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Marilyn Monroe — and others — to perform in Luverne

Jorie Kosel plays Marilyn Monroe in the Holiday USO Show taking the stage at Luverne's Historic Palace Theatre next weekend. (Submitted photo)

LUVERNE — Jorie Kosel will be coming to Luverne next weekend to grace the Historic Palace Theatre stage, but she’ll also be visiting family.

Kosel, the granddaughter of Bill and Judy (Buus) Miller of Luverne and the great-granddaughter of Mary Buus (formerly of Lismore and now of Luverne), will portray famed actress/performer Marilyn Monroe in the Holiday USO Show, set for 7:30 p.m. Dec. 1 and 2 p.m. Dec. 2 at the theater. It’s the second time Luverne has welcomed a USO show, and Kosel was also in the previous production.

“My grandparents are the people who told me to reach out,” said Kosel, who subsequently chose to audition. “For the last show, I sang ‘Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend,’ and sang a few other songs she performed in her films.”

It wasn’t the first time Kosel had portrayed the actress known for such classic cinemartic comedies as “The Seven Year Itch,” “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and “Some Like It Hot.” She played Monroe, she said, in a college production, and enjoys performing jazz standards in the role.

Kosel, who resides in the Twin Cities region, has had her fair share of roles over the course of her young career. She grew up in the Fargo-Moorhead area and took part in multiple theater productions during her high school years.

“Because I grew up in that area, I had access to a few things,” she said. “I also grew up singing in a church and my family listens to a lot of music, so having that in my life at a young age attracted me to musical theater.”

After high school. Kosel headed east to Pittsburgh, Pa. and attended Point Park University, from which she would graduate with a bachelor of fine arts in musical theater. She had the opportunity to perform during two separate trips to Scotland during her college years. Then, she made a move made by many who aspire to careers on stage.

“I actually went to New York and was there for three and a half years and did some work, and then recently came back to Minneapolis and have been working in that area for the past year,” Kosel explained.

Kosel did appear in a 2014 full-length film, “Not Cool,” and well as the short “Gold Star” that same year. She’s spent far more time in theater, though, and continues to enjoy performing in musicals and variety shows such as the Holiday USO show. For this production, Kosel did a little of bit of research to determine what songs she might perform as Monroe.

“I listened to Rosemary Clooney and Peggy Lee and all of these older musicians of the genre, and then i found the stauff I thought i could sing as Marilyn,” she said.

Kosel will sing six songs in next weekend’s show, Among them will be “Santa Baby,” during which she’ll be accompanied by the Fulda Area Big Band (under the direction of MIke Peterson, who directs the “Amazing” Worthington City Band during summer months). She’ll also perform “Baby It’s Cold Outside” with Frank Sinatra — played by Todd Eckart (who also takes on the roles of Dean Martin and Elvis Presley — and the band.

“There’s tons of great source material to draw from, which is amazing,” Kosel said of playing Monroe. “She’s not a character; she’s very much a real person. I think it’s fun to give her a little more depth. I don’t think she ever got to play a wholesome type, so it’s kind of fun to give her that opportunity.”

The Holiday USO Show also includes Luverne’s Sandbulte Sisters (Amy, Wendy and Heidi) performing together as the Andrews Sisters. They are directed by their mother, Sue. Bill Johnson, who’s from Las Vegas and is a world-renowned Bob Hope impersonator, stars as the emcee.  

Tickets for both shows are available at the Palace Theatre box office or by calling (507) 283-4339.

“I definitely think it’s something that can be enjoyed by anyone,” Kosel said.

Ryan McGaughey

I first joined the Daily Globe in April 2001 as sports editor. I later became the news editor in November 2002, and the managing editor in August 2006. I'm originally from New York State, and am married with two children.

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