertsch often performs in weddings as a soloist or in one of her string ensembles.

The instructor states, "My teaching style is somewhat traditional (note reading, counting, intonation) and lessons are tailored to each student's ability and life context. I strive to make every lesson a positive experience, not just with violin, but with music in general, and also self-esteem. Learning violin is a wonderful challenge with rich rewards for students in many stages of life."

For further information on violin lessons, contact Bertsch at 715-381-5735.

Voice lessons

Tony Holt, a former member of the King's Singers, offers private voice lessons for ages 11 through adult on Thursdays at The Phipps Center for the Arts in Hudson.

Holt, a native Londoner, was a boy chorister at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth. He was a choir member of Christ Church, Oxford, as well as Chichester Cathedral and St. Paul's Cathedral. Holt was then a soloist and chorus member of the Monteverdi Choir and the BBC Singers. For 18 years he toured and recorded as first baritone with the King's Singers.

His lessons concentrate on singing in a healthy way, and enjoying a repertoire that can range from Bach to Broadway. He encourages singers to perform without tension, to communicate well, and to enjoy their singing.

The fee is $30 per 30-minute lesson.

Tai Chi on Thursday mornings

Tai chi classes will continue on Thursdays, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Andrew Weil, M.D., often seen on PBS and a world-renowned leader and pioneer in the field of integrative medicine, states, "I view tai chi as an effective form of mental and physical stimulation, and very beneficial for overall health. Like yoga, tai chi is a reliable method of stress reduction and relaxation, and it promotes flexibility, balance, and good body awareness. It is pleasing to watch and perform, and as [a recent] study suggests, it may be the best type of exercise to reduce the risk of injury from falls among seniors."

Meeting the needs of both the beginning and experienced practitioner, this class offers the Yang style long form of tai chi chuan. Certified tai chi instructor Mark Tomlinson, with 14 years of experience, conducts the classes.

Punch-cards may be purchased for $100 per eight classes. Classes are ongoing and may be taken at any time. Students only pay for the classes they attend.

Birthday parties

Parents are encouraged to celebrate their child's birthday at The Phipps.

Your child and guests will work with clay to create bowls, cups, and small sculptures. Children ages 7 and older will have a chance on the pottery wheel, too. The pottery will be ready to pick up within two weeks after the party.

The party fee is $218 for up to 9 participants, $24 for each additional participant. The fee includes all materials and clean-up, one to two hours of working the Ceramics Studio, one hour for snacks and gift opening, plus a behind-the-scenes tour (theater production schedule permitting).

To schedule a Ceramics Studio birthday party, contact Anastasia Shartin, 715-386-2305, ext. 103 or ashartin@thephipps.org.


The Western Wisconsin Photography Club meets the first Wednesday of every month at 6:30 p.m. The club also schedules mid-month meetings to accommodate speaker's schedules and for hands-on learning opportunities. Photographers of all ages and abilities are welcome. For more details about upcoming programs and events visit www.wiphotoclub.com.

Healing Arts at Hudson Hospital and Clinic

Current artists on view are High School Posters Exhibit, Audrey Martin, Gabrielle April Sacha, Bernice Fiecek-Swenson, Thursday Morning Painters, Jill Van Sickle, Ryan Armbruster, Mary Kathleen Scott, Sister Arts Group Exhibit and Paul Winger.

Artwork can be viewed during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Maps are available at both information desks to help find artists' work.

Healing Arts at Westfields Hospital and Clinic

Current artists on view are Cathy Durso, Elynn Lepel, Elliesha Klingberg, Austin Koeckeritz, Healing Through Gratitude Westfields Hospital Staff Photography Exhibit, Joan Solomon, and Jill Van Sickle. Artwork can be viewed during regular business hours, Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.