Friday, April 24, 2015

What Most of Us Never See

Tech week has finally arrived.  We know it's coming, but still, every year we comment on how fast the planning and rehearsal weeks flew.  I can't begin to understand or appreciate all the work that goes into transforming a gym into a festive playhouse.  I know that the set-up involves hours of grunt work, tall ladders that sway all to easily, and miles of heavy cable.  Applaud our set up crews when you see them. Here is what I know for sure that these crews do...

  • Pick up and deliver items from storage including stage stairs and flats
  • Hang the HAR curtain
  • Hang and focus lights
  • Program lights
  • Hang advertiser hearts and banners
  • Arrange backstage to accommodate flats and props
  • Run cables from light/sound area to front of house
  • Set up and dress tables
  • Set up and prep bars
  • Set up food service area
  • Prep dressing rooms for cast
  • Mark stage to indicate set piece placement
  • Prep backstage mic area

Oh, there's so much more but you get the idea. These set up and run crews are the all too often unacknowledged magicians for our show.  Much of this work will be done on Saturday, April 25.  The crew is lean.  Your help would be appreciated.

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Saga Continues

Catching up....if you haven't heard the tragic story of the toilet seat caper, here's an abbreviated version for you......

Kevin Hansen, HAR's seat artist,  gave me an extra seat he made commemorating the year we made our first million dollars.  I had it on display in the bathroom of my store for years until some jackass stole it.  I have a strong notion of how and when it happened, but since I didn't witness it, that's all Ill say.

Now, on to part II.

I didn't cry over the stolen toilet seat.  Well, not until last weekend, and boy, when the tears came, there was no stopping Where did this happen?  In the Honey Pot, of all places.  I stopped by on Saturday afternoon to congratulate my friend Cindy on her retirement and to see if she had any fixtures that might work in my store. 

I spotted it hanging on the wall in a tiny hallway.  No, not the stolen seat, but a beautiful seat from a later year.  I am sure that Cindy and her husband Cedric bid a generous amount on the seat, and even though I am sure I could not possibly match what they paid, asking if I could buy it was worth a try.  After all, my goal was and still is, to pass a seat on to whomever eventually replaces me in the organization.

Cindy was working with two young women who were sifting through a display of hundreds of charms. Crowded in the same area were 8-10 other bargain hunters, as well as many more scattered throughout the store.  When Cindy acknowledged me, I figured then was as good a time as any to ask.  "Hey Cindy, would you consider selling your toi....".  that's when it happened.  A random flood of emotions, followed by tears.  I attempted to choke out my  tale of woe, no doubt frightening some shoppers and annoying others.  You know when you try to hold back the sobs and you begin to gasp and quiver and turn red and blue and your nose runs?  All of that happened.  

I was aware of people staring and mumbling, but I didn't care.  I clearly heard one woman offer a prayer for me.  She said "Christ, get her some help."  Another said, "I'm not sure exactly, it sounds like she needs a toilet seat."  By that time Cindy had hold of my hand and was doing that annoying guidance counselor patting thing.  The two charms shoppers had slid away from me little by little, but still, I offered them my apologies. "That's OK", one of them said.  "We get it.  You want to buy a toilet seat, but really, you might have better luck at Menard's."

That was the end.  I ripped my hand from Cindy's grip.  Turning to leave, head hanging, I plowed directly into the chest of the husband of one of our HAR ladies.  When I cry, my nose lights up like Rudolph and my eyes puff like a pug dog.  Must have been pretty scary for him to be in a store packed with women but add my hysteria to the mix - agoraphobia might be looking real good to him as a result.  More.  I tripped over a pile of boxes as I fled to the door.

All in all, Saturday was a crappy day to buy a toilet seat.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Time to Get Your Crazy On for HAR 2015 - REMIX

2015 marks Heart-A-Rama’s 45th year of fund-raising fun.  To celebrate, producers and directors have chosen to revitalized scripts from the past, and sprinkle in a few new sketches. 

Anyone 21 or older is welcome to audition for “Heart-A-Rama Remix” at 7:00 on Thursday Feb. 5 or at 1:00 on Sunday, Feb. 8.

Auditionees for the approximately 25 available roles will read from a prepared script and sing a song of choice a cappella.  Everyone is asked to bring an accurate list of schedule conflicts for February, March and April to share with directors Bev Denor, Lisa Novachek, Jim Pautz, Ellen Peronto and Brad Zimmermann.  Individuals cast must be available to attend all scheduled rehearsals, and the dress rehearsals on Sunday afternoon, April 26, and Monday night April 27, as well as all performance dates, April 30, May 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9.Performances will be at the J.E. Hamilton Community House in Two Rivers.
The Heart-A-Rama creative writers promise a variety of laugh filled sketches featuring German singers, roundabouts, mistaken identity and plenty of musical numbers.
Biff Hansen will emcee the event.  Lisa Hagenow and Lindsey Mack will share choreography duties.  The Best Seat in the House, an artistically rendered toilet seat designed by Kevin Hansen will be auctioned off to the highest bidder.  General co-chairs, Tom Bartelme, Diane Hansen and Karen Schweitzer-Olson along with numerous committee chairpersons will bring together over 200 volunteers including performers, wait staff, artists, technicians, advertising and financial managers to staff Heart-A-Rama.

The 2014 six night program raised $88,500. Heart-A-Rama presented The American Heart Association Wisconsin Affiliate with a check for $79,650. The rest of funds raised stayed in Manitowoc County and were used to purchase AED’s, automatic external defibrillators, for Lutheran High School, Calvary Cemetery, School Hill Athletic Club and Wilson and Washington Junior High Schools for use in their natatorium areas. Non-profit organizations desiring an AED can send requests to Heart-A-Rama’s local funds coordinator, Sally Rasmuson at
 Heart-a-Rama’s 44 year donation total is 2469,402 with 97,615 patrons attending the show and generously supporting the cause. In 2014, Heart-A-Rama was voted the Best Special Event in Manitowoc County in a Herald times Reporter poll. Additional information about Heart-A-Rama can be found at, or on Facebook.  To inquire about auditions email