A sweeping musical hits the stage at Anoka-Ramsey Community College this weekend, and reminds us of who we are, and where we came from.
Rural Minnesota provides the backdrop for the production of "Sweet Land, The Musical." The story takes place shortly after World War I, and follows the trials and tribulations of a bachelor farmer in his quest for a wife.
Caitlin Sparks plays the role of a young German woman who comes to Minnesota, fresh off the boat from Europe.
“My role in Sweet Land is Inge Altenberg,” said Sparks. “She is a German immigrant who comes to Park Rapids, Minnesota in the 1920s to marry a Norwegian farmer, Olaf Torvik.”
It’s a heartfelt story, written by Twin Cities-based writers, Perrin Post and Laurie Flanigan Hegge. The writers worked with the cast of student actors at Anoka-Ramsey, in rehearsals, and provided some rare guidance. The playwrights will attend the opening night performance of their musical. Afterwards, they will conduct a talkback session of the show with audience members.
“These playwrights are also from Minnesota, they really love their scripts,” said Logan Douglas, who plays the role of the farmer, Olaf Torvik. “They love their music, and when they were made aware that we were going to be doing their show they were so excited, they really wanted to get hands-on in our production here."
Director, Scott Ford is In his 33rd year in the theater department at Anoka-Ramsey. "Sweet Land, The Musical" marks only the second time Ford has worked directly with playwrights on a stage production at the college.
The broader theme of the musical looks at how people can feel like an outsider, within a community. “Sweet Land” is a down to earth show, which is certain to connect with Minnesota audiences and beyond.
"Sweet Land, The Musical" opens Friday, February 14, followed by performances on Feb. 15, 20, 21, and 22. All shows start at 7:30 p.m. at the Anoka-Ramsey Community College Performing Arts Center in Coon Rapids. Tickets can be purchased online or at the door on the night of the performance.