Tricounty News

Kudos to Camelot

Last week I announced that one of our goals as a newspaper is to encourage what's good and positive in our communities.

A prime example of just that finished up this past weekend.

The Kimball Community Playhouse presented its summer musical, Lerner and Loewe's Camelot. They've already scheduled next summer's musical, The Wizard of Oz. Oz will mark the tenth anniversary of KCP's summer musicals. In the past, they've done Grease, Music Man, Fiddler on the Roof, Honk!, Oklahoma, Annie.

So what makes KCP a "success story?" Ten years ago, having a community playhouse, especially in a town of barely 600 residents, was just a dream. But it was a dream shared by a few people who took that spark of an idea and made it a reality. Since its inception nearly ten years ago, a number of people have shared that dream and contributed to its success.

The Kimball Community Playhouse is governed by a board that includes members from many age ranges and several geographic communities. (It's certainly not just for Kimball!) It is the board that determines which plays the KCP will perform, for instance.

Today, the KCP board includes president Jody Markgraf, V.P. Candy Stewart-James, sec. Sue O'Donoghue, treas. Lisa Specht, Helane Gentz, Jack Mayala, Robin Dockery, Jeff Gilpatrick, Shirley Gilpatrick, Brian Tagney, Kelly Traurig, and Lindsey Pramann.

No production would happen without a cast and crew. Actors and technicians from all around central Minnesota have performed in the various KCP productions. Most of them are volunteers. These essential participants have included a number of high school and college students, housewives, farmers, at least one minister, firefighters, teachers, and a number of total novices. A few have gone on to perform in productions in college or in other communities. The actors and musicians are more visible, but there are a number of individuals, literally behind the scenes, who are busy for weeks and months building and painting stage scenery, creating costumes and props, and creating the programs, posters and tickets for each production.

And one can't forget the supporters. Yes, each ticket purchase helps support KCP. But there are a number of corporate and individual sponsors without whose financial support none of this would have happened.

In a sense, then, the Kimball Community Playhouse represents an ideal example of a grass-roots organization being developed from nothing and evolving into a wonderful community asset. The KCP benefits us all in a number of ways: it provides a creative outlet for a number of us just "itching" to perform, it presents locally produced entertainment at least twice a year (with the summer musical and the winter dinner theater), it is an example of cooperation at its best (with other production companies, costume companies, businesses, and this year the Renaissance Festival, for example), it can pull whole families into the process (which is always a good thing), and it adds to the overall artistic and cultural atmosphere of our community.

Camelot was just the most recent production by KCP. And it certainly won't be the last.

You can check the KCP Web site at for production schedules as well as opportunities to get involved yourself.