Vaudeville-style variety show at the Orchid Inn, Aug. 20, a fun kick-off to the Corn Day weekend.
Luverne Seifert, who grew up in the Sleepy Eye area, is bringing his Sod House Theater to Sleepy Eye on Thursday, Aug. 20 to present their show The Hoopla Train with Yard Master Yip and his Polkastra.
Seifert is the son of Gerald “Snork” Seifert and nephew of Steve Holm of Sleepy Eye. His grade school years were spent at the country school in Iberia and he also attended St. Mary’s and Sleepy Eye Public School. Members of the classes of 1979 should remember Seifert as a classmate.
He attended high school in Howard Lake-Waverly where he started his acting career. “I tried out for a play in my sophomore year because a friend asked me to come along,” he said. The experience turned out to be a great one and Seifert remained active in theater throughout his high school years. “I had the part of Charlie Brown when we put on the musical You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown,” said Seifert. “And our school had a tradition of award winning one act plays that I was also involved in,” he said, explaining his love of theater as a teen.
He went on to study theater at Augsburg College and today holds a theater teaching position at the University of Minnesota. He said he tells his students that the study of theater provides them with fabulous skills. “They’ll develop a level of comfort and confidence as speakers and gain that “show must go on” mentality.”
Sod House Theater is an acting company founded by Seifert and his wife, Darcey Engen, who serve as artistic leaders. Engen is chair of the theater department at Augsburg College. Their acting troupe is on a 14-city tour, performing in historic ballrooms across the state.
Seifert describes Hoopla Train as a family-friendly Vaudeville-style variety show. “It is kind of a cross between the Lawrence Welk Show and Hee-Haw,” said Seifert. He said all ages, from little kids to the older folks enjoy the show.
The show includes a live talent contest for audience members and an opportunity to dance to upbeat polkas and waltzes that made ballrooms famous, accompanied by The Sleepy Eye Concertina Club.
“It’s great to come back to Sleepy Eye to perform to an audience that includes my family,” said Seifert. “Our cast is superb and we hope to fill the historic Orchid Inn with the song, dance and laughter that made it famous.”
The production is made possible in part by a grant provided by the Minnesota State Arts Board. Tickets can be purchased at BrownPaperTickets.com, and at the door.