Saturday, December 20, 2014

12 Days of Shopping Local # 10

The Winterset Stage opened the doors of it's new space to the community just over a year ago on the evening of November 23rd, 2013. Since that time it has grown by leaps and bounds, offering an array of cultural experiences and opportunities to Madison County that truly sets our rural area apart from the rest.

For Christmas last year, I received a set of two season tickets to The Winterset Stage as a gift. This was a gift that truly kept on giving, because it provided us with built-in date nights clear through fall of 2014. We had a blast!

My hubby cleans up well, doesn't he?!
We were able to enjoy "Always, Patsy Cline"...

"The 39 Steps"...

"Smoke on the Mountain"...

and "Forever Plaid."

Season tickets for the 2015 season are available through December 31st, and they can be used together or individually. The upcoming Main Stage performances will be "Death by Disco" in April, a murder mystery; "Nunsense" in June, a fun flashback to our legendary local Apple Tree Players who performed that show in 1996; "Sanders Family Christmas" in July, which is the sequel to "Smoke on the Mountain;" and "I Do, I Do" in September, a musical celebration of life and love that spans 50 years.

Do you remember this performance by the Apple Tree Players? What a great cast!
It was sponsored by Madison County Health Trust, Inc.
If you'd like to give the gift of an experience together instead of stuff, The Winterset Stage is a great option. Besides season tickets, you could also purchase a couple of tickets to a specific show or event, perhaps including the pre-show dinner (select the dinner theater option). Dinner theater is available for all of the 2015 Main Stage shows, and it includes a full meal, beverage (including wine or beer this year, if you like), dessert served at intermission, and your selected show, for just $30 per adult ($27 for seniors). The Winterset Stage has partnered with Rudy's Restaurant to provide this fantastic food option, and the meals are usually themed to the show. They're also cooking up something special together for a Valentine's Day event at the Stage, featuring the popular band "Hot Tamale and the Red Hots."

Or, you could enroll your 1st through 9th grade student in the upcoming 12-week Children's Theater program and present them with a certificate for it under the tree. It starts on the first Saturday in January and runs through March. In the 10-week performance-based course, students learn discipline, teamwork, and self-confidence while they go through the procedure of auditioning and rehearsing a play, with a public performance at the end. This year's group will be split into two learning groups, 1st through 3rd grade and 4th through 9th.

My daughter loved it last year! (She's wearing the white rabbit ears.)
Cindy Stanbro, Founder and Producing Artistic Director, said "One of the unique things about a gift from the theater is that it's more than just things, it's experiences. It's that time together as a family, or a date night, or a ladies' night out. I think that's really important." In the year that they've been open, they've become a go-to place for celebrations. They have a group that goes there about once a month to celebrate birthdays. Cindy orders a cake and brings it out for them at intermission time, and they have coffee. A young girl recently had her birthday party there, with a meal in the cafe, followed by a performance of the Omaha Prime Quartet, who brought her up on stage and sang to her. If you have a special event, they can find a creative way to help you recognize it!

Gift certificates are available and can be purchased in any amount. They can be applied to any of the shows, programs, or events mentioned above, including treats from the cafe.

The goal of The Winterset Stage is to make theater accessible, fun, and part of the community's life. They have been very responsive to requests from patrons, too. The dinner theater came about due to people always asking if they served food, and the "Death by Disco" murder mystery started the same way. People have expressed interest in a professional children's theater production, and they're going to try that this year in February. Watch for upcoming information on the "Snow Queen!"

Supporting the stage provides opportunities for local talent to flourish. The jazz group The Flat 13th, who is playing a "Jazzy Christmas Reunion" show there tonight at 7:00, got their start there. Young actors in our area have been able to work alongside seasoned professionals. It's a platform for people to work on their showmanship, develop an audience, and let people know they've got talent.

Catch The Flat 13th reunion party tonight at The Winterset Stage, 7:00 p.m.!
I think that's what the Stanbros enjoy about it the most, seeing the community take ownership of the theater and making it their home.

To purchase tickets or a gift certificate to The Winterset Stage, stop by 405 E. Madison St. or find them online at Merry Christmas from Cindy and Jason Stanbro and family, and the gang at The Winterset Stage!

"On the 10th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...10 theater tickets