Pop-up plays WWII

On September 18, 19, 25, and 26, History Alive Lanesboro will host a walking tour and series of plays. This unique theater experience features many local World War II veterans’ tales. After months of oral interviews, “Pop-up Plays: Lanesboro WW 2 and Beyond” brings to the stage local accounts of soldiers in D-Day, German prison camp, the Norwegian resistance, Japanese nurses in Rochester, Minn., and farmers growing food for Europe. Area veterans Orval Amdahl, Don Ward, Bob Earley, Dr. Westrup, Paul Abrahamson, Ruby Nelson, Signe Soma will come to life again. Many have descendants in the region.

Shows are at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on September 18, 19, 25, and 26. Walking tours meet at the Sons of Norway Lodge, 200 Parkway Avenue South, and include four blocks of walking over an hour and a half. A donation of $10 per person is suggested. All shows indoors if it rains. In case of COVID surge, all plays will be outside. Non-vaccinated audience are asked to mask in the indoor scenes to protect children, as they have no vaccine.

The show includes a recreation of the royal visit of the Norwegian Prince and Prince to Lanesboro in 1939! This followed their visit to La Crosse, Wis., the same day. The popular culture of daily lives after the war will surround viewers with live swing music by CBB Jazz band, vintage cars, sci-fi hero Buck Rogers, Andrews Sisters music, and the Hormel Girls. Watch Disney movie clips created by local artist Rudy Elstad in our vintage St. Mane Theater. Cast includes 38 area actors, musicians, and singers, both professional and volunteer. Jane Peck is the playwright and artistic director.

This will be the sixth show by History Alive Lanesboro, each a unique production of a different era of local history. The audience moves around our historic Southeast Minnesota town with character guides to outdoor and indoor scenes in locations of the actual events. This year all locations will be handicapped accessible.

The plays are researched by Jane Peck with the assistance of the Lanesboro History Museum’s extensive archives of photos, obituaries, newspapers. Jane interviews many local residents about their memories or their ancestors. History Alive Lanesboro is a Minnesota nonprofit educational and performance group that tells stories of families from Lanesboro and the region. More information available at historyalivelanesboro.org and Facebook.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Southeast Minnesota Arts Council thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. Many thanks to our individual donors.