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  Tuesday January 27th, 2015    

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Setting the Stage campaign (05/04/2011)
From: Larry Jost

When we moved to our farm at the end of a secluded valley in Alma, Wisconsin a couple of years ago my wife Anne and I expected to discover many new and exciting things. What we did not expect to find was world class professional theater a mere 25 miles away in Winona. When our neighbors from out in the valley invited us to attend Loveís Labourís Lost at the Great River Shakespeare Festival our first summer here we were not sure what sort of theater to expect. Looking back I believe I must have thought it was a theater made up of volunteer directors and actors, but we love theater of all kinds and decided to give the Great River Shakespeare Festival a try, and are we glad we did. We were absolutely blown away by the quality of the production and the level of artistry we experienced in that first play we saw. The following 2010 season we saw Othello, The Comedy of Errors and The Daly News and left each with the same feeling of having seen exceptional performances by talented artists. I have seen Othello a number of times and the performance at GRSF was the most rewarding and emotional of all.

This is a true professional theater company with productions as good as any done anywhere in the country at regional theaters in big cities. We lived the prior 40 years in Milwaukee and had season tickets for all that time to The Milwaukee Repertory Theater, and in addition frequently attended the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre and other smaller professional theaters in Milwaukee. When we could we also attended plays in Chicago and Madison, and when I traveled on business I would see plays in other cities whenever possible. I am by no means a theater expert, but I do know that GRSF is very good. And the reviewers seem to agree. If you read a few of the reviews referred to on the GRSF website (grsf.org) you will see that they provide high praise for the plays performed in Winona.

It is expensive to stage the productions done at the Great River Shakespeare Festival and as with all non-profit theaters the cost of a ticket does not come anywhere near to paying that expense. As a result GRSF is in the midst of its Setting the Stage fund drive to help secure the future of the festival. Anne and I have made our three year pledge and we hope that many more people do the same to assure the future of this wonderful theater in Winona. Go to grsf.org/setting-the-stage to donate.



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