Cherry Orchard traveling theater production will use local talent too

Linden Hill hosting play at the Musser Mansion 

By Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer

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The Cherry Orchard was written by Anton Chekhov, the last play before his death in 1904.

The Friends of Linden Hill are pleased to be hosting performances of ‘‘The Cherry Orchard” at the Musser Mansion, July 18-22. The play by Anton Chekhov is presented by a traveling group of six professional Minnesota actors combined with four local actors and local musicians.

The Cherry Orchard has already been performed in historic homes in Sleepy Eye and New Ulm, and will be presented in Kenyon, Little Falls, Taylors Falls, Worthington and Blue Earth yet this summer.

It is directed by Darcy Engen, theater director at Augsburg College. Engen’s husband, Luverne Seifert, is one of the professional actors in the production.

The project was formed from two desires: Engen wanted to do a Chekhov play in an actual house, and Seifert wanted to do a play in the New Ulm-Sleepy Eye area, where he lived until he was in seventh grade.

“We chose ‘Cherry Orchard’ because it deals with the issue of foreclosure and we thought that would resonate with communities where farms have been foreclosed on,” Seifert said.

The Little Falls performances will host 50 audience members. Actors, dressed in period costumes, will lead the audience members from the music room of the Musser Mansion into different areas of the home, where they will watch scenes and intimately experience the interplay of the characters at close range.

Other scenes will move the audience outside to the yard and porch of the property.

The play will feature live music performed by local musicians.

The production is funded in part by an artist initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board.

“Laura Jane Musser was a strong supporter of culture in Little Falls,” said Jan Nelson, Linden Hill director. “She invited many internationally- known artists to Little Falls, and often invited high school classes to attend events at her home.”

Performances will be Wednesday – Saturday, July 18-21 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, July 22 at 7 p.m., with matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets are $10 and $15.

“We’d like to offer blocks of tickets to area businesses and other groups,” Nelson said. “With seven performances, 350 tickets are available.”

For more information, call Linden Hill at (320) 616-5580.