Entertainment for all: ‘Seed Folks,’ ‘Dueling Pianos’ hit Memorial Auditorium next week
WORTHINGTON — Comedy and culture collide in the best of ways when Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center (MAPAC) hosts two shows later next week.
First up is “Seedfolks,” an acclaimed production of the Minneapolis-based Children’s Theatre Company (CTC). But lest the sponsoring theater’s name scare away adults, be assured it’s a production for people of all ages.
“This is an incredible multi-media show with a full set and lighting that is suitable for everyone from age 8 to 80,” said Tammy Makram, MAPAC’s managing director.
Ivey Award-winning actor Sonja Parks capably brings more than 20 characters to life in this inspiring story about an immigrant neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio, that is positively transformed by the presence of a community garden.
“It’s about a little girl in the projects who plants seeds her father gave her, and the other people from all walks of life and age groups who add their seeds to the garden and whose lives interact with each other,” explained Makram.
Based on a book by Newbery Medal-winning author Paul Fleischman, who adapted the story for the stage, “Seedfolks” premiered at the CTC in September 2014 and has since been performed at several other major theaters around the country — and even in South Africa.
“We’re one of only four cities in Minnesota to get ‘Seedfolks,’” said Makram, sharing that its presence in Worthington is made possible by a Minnesota State Arts Board touring grant.
“This is a tremendous opportunity to see this wonderful show, and for a fraction of the cost it would be in the Cities.”
Thanks to the grant, all students will be admitted free, although they need to obtain tickets for the reserved seating performance.
“And ‘Seedfolks’ will be presented twice for area middle school students on Thursday and Friday,” added Makram. “But adults shouldn’t miss this one, either.”
The week’s second highlight involves two presentations by the laugh-a-minute, undeniably talented Deuces Wild Dueling Pianos team.
Musician/comedians David Eichholz and Ted Manderfeld promise to light up St. Patrick’s Day for all comers, with a somewhat tamer 2 p.m. Saturday show and a 7 p.m. performance geared more toward an adults-only crowd.
“They roll comedy and music into one giant ball of fun, and they create a fun party atmosphere at each of their shows,” said Makram.
“This will be a fantastic way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day because these guys are wonderful musicians and fabulous all-around entertainers.”
While headquartered in the Twin Cities, Eichholz and Manderfeld travel nationwide and have performed more than 1,700 shows together over a span of 14 years.
“They’re so popular that I had to book them two years in advance,” said Makram. “They’re truly the premier dueling piano performers in the country, and they focus on helping everyone have a great time.”
Besides the high-energy entertainment promised by the Dueling Pianos duo (and it’s worth noting that their show consists not only of keyboards but also of vocals and numerous other instruments — trumpet, saxophone, harmonica and guitar, to name a few), Round Lake Winery will be on site and other refreshments will also be for sale.
“St. Patrick’s Day doesn’t get any better than this,” guaranteed Makram.
Tickets for “Seedfolks,” scheduled for Thursday at 7 p.m., and “Deuces Wild Dueling Pianos,” with shows at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, are available at the Memorial Auditorium Box Office, 714 13th St., Worthington, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays. Or call 507-376-9101 or visit friendsoftheauditorium.com. There is a reduced price for advance purchase of tickets; all seats are reserved.