The Free Press, Mankato, MN

September 19, 2013

News and notes: 'Puppet Problems' debuts, MSO on MPR, Bethany's busy weekend

By Tanner Kent

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Putting on a full-length production without a fixed venue isn't easy — but the Mankato Mosaic Theater Company is doing just that.

Mosaic is kicking off a trio of performances for "Puppet Problems," a comedic drama about foul-mouthed puppets who ruin the lives of those with whom they come in contact, at 8 p.m. on Friday at the Mankato Event Center. Performances continue 8 p.m. on Sept. 27 at the Mankato Brewery, and 8 p.m. on Sept. 28 at the What’s Up Lounge. (For more info or tickets, visit

“Puppet Problems” was written by Mitch DeDeyn and is adapted from a short play of the same name. The piece is directed by Leslie Dupree Cady.


The Mankato Symphony Orchestra was featured on last week's Regional Spotlight hosted by Classical Minnesota Public Radio.

The recording of Schubert's "String Quartet in C Major" is from a March 2013 performance that was part of MSO's chamber music series, Music on the Hill. Musicians include violinists Karen Kim, Lydia Miller and Sam Bergman, and cellists Eugena Chang and Hanno Strydom.

To listen to the performance, use this link:

Busy days at Bethany

Bethany Lutheran College is hosting a slate of upcoming fine arts events:

• BLC's Theatre Department is marking the 20th anniversary of its annual and uproarious variety show Theatre Physics by inviting back a few of its best-remembered performers.

Though instructor and producer Peter Bloedel said he's unable to elaborate without divulging surprises, he did say that more than a dozen alumni will be joining a cast of about 10 current students. Among the returning performers is a pair of long-graduated twin brothers with a juggling act that remains "one of the most memorable acts ever," Bloedel said.

Theatre Physics is an annual tradition that began when Bloedel was asked to fill a slot for a one-act play during Bethany's fall kickoff performance. A juggler himself with an interest in vaudeville theater, Bloedel decided instead on a variety show — and the rest is history.

Performances are 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. on Sunday. All performances held in the Sigurd K. Lee Theater, Ylvisaker Fine Arts Center.

There is no charge for admission, but patrons are welcome to make a donation. Shows fill quickly, so advance reservations are strongly encouraged. To reserve tickets in advance, contact the Bethany Box Office 1-5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays at 507-344-7365.

• Pianist Ralph Votapek is performing 7 p.m. today in BLC's Trinity Chapel.

Votapek is a winner of the prestigious Naumburg Award and Gold Medalist in the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. He's been featured no less than 16 times as the Chicago Symphony's guest soloist and has frequently played with Boston Pops. He will be joined in the performance by wife Tina Votapek, with whom he has recorded several TV programs aired on PBS.

Tickets — $8 for adults and $5 for students and seniors — will be available at the door one hour before the concert begins.

• In conjunction with the Fall Festival, Bethany's Fine Arts Department is hosting Arts on the Green 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.

The all-ages event is free and open to the public, and includes art activities, inflatable games, food vendors and live music. In addition, the Bethany Band will perform "Noah," a newly commissioned piece by Lee Johnson, during a free performance at 3 p.m. in Trinity Chapel.

For more about Bethany events, visit