Director comments on ‘Weekend Comedy’

“Weekend Comedy,” written by Sam Bobrick and Jeanne Bobrick, explores the differences between generations and the nature of love with both affection and humor July 12-28 on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. as well as Sundays at 2:30 p.m. at The Phipps Center for the Arts in Hudson, Wis.

Peggy and Frank Jackson are a middle-aged couple whose lives have settled into a comfortable rut. Peggy (Cynthia Schreiner Smith, Oakdale) convinces her stick-in-the-mud husband, Frank (Rick Lamers, Eagan), to spend a long weekend in a remote cabin in the woods in the hope of rekindling some romance. Peggy finally gets Frank “in the mood,” only to be interrupted by Jill (Stefanie Fauth, White Bear Lake) and Tony (Mitchell Bugni, Hudson). Due to a booking error, this young couple has also reserved the cabin for the weekend with their own romantic plans.

The two couples decide to share the cabin with comic and disastrous results. The differences between the generations soon become evident and sparks fly. Director Joe Hendren elaborates, “We see the clash of two generations ... something that all of us — regardless of our age — can probably relate to in some respect. Whether you’re a baby boomer, a Gen-Xer, or a millennial, you have likely found cause to question the choices, complain about the actions, or make fun of the fashions of a younger or older generation. And yet we seem to be oblivious that this has likely gone on for centuries (or even millennia). So while we can laugh at the generational antics of Frank, Peggy, Jill, and Tony in the play, we might also want to pause and appreciate some of those differences — and also acknowledge that we share so much more.”

Hendren’s many directing credits include “Always… Patsy Cline,” at The Phipps,

“The Haunting of Hill House” for TheatreX, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” for Theatre Uncorked and Chameleon Theatre, “Antigone” at Hamline University and

“Baskerville” at Lakeshore Players.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $13 for students of any age. The subject matter is PG-13. “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.

Reservations may be made by contacting The Phipps ticket office at 715-386-8409 or online at

Champagne brunch cruise and theater packages are available for the Sunday matinees. Reservations may be made by contacting Afton-Hudson Cruise Lines at 651-436-8883 or online at

2019-20 Season Tickets & Theater flex passes now on sale

Tickets are now on sale for the 2019-20 season of The Phipps Center for the Arts in Hudson, Wis. 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 percent. The flex pass is only good for the five theater series shows; not any of the other series.

For a season brochure, contact The Phipps Center ticket office at 715-386-8409 or visit for a complete season schedule.

‘The Snow White Variety Show’ & ‘The Snow Queen’

Two children’s theater productions performed by students enrolled in summer theater camps will be offered at The Phipps Center for the Arts in Hudson, Wis.

“The Snow White Variety Show,” by Brain D. Taylor, featuring young actors in grades 7-9, will be performed Friday, July 19 at 12 noon and 2 p.m., with limited availability, as well as Saturday and Sunday, July 20 and 21 at 2 p.m. In this wild and fast-paced comedy, Snow White’s famous story is told on the TV show “Real Talk with Fairytale Legends.” At any given moment, the story can be anything - romance, comedy, home improvement show, suspense, Western, epic poetry, mystery, cooking show, stand-up routine, or blockbuster action movie.

General admission tickets are $7 for this one-hour production in the Black Box Theater.

“The Snow Queen,” by Will Ledesma, featuring young actors in grades 5 and 6, will be performed Thursday, August 1 at 1:30 p.m., Friday, August 2 at 7 p.m., as well as Saturday and Sunday, August 3 and 4 at 2 p.m. Kay and Gerda are the best of friends until a piece of an enchanted mirror finds its way into Kay’s eye, causing him to see the world in a cold-hearted way. Soon taken by the Snow Queen, Kay forgets his happy life. Gerda must go on her own journey to find him, encountering many interesting characters along the way. Overjoyed to finally find Kay in the Snow Queen’s palace, Gerda must help Kay find hope again by solving a puzzle before they can escape. General admission tickets are $7 for this 40-minute production in the Black Box Theater.

Reservations may be made by contacting The Phipps ticket office at 715-386-8409 or online at There are convenience fees for online orders.

Summer Art Camp Classes

Summer Art Camp classes for ages 4 through teens in visual art, pottery, art & nature, theater, and dance are being offered through August 9 at The Phipps Center for the Arts in Hudson, Wis.

Openings remain in most classes with class fees ranging from $44 to $379. For working parents or those with busy summer schedules, before and after care is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for $10 per day with advance registration.

Examples of classes with room for more students are Pottery on the Wheel (ages 7 – 12), St. Croix RiverFest: Deluxe River Exploration (ages 8 – 14), and Duck, Duck, Duct Tape! (ages 9 and older) during the week of July 15. BEE the Change with Plantables (ages 8 – 12) during the week of July 22 is just one of the classes still accepting enrollments.

For complete descriptions, class fees, and to register, go to, call 715-386-2305, or stop by the center.

Ballroom dance parties

Ballroom dance parties are offered on the third Saturday of every month June-September, from 7 to 10 p.m., and the first and third Saturday of every month October-May in the dance studio of The Phipps Center for the Arts in Hudson, Wis.

Tom Larson will offer a dance lesson during the first hour. The tango and cha cha will be taught July 20. The nightclub two-step and hustle will be taught August 17. 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.

For further information, contact The Phipps Center at 715-386-2305.

Voice lessons offered

Margaret Jane Wray, a dramatic soprano with an international reputation, offers private voice lessons on Thursdays at The Phipps Center for the Arts in Hudson, Wis.

Wray made her debut with the Metropolitan Opera in 1987 as Annina in Verdi’s “La Traviata.” She was quickly identified as one of the most talented young artists in the field and success soon followed. Wray went on to appear in lead roles with many of the world’s leading opera companies, including the Metropolitan Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Seattle Opera, La Scala, the Bavarian State Opera, the Berlin State Opera, Opéra National de Paris, La Monnaie, L’Opéra de la Bastille, Oper Frankfurt, Teatro Regio (Turin), Théâtre du Capitole, Teatro Massimo Bellini, Opéra de Nice, and Welsh National Opera, among others.

In addition, Wray has had a prolific career as a concert artist appearing with many of the world’s finest conductors and great orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, and National Symphony Orchestra, among others.

She and her family have lived in Hudson for 18 years.

Wray teaches a classical technique: breathing and vocal production, which can be applied to musical theater, pop, and jazz styles.

The fee is $30 per 30-minute lesson, and $45 per 45-minute lesson, which is the most common length for a weekly lesson. For further information, contact The Phipps Center at 715-386-2305.

Calling All Creatives for The Phipps Members’ Spotlight

Together, members of The Phipps are a creative network joined by the belief in the center’s mission to “celebrate the creative spirit.” All members are encouraged to share their unique creative talents in the 2019 Members’ Spotlight and connect with other members who have similar creative inclinations. Those who are not members are encouraged to join today and participate in this exciting event. A contribution of any amount qualifies one for membership.

Online entry forms are due July 19. For membership information, as well as submission guidelines and entry forms, go to

Submissions are sought in any and all forms, including, but not limited to, visual art (drawing, painting, mixed media, photography, sculpture, video, installation, pottery, jewelry, textiles, glass, etc.); architecture and design; clothing design; theater design (costume, sets, makeup, lighting, concept art, etc.); performing arts (drama, music, dance, spoken word, comedy, poetry, storytelling, etc.); as well as poetry and prose writing.

The Members’ Spotlight exhibit will run through September 8, and Open Stage Performances will take place on Thursday, August 1, during the public reception from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Participants may submit up to two items to be shown in The Galleries exhibit, and/or sign up to play music, sing, dance, act, or present another creative talent as part of the Open Stage Performances.

The Phipps is located 15 miles east of St. Paul. Take Hudson Exit 1 off I-94, Hwy 35 North, and turn west on Locust Street.

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