Opening reception for new exhibitions

New exhibitions in The Galleries open Friday, June 21, and will be on view through July 28. They feature mixed media mosaics by Rebecca Campbell of Ashland, mixed media paintings by Antuco Chicaiza of Sweetwater, Tenn., a mixed media installation by Keith Kaziak of Stevens Point, a group exhibition with work by seven women artists from throughout the Twin Cities titled "What We Don't Talk About," and a group exhibit organized by The Phipps in collaboration with Space St. Croix titled "To the Moon and Back," inspired by the 50th anniversary of the Apollo Moon Landing.

The artists with work in "What We Don't Talk About" are Katie Beumer, Zulma Davila, Anne Kramer, Laura Mayo, Ann Meany, Judith Sarah Rae and Linda Seebauer Hansen. Artists featured in "To the Moon and Back" are Hend Al-Mansour, Susan Armington, Margy Jean Balwierz, Barbara Riegel Bend, Taylor Berman, Sandy Bot-Miller, Cathy Durso, Kyle Fokken, Stephen J. Gates, Deanna Grigus, Steve Johnson, Jeannine Kitzhaber, George G. I. Moore, Mat Ollig, Teri Power, Chholing Taha and Anna Toegel.

The opening reception for these exhibits is free and open to the public. It will be held on Friday, June 21, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Artists will be present and hors d'oeuvres will be served.

The Galleries hours are Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Sunday noon to 4:30 p.m., as well as one hour before and through intermission of all performances in The Phipps theaters. The Phipps will be closed July 4.

For further information, contact Anastasia Shartin, visual arts director, at 715-386-2305, ext. 103.

'Population 485' auditions June 23, 24

Auditions for "Population 485," adapted from the best-selling memoir by Wisconsin author (and pig farmer and first responder) Michael Perry, will be held on Sunday and Monday, June 23 and 24, 7-9 p.m. Actors may schedule an audition time by going to and searching "Auditions." If necessary, callbacks will be held on Thursday, June 27.

The play promises its fair share of laughs, tempered by touching moments of raw emotion. The true to life story explores themes of community, tragedy and comedy through the lens of volunteer first responders in New Auburn, Wis. (population: 485). Upon returning to his hometown after 19 years away, our narrator joins the volunteer firefighters. This choice leads him on a journey into the shared lives of his community. In the process, he learns what really matters, and what can't be rescued.

Character descriptions may be found on The Phipps website. A headshot and resume are strongly encouraged, but not required. All rehearsal conflicts should be brought to the audition. Those auditioning will read selected sides from the script.

Rehearsals will be held weekday evenings beginning in mid-July. The show will run for nine performances Sept. 13-29 on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. as well as Sundays at 2:30 p.m. on the main stage.

Director Collin Geraghty is looking to build a strong ensemble of community performers who can move. He states, "As they say in the biz, 'Looking for REAL PEOPLE.' If you have always wanted to audition, but haven't taken that first step, this is your opportunity. The playwright notes, '... these were not characters, these were people living their lives.'"

Geraghty is a multi-disciplinary performing arts professional. Selected theater credits include Chicago Shakespeare Theater, The Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, American Players Theatre, and others. Selected screen credits include co-host "Discover Wisconsin," guest star "Chicago MED" (NBC), and "Consumed" (feature film).

The Phipps Center is committed to equity, diversity and inclusion in casting. Performers with diverse backgrounds, all races and ethnicities, and those from underrepresented groups are encouraged to audition.

Akiko Fujimoto to conduct Minnesota orchestra

The Phipps Center for the Arts proudly announces the 31st annual free outdoor concert by the Minnesota Orchestra on Monday, July 1 at 7:30 p.m. in the Lakefront Park bandshell.

Under the direction of associate conductor Akiko Fujimoto, the acclaimed ensemble will delight music lovers of all ages with a mix of well-loved popular and classical music.

Before arriving in Minnesota, Fujimoto served as the associate conductor of the San Antonio Symphony for five seasons. Prior to arriving in Texas, Fujimoto served as the conducting associate for the Virginia Symphony Orchestra.

As a guest conductor, Fujimoto has performed with the Houston Symphony, Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra, Round Rock Symphony, and Fort Wayne Philharmonic. Additionally, she has conducted Canada's National Arts Centre Orchestra as a participant in the Young Conductors Program and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra at the St. Magnus Festival.

During the 2018-19 season she made her debut with the Mid-Texas Symphony, returned to the San Antonio Symphony, and conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic for two all-Brahms programs. In August, she will conduct her first program on the Minnesota Orchestra's Sommerfest series.

Born in Japan, Fujimoto moved to the United States at age 14 and attended Stanford University, where she studied music and psychology. She holds master's degrees in conducting from Boston University and the Eastman School of Music.

This concert is sponsored in part by the Fred C. and Katherine B. Andersen Foundation and the William H. Phipps Foundation.

The Lakefront Park band shell is located west of The Phipps Center at the corner of First and Locust streets. Audience members are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets. Patrons are asked to respect the comfort of others by not smoking or bringing pets into the seating area.

Cast announced for 'Weekend Comedy'

"Weekend Comedy," a touching comedy by Sam Bobrick and Jeanne Bobrick, will be performed July 12-28 on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. as well as Sundays at 2:30 p.m.

A three-day weekend retreat in a remote cabin in the woods should be relaxing. When two couples, one younger and one older, are all accidentally booked into the same cabin, they decide to share it and the whole weekend ends up as awkward as a loon on land. The clashes between the two generations create comedic confrontations and conversations.

Rick Lamers (Eagan) plays Frank, a curmudgeon who is happily set in his ways. He describes himself as a man "content to spend the rest of my life watching the passing parade." True to his name, he is indeed always "frank," and not afraid to express his opinion. Lamers brings more than 40 years of stage experience to The Phipps. Recent roles include Jack Cameron in "Spirit Level" at DayTrippers Theater, as well as Victor Prynne in "Private Lives" and William Blore in "And Then There Were None" at Theatre in the Round.

Frank's long-suffering wife, Peggy, played by Cynthia Schreiner Smith (Oakdale), hoped the weekend would rekindle the romance in their marriage. When things go wrong, she somehow manages to keep her sense of humor and most of her patience. This is Schreiner Smith's first Phipps appearance, but she has performed on many area stages, including Lakeshore Players, Theatre in the Round, and the Guthrie. She enjoys doing historical character tours and runs CyBick Productions with her husband.

Frank's nemesis over the weekend is Tony, a spoiled, confident and arrogant young man, played by Mitchell Bugni (Hudson). Phipps audiences may remember him from earlier roles that are in sharp contrast to Tony, Rapunzel's Prince in "Into the Woods" and Prince Dauntless in "Once Upon a Mattress," among others. A favorite theater role was Frog in the musical "A Year with Frog and Toad" at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

Tony's partner, Jill, is fun, open, and generally goes with the flow, but events over the weekend cause her to reflect on what is really important in a relationship. Stefanie Fauth (White Bear Lake) plays Jill, in her first Phipps appearance. She has acted and directed at Lakeshore Players, including a recent performance as Truvy in "Steel Magnolias." She also enjoys appearing in local films and recording voice-overs.

Director Joe Hendren previously staged "Always ... Patsy Cline," at The Phipps and has many other directorial credits throughout the Twin Cities area. He is the artistic director of Minneapolis Musical Theatre and the founder of TheatreX.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $13 for students of any age. "Weekend Comedy" pricing will be based on demand and it will never be lower than it is right now.

In addition, The Phipps Center offers a theater series flex pass of five ticket vouchers for $95. Patrons may use one voucher for each of the five theater series shows or use all five vouchers for one show.

2019-20 season tickets, theater flex passes on sale

Tickets are now on sale for the 2019-20 season. Community theater and children's theater productions, concerts ranging from popular to classical music, Wurlitzer theater pipe organ concerts, dance performances, gallery exhibitions, and classes in the visual and performing arts are all offered throughout the year.

The theater series consists of the touching comedy "Weekend Comedy," the comic yet heartbreaking "Population 485," the musical comedy "Singin' in the Rain," the hopeful drama "A Shayna Maidel" (A Pretty Girl), and the mystery-comedy "Busybody."

The music series features traditional jazz pianist Bobby van Deusen, the Lake Wobegon Brass Band, country singer/songwriter Mo Pitney, the bluegrass/Celtic/roots quartet the Barley Jacks, and the dynamic piano trio Take 3.

The organ series consists of favorite nationally and internationally acclaimed musicians Ron Rhode, Dave Wickerham, and Justin LaVoie.

Special events include "Remembering the Little Prince" by Ballet Co.Laboratory, Classic Big Band and the Nostalgics, "The Gals o' Comedy" "The Elvis Show," The Phipps Festival Chorus holiday concerts, "The Best is Still to Come" by The Phipps Dance Theater, Disney's "The Little Mermaid Jr." by The Phipps Children's Theater, The Phipps Choral Society performing Mozart's "Requiem," guitarist Pat Donohue and the Prairie All Stars, and vocalist Colleen Raye with the St. Croix Valley Symphony Orchestra.

In addition, "Sinatra and Company, Music from the Rat Pack Era" will be performed on New Year's Eve, but is not available as part of a season ticket package.

A season package of any seven events costs $126, which is only $18 per ticket; a five-show package costs $95, only $19 per ticket; and a season subscription to three events is $60, only $20 per ticket. Subscribers are also able to exchange their tickets for another performance free of charge.

By popular demand, The Phipps Center offers a theater series flex pass of five ticket vouchers for $95 this season. Patrons may use one voucher for each of the five theater series shows or use all five vouchers for one show. It is completely flexible, with savings up to 24%. The flex pass is only good for the five theater series shows; not any of the other series.

Ballroom dance parties

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

Tom Larson will offer a dance lesson during the first hour. The tango and cha cha will be taught July 20. 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.

Tai Chi on Thursday mornings

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

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.