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SCVST Ends 41st Season with Musical Success

By Lisa Stratton [photos]

AUG. 17, 2007--Amid thunderous applause, the curtain fell on the closing performance of the St. Croix Valley Summer Theatre's 2007 season on Aug. 11.

The last performance of the troupe's term showcased Disney's "High School Musical," the stage version of the blockbuster Disney Channel hit. The production , starring many of the region's youth, had a triumphant run of 10 shows, drawing a huge crowd of new theatre patrons to the stage of SCVST's home, the Blanche Davis Theatre at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

Erik Quam, a member of SCVST since 1992, returned this year to direct "High School Musical" after a three-year absence.

"The highlight of my season was opening a show with a 100 percent sold-out run. 'High School Musical' ended up being the most successful show in the 41-year history of SCVST," says Quam. "I'm hoping we can ride 2007's wave of success and come up with yet another great season of theater for the entire St Croix Valley area."

Quam was also quick to acknowledge the efforts of the company's managing director, Michael Norman.

"Mike deserves all the credit for putting together a stellar season with a great lineup of shows. He has a great sense of what appeals to our audiences and he did a fine job selecting a season," says Quam.

Norman, whose experience with SCVST began almost 30 years ago, is an emeritus professor of journalism at UWRF and author. His theater experience is considerable, having appeared in productions such as "Oklahoma!," "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," "Guys and Dolls," "On Golden Pond," "My Fair Lady," and "The Miracle Worker."

Norman says much of the recognition for the company's long life goes to those who fill the theater's seats.

"Without our loyal audience we wouldn't even exist," says Norman. "So, our collective hats off to them for their tremendous support this year, and through all the years SCVST has been on campus.

"We were very, very fortunate to have had so many extraordinarily gifted actors and technicians in all three shows," he continued. "So, to them, I say a heartfelt thanks and my best wishes for a successful career in whatever profession they pursue. If theater is going to survive, it needs to figure out ways to bring in new audiences. A wonderful production like 'High School Musical' is one way to introduce folks to the glorious fun that is live theater. I hope they return again and again, not only to the St. Croix Valley Summer Theatre, but to any live theater opportunity they may have."

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