Lee: I was in Acoustic Cafe today Doug and they are even happier and friendlier than usual.
Lee: And then I went over to Goltz’s Pharmacy and they told me that it feels like the Christmas Eve.
Doug: Is something happening in Winona that I should know about?
Lee: And Nostallja Studio reported a sighting too. And have you seen Bubs? I just like saying that, sorry. In fact we are getting email from all over town that it must indeed be time.
Doug; Time for what? Did I miss a new Holiday or something?
Lee: Not a bad idea Doug. We should make it a holiday because it means a lot of money will be spent, and fun will had, and friends will be coming home-
Doug: I see where you’re going now-
Lee: Not going, but coming. You’re back here full time again Doug. Come here, let me hug you-
Doug; Calm down Lee-
Lee: Calm, I am far from calm. The other Great River Guy is home, and so are all of the almost one hundred actors, production artists and staff, interns and apprentices.
Doug: The Shakespeare Circus is back in town!
Lee: And that means summer is almost here, and the our local economy is getting a nice boost, did you know there are over forty local businesses that recognize that and have joined our Great River League? They know that to partner with Shakespeare makes good sense and is fun too. Each of those folks we mentioned already is a GRL member. And over at Plasticomp, Zoe, their exchange worker from France, has had such a good time at our events this Spring- she’s going to be a Friend of Will and volunteer this Summer.
Doug- There are many ways to get excited and pitch in!
Lee: Winona is all abuzz as our favorite artists and friends are settling in to make some new memories for us all.
Doug: Great River Shakespeare is different than all the other Festivals in town for many reasons. First because we are here for fifteen weeks not just a few days-
Lee: Most people think it is only six weeks of plays- but somebody has to make our donuts.
Doug: That’s right Lee. We don’t just produce great works or present great artists that tour around the country- one night here, the next night there-
Lee: We become part of the community. Heck, many of us live here year round. And each summer we set up shop and build our work right here from the ground up.
Doug: We stamp our product- Made in Winona! We have actors rehearsing in the Minnesota Conservatory For the Arts, thanks to a generous partnership with St. Mary’s, and there was not enough room for our expanding programming this year-
Lee: So the good folks at Cotter have pitched in with a sweet deal for space in one of their studios.
Doug: Our costume shop is set up in MCA as well, and our Artisans are already sewing and stitching away-
Lee: While over at the newly named Vivian Fusillo Mainstage in the WSU Performing Arts Center- our sets and lighting crews are beginning the transformation to turn of the century Winona for The Merry Wives.
Doug: It takes six weeks of rehearsal to create six weeks of fine theater, and countless hours of hard work.
Lee: And that means we could still use your help. We have just a bit more funding still to make all these great events and wonderful plays come to life. Our donation budget was 614,000 dollars this year and we have 480,000 of it raised.
Doug: So when you see your favorite actors in the Hy-Vee or the Co-op or at Midtown Foods, or getting gas at Severson’s or Gordies’s make sure you say hello-
Lee: But then think about become one of those 450 new sustaining sponsors who are celebrating Shakespeare’s 450th birthday this season.
Doug: That’s right. 450 more sponsors and we will reach our goal and allow these great artists that love WInona so much to come back year after year.
Lee: And remember today is Hug Your Shakespeare Day, so when you see someone with their WOW button, give them a hug.
Doug: Is that the best you could come up with?
Lee: Come here, you-