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Starbuck (Luke Reidenbach, Arden Hills, Minn.), a charismatic con man, offers hope to a Midwestern town beset by a severe drought, and to Lizzie (Katie Gherty McNabe, St. Paul), a woman whose life is at a crossroads in The Phipps Center for the Arts production of "The Rainmaker," by N. Richard Nash. Other favorites from Phipps productions include Jim Reidenbach as H.C. (Norman Thayer Jr.
Comedian Scott Novotny will offer Acting for Adults - Improvisation/Comedy on six Mondays, Jan. 21 through Feb. 25, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., culminating in a performance on Thursday, Feb. 28, at The Phipps Center for the Arts. Using the fundamentals of improvisation, participants will learn how to help create scenes, improve their acting confidence, and develop interesting characters while working on improvisational exercises and games. "Bring out the inner child in you. Come have fun and learn how to be an improvisational actor at the same time," encourages the instructor.
Hudson swan enthusiast Barry Wallace will lead a Swan Walk and program as a Hot Air Affair countdown event on Saturday, Jan. 12. The free program starts at 10 a.m. at the Hudson Area Library, then moves down the path through Lakefront Park to watch Wallace feed the hundreds of trumpeter swans that spend the winter in Hudson. The group will reconvene at the library to view a movie about swans and draw for door prizes.
The congregation of St. Peter Lutheran Church in Afton, Minn., is celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2013. On Jan. 13, The Green Lake Bluegrass Band will perform at 2 p.m. with fellowship to follow. The band plays a wide variety of music including Irish, Gospel and folk tunes. The church is located at 880 Neal Ave. S. in Afton.
Nationally known vocalist Jearlyn Steele, a regular on Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion Show, will be the special musical guest at Bethel Lutheran Church's Highlands campus at the 9:30 a.m. worship service on Sunday, Jan. 13, along with the Bethel Chorale and Bethel's New Song Band. The service will celebrate the life, ministry and impact of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The Willow River Nordic Ski Association will be offering cross country ski lessons for adults on Saturdays, Jan. 5 and 12, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Nature Center. Skiers must provide their own equipment. Traditional stride (classic) and skate skills will be taught. Cost is $10 per person plus vehicle admission payable to the instructor the day of the class. Funds will go to the Willow River OWLs, the park's Friends group. Lead instructor Wally Milbrath is a lifelong skier with experience in both skiing styles. Sign up at the park office or call (715) 386-5931.
Youth Action Hudson's fifth Annual Hudson Youth Have Talent Show! on Friday, Jan. 11, at 7 p.m. at Hudson High School auditorium. Each youth has a chance to win a cash prize of $100 or $50. Along with their cash prize, this year's Audience Choice and vocalist winner will perform with American Idol finalist Reed Grimm on Feb. 1, at Hudson High School. The public is invited to the vote for a talented performer. Tickets are available at the door $5 for students with ID and $10 for adults.
"Majestic Flyway" will be the theme of the 2013 Hudson Hot Air Affair winter festival and hot air balloon rally. The annual event will be Feb.
Theater classes for students in grades 1-6 will be offered on four Saturday mornings, Jan. 19 - Feb. 9, at The Phipps Center for the Arts. Masked Fairytale Production for students in grades 1-3 will be offered from 9 to 10 a.m. Students will develop a ten-minute performance based on popular fairy tales. On the first day, the actors will each make their own masks for the characters they choose to portray in the story.
Have a history buff on your holiday guest list? You won't be disappointed to find all manner of biography and serious history new to bookshelves this winter. For starters, try "Geronimo," by Robert Utley (Yale University Press, $30). Utley a National Parks historian traces the Apache's reputation as it changed from killer and plunderer, to Native American icon, to prisoner of war to what Utley calls our most famous Indian. Writing about Geronimo isn't an easy task thanks to the U.S. War Department's handling of Geronimo's story from his point of view.