Meet The Burnt Part Director and Stage Manager!

Hey. So, THE BURNT PART BOYS opens tomorrow. That’s pretty damn exciting. Man, we can’t wait for you guys to see this show. But, before all the opening night hoopla we want to take this last pre-opening blog post to introduce you to two very special members of the show’s creative team. Basically the two people, without whom, there would be no show.

 

And it also gives us a chance to thank them publicly for the incredible work they’ve put in on this show. We love them both very much and can’t wait to work with them again.

 

It’s the show’s Director, Peter Froehlingsdorf, and the show’s Stage Manager, Tonya Porter!

 

Peter Froehlingsdorf - Version 2Tell us a little about yourself

 

I have lived and worked in Duluth for a majority of my life. I attended the University of Wisconsin-Superior for my undergraduate degree and have a Masters of Education from the University of Minnesota Duluth. My first profession is being an educator, but I also wear a few other hats. I’m currently waiting tables for the Va Bene Cafe, I occasionally write for The Woman Today magazine, and direct and act in the Duluth community scene. When it’s not summertime, I reside in Helsinki, Finland and work for the International School of Vantaa.

 

How did you first get involved in theater?

 

I have a long history in theater. Like many others, I got my start early, in 7th grade at Virginia High School where I was cast in a musical called Teen. I played boy #1. I was hooked! I continued to do other high school and community productions while on the Iron Range. I was asked to direct my first show as a senior in High School for a neighboring town. I was really green, but somehow managed to bring people into the door. When I moved to Duluth I continued to act and direct at Ordean Middle School. Before I knew it, I was running a successful theater program with over 100 students auditioning for shows. The overwhelming support by the community validated my work both on and off the stage. I directed my first community show 13, The Musical, at the Duluth Playhouse several years ago and was asked back the following year to direct Les Miserables. That was an incredibly rewarding experience. And now, here I am at Renegade Theater working for the first time not only directing students but adults as well. I could have not asked for a better place to create this piece of art.

 

What drew you to this show?

 

I remember hearing The Burnt Part Boys at the kitchen table early one Saturday morning last summer. After listening to the opening song, God’s Eyes, I knew that this was a show that called my name. I wanted to tell this story. It has a strong message and the music and story are really well written. Often times you get a musical that is strong in one area or the other, but not both. This was certainly not the case with this show. It equally showcases soaring music and fantastic storytelling. After doing some extensive research and and speaking with the originally director of the off-Broadway production, the deal was sealed. Renegade was kind enough to hear my passion about the show asked me to produce it as part of their season. And after a year of playing with the show while in Finland, here we are!

 

How has the experience been?

 

Directing comes with a lot of ups and downs. It is not without work. A good director does their homework and makes sure they are set up for success from the start. The success of this show is mostly due to the amazingly talented group of actors and musicians I have on stage and the people sitting at my right side keeping me on track. I cannot say that there is a weak link in this chain. I have never had so much fun getting to know my company of actors and musicians in any show I have ever been part of. We have become a “Burnt Part” family. Rehearsals go by so quickly. They are the best part of my day. I cannot remember leaving a rehearsal feeling down-hearted or disappointed in any way. I know that the folks on stage who are continuing their journey in the theater have amazing things ahead of them. I would be honored to work with anyone of them again in anything I was to be directly involved in. I am a very lucky man.

 

Why should people see this show?

 

It’s about family and friends. We all have those right? The message will leave doors open for families to talk about issues that sometimes are not so easily dealt with. The theater is a wonderful avenue to allow open discussions for touchy subjects, especially ones like the death of a family member. I also know that people who love bluegrass pop-infused music will really walk away humming what they have heard on the stage. The Burnt Part Boys is really a show not to miss this summer. I can guarantee you are in for a fantastic journey as these 5 friends make their way to the Burnt Part.

 

tonyablog

Tell us a little about yourself

 

Hey there, I’m Tonya. I’ve been involved in quite a few local shows since my first community theater audition in 2009. I’ve performed at The Duluth Playhouse, the former Duluth Play Ground, the Scottish Rite Auditorium and the Bayfront Stage for two LOON productions, and at Renegade. This is my first backstage position as Stage Manager and I hope I’m doing a decent job at it! It’s fun to take in all aspects of putting on a show and it makes one extremely grateful for all that the backstage crew do!

 

How did you first get involved in theater?

 

I’ve always had a love of all things musical! My parents would take me to see touring productions at the DECC and I would sit at the edge of my seat absolutely riveted. I knew I liked to sing and that I wanted desperately to be up there doing it, too! I got involved in Prairie Fire productions one summer and then kind of put the whole acting thing on the backburner and focused mainly on choral things all through high school. A friend suggested I audition for Beauty and the Beast at The Duluth Playhouse in 2009, I made it, and I’ve been going relatively strong ever since.

 

What drew you to this show?

 

I’m going to have to agree with everyone else and say the MUSIC. I couldn’t stop listening to the music when Peter first told me to check it out. I knew I wanted to be a part of the production in any way possible and thankfully Peter took me on as his SM. Then we had auditions, put together the most perfect cast that was beyond anything we could have ever expected or hoped for, and it’s been a zero-drama, dream experience ever since.

 

How has the experience been?

 

See above. But no, without wanting to sound cheesy, the whole process has been fantastic. Everyone comes in prepared and ready to work. It’s truly inspiring. This cast feels more like a family than anything else and that works so well with how close these characters have to be. Our band is awesome. My fellow crew people ROCK. It’s been such a fun escape each night and I know I’ll feel a huge hole in my heart when it’s over.

 

Why should people see this show?

 

People should see this show because the songs and the story are beautiful, the cast is full of lookers that are delivering some of the best performances I’ve seen all year, and I could go on and on about how killer our band is. It’s something fresh and new and family friendly! And did I mention affordable? Check it out because you’ll seriously be missing out if you don’t!

 

The Burnt Part Boys Trailer – Extended Cut!

We are just ONE week away from the opening night of our Northland premiere production of THE BURNT PART BOYS! To celebrate the long hours and quick slices of pizza devoured with a wrench in one hand that is tech week, we thought we’d show you an extend cut of the trailer made by our very own Matt Helbacka.

 

We are beyond proud of this show, this cast and crew. We hope you’ll get your TICKETS NOW and join us for a truly inspiring musical adventure for all ages.

 

 

Meet The Burnt Part Choreographer – Jennifer Madill Hagen!

601286_4518453802926_727235164_nWe’re just over a week away from opening night of our Northland premiere production of THE BURNT PART BOYS, brought to you in part by the fine folks at Visit Duluth and Kevin O’Brien Realty)!

 

This fantastic musical is brand-new to the region, and has also given us a chance to work with some incredible local talent who making their Renegade debut with this show. Over the past few weeks we’ve given  you a chance to meet the members of the cast – both those familiar to Renegade audiences and those performing in their first Renegade show. 

 

But today we are beyond thrilled to introduce you to the choreographer for the show, the fabulous Jennifer Madill Hagen. Chances are you already know her, or know about her.

 

Jennifer Madill Hagen has been running the Madill P.A.C. with her husband, Dusty since 1999. She has about 500 students, which includes an award winning competition team, adult classes and a team of all boys that has won national honors. She recently won the Masquerade National Dance Educator of the year for 2013. She just wrapped up a run as the role of Lucy in Lundeen Production’s Jekyll & Hyde, opposite her husband Dusty. And yet she somehow not only found time to contribute jaw-dropping choreography to our production, but also to answer our blog questions!

 

How long have you been dancing/choreographing?

 

I have been dancing for 30 years (wow!) and have been choreographing for about 20 years.

 

How did you get involved in this production?

 

I have wanted to work with Katy and Andy and Renegade for as long as I can remember, so I was thrilled when Peter (the show’s director) asked me to choreograph!

 

How has the experience been?

 

It has been an absolute blast! The actors came ready to work hard, and that they did, learning so quickly and retaining the material almost on the spot! They were sponges, wanting anything I had ready for them.

 

Anything else you’d like us to know?

 

I was able to be part of Bryce (who plays Pete in the show) Crandall’s journey, teaching him dance at the studio. He heads off for college soon, so one last show seeing him do his thing has been awesome. I’m very proud of him and I think he will do big things in this theater world!

 

The Burnt Part Boys – Field Trip!

On Saturday, July 20th, some of the cast and crew of THE BURNT PART BOYS headed up to the Tower-Sudan mine for a little research, a little video shoot, and a little fun. Check out the photos from the visit, below, and then GET YOUR TICKETS to this incredible new musical, opening August 8th!

The cast and crew arrive at the Tower-Sudan Mine.

THE CAST AND CREW ARRIVE AT THE TOWER-SUDAN MINE

 

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JACE AND KIER SPEND SOME TIME EXPLORING TOP-SIDE

 

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INTO THE MINE #1 – THE EXCITED VERSION

 

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INTO THE MINE #2 – THE MALE BONDING VERSION

 

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INTO THE MINE #3 – THE UNEASY, ANGRY, GIDDY AND BEARDED MAN IN FOREGROUND VERSION

 

1070634_10100631317703052_1313161770_oBUT DON’T WORRY, EVERYONE MADE IT BACK SAFE

 

Meet A Burnt Part Daddy – Jef Crosby!

photoWe’re deep into rehearsals for the Northland premiere of THE BURNT PART BOYS, opening August 8th (and brought to you in part by the fine folks at Visit Duluth and Kevin O’Brien Realty)!

 

This fantastic musical is brand-new to the region, and much of our stellar cast is brand-new to Renegade. So, we’ve been spending some blog time in the weeks leading up to the show giving you a chance to meet the cast.

 

Next up is another local talent making his Renegade Theater debut – Jef Crosby!

 

Tell us about yourself

 

I am currently working at northern pacific ore dock in Superior WI building a marina on site and deconstructing the ore dock structure. I grew up in Duluth and have been in a number of local productions, from Equus at The Playground to Side Show with Lundeen Productions.

 

How did you get started in theater?

 

I got started in theater when I was in grade school with some small church productions, and school productions. I also sang in Lake Superior Youth Chorus which contributed heavily to continued work in the theater.

 

What drew you to the show?

 

I was drawn to the show by the wonderful music, intriguing plot line and having worked with Peter in Side Show I was eager to work with him again. Once the show was cast with such amazingly talented people I became even more excited to work through the process of bringing this show to life.

 

Why should people see this show?

 

The show is full of so many wonderful things, from Jace playing the musical saw, James yodeling, and the amazing voices that are in the show — this is one you wonʼt want to miss! Hope to see you there!

 

Meet The Only Burnt Part Girl – Kier Zimmerman!

photoWe’re deep into rehearsals for the Northland premiere of THE BURNT PART BOYS, opening August 8th (and brought to you in part by the fine folks at Visit Duluth and Kevin O’Brien Realty)!

 

This fantastic musical is brand-new to the region, and much of our stellar cast is brand-new to Renegade. But there’s a few familiar faces you may have seen on the Renegade stage before. Like this girl, for instance. She’s been in a few Renegade shows before, like “Spring Awakening” and “The Nutcracker” and now she’s got the honor of being the only girl in the cast of The Burnt Part Boys.

 

It’s Kier Zimmerman!

 

Tell us about yourself

 

I was born in New Orleans, but was raised up here in Duluth. Iʼm about to be a junior at East High School. Mentally, Iʼm a ten year old boy, so Frances the crude tomboy wasnʼt a stretch for me.

 

How did you get started in theater?

 

My parents needed something to do with a hyperactive and obstinate kid during the
summer, so they signed me up for nearly every day camp in the state. But one stuck for
good: theater. Since then Iʼve barely stopped for breath. I started by doing every
summer camp the Duluth Playhouse had to offer. I then moved on to their main
childrenʼs season, then the main stage productions. I then auditioned at Renegade and
found a whole new home here. Some of my favorite roles include Rhoda Penmark in
The Bad Seed, Puck in A Midsummer Nightʼs Dream, Mary Lennox in The Secret
Garden, Anna in Spring Awakening, Rosalind in As You Like It, and Clara in Nutcracker.

 

What drew you to the show?

 

I was originally hesitant to audition for this show, because it would tie up my summer in
the middle of December. But then I read it. I read Frances. I fell in love with her loyalty,
humor, and ferocity. From then on, I had my heart set on that part and that show.

 

Anything else you’d like us to know?

 

I want to shout out to the Playhouse Teen Summer Intensive. Iʼve been spending my
days assistant directing their Metamorphoses. Go see them and support teenagers
devoting their days to making great theater. Iʼm so lucky to have my days filled with that
group and to then get to come to Renegade to perform in the show of the summer!

 

Meet A Burnt Part Boy – Erin Miller

photoWe’re deep into rehearsals for the Northland premiere of THE BURNT PART BOYS, opening August 8th (and brought to you in part by the fine folks at Visit Duluth and Kevin O’Brien Realty)!

 

This fantastic musical is brand-new to the region, and much of our stellar cast is brand-new to Renegade. But there’s a few familiar faces you may have seen on the Renegade stage before. Like that guy to the left. If you saw “Spring Awakening,” you’re familiar with his work. Although he’s not singing rock this time around. He’s showing off his bluegrass chops.

 

It’s Erin Miller!

 

 

How did you get started in theater?

 

I saw my twin sister in The Sound of Music in seventh grade.  She said she had a lot of fun and after singing in a dance/choir group with her I auditioned for Cinderella the next year and was cast as the hottest prepubescent doorman in the kingdom wielding my mighty braces to shepherd the royal subjects to the ball.  After that I had the bug and auditioned for almost all the shows in high school until I came to UMD for musical theatre.

 

 

What drew you to this show?

 

After having a blast in Godspell at the Duluth Playhouse, I was excited to have the opportunity to do a show that was less episodic and had a more linear narrative.  The folk influence in the music also was something that caught my attention, too.  The music in this show is so unique and is packed full of movement and momentum, which makes the times it takes a step back even more moving.

 

 

Anything else you’d like us to know?

 

This is a show for all audiences.  Anyone who comes is going to take something away from it that connected with them.  It’s just one of those shows where even if we haven’t been at the exact same place or in the exact situation we can all relate to these characters and their story because we have felt the same way.  Come hear this amazing music!  That alone, I’d say, is worth a ticket.  “Keep lookin’ up!”

 

Meet A Burnt Part Daddy – Dereck Williams

Dereck PhotoWe’ve recently begun rehearsals for the Northland premiere of THE BURNT PART BOYS, opening August 8th (and brought to you in part by the fine folks at Visit Duluth and Kevin O’Brien Realty)!

 

This fantastic musical is brand-new to the region, and much of our stellar cast is brand-new to Renegade. So, we’ve been spending some blog time in the weeks leading up to the show giving you a chance to meet the cast.

 

Next up is someone you’ve previously seen play a zombie on Renegade Theater stage – Dereck Williams!

 

Tell us about yourself

 

I am a Hairstylist/Educator in Duluth. I have been involved in a number of area theater productions from Rent and Hair at The Duluth Playhouse to Cabaret produced by Lundeen Productions at Fitger’s Spirit of the North Theater, to most recently William Shakespeare’s Land of the Dead at Teatro Zuccone.

 

How did you get started in theater?

 

I was involved with theater starting way back in high school and then was not involved in anything until I was urged by a client and friends to audition for a local production about three years ago. I haven’t been able to stop since.

 

What drew you to this show?

 

I was definitely drawn to the music in this show. It is unlike anything else. I was also drawn to being in this show because of the people involved. The right people definitely make a show way easier and a lot more fun to be a part of.

 

Anything else you’d like us to know?

 

You must encourage everyone you know to see this show. The content and music of this show really fits the area we live in. We are neighbors to mining towns and bluegrass music is so popular in our music scene. This show is definitely not to be missed!