Casting Complete for “The Odd Couple”

Thank you to all that came out the first week in January to audition for this year’s spring show. We are excited to share the comedic team that will be performing in March with this production. Please join us in welcoming….

  • Jon Bigelow as Oscar Madison
  • Dennis Howard as Felix Unger
  • Elisa Mill as Roy
  • Jay Schueller as Murray
  • Mike Gainor as Speed
  • Steve Clemens as Vinnie
  • Jennifer Simonson as Gwendolyn Pigeon
  • Meagan Guptill as Cecily Pigeon

The cast will begin rehearsals at the end of this month in preparation for performances running March 19th – 22nd.


The Pine City Heritage Players will host auditions for The Odd Couple on Monday, January 6 and Tuesday, January 7 from 6:00 – 8:00pm at the Pine City High School Auditorium (1400 Main St S, Pine City).  Those interested in auditioning should enter through the main doors and check-in at the auditorium lobby.  

The Odd Couple, a Neil Simon comedy, premiered on Broadway in 1965.  The show was later adapted into a film in 1968. In 1985, the show was adapted by Simon into a new script, The Female Odd Couple.  The plot for both productions follows the story of two mismatched roommates and how their new living arrangements affect their friendship. 

The show will be directed by Nicholas Basta, a Pine City High School graduate and active member of the Heritage Players.  “Nick has been involved in several recent productions with the Heritage Players – on stage, as sound technician, and as a stage manager.  We look forward to seeing Nick take on the next step in his career as a director, “ says Board President Cassandra Olson. 

Basta is excited and eager to get started on the production and hopes that the upcoming show will draw in some new interest from actors.  “Our production team is hoping for a diverse group of actors to audition for the show. By selecting this particular show, we will have the flexibility to choose which version of the script we go with based on the best combination of actors/actresses,” says Basta. 

Auditions will be held as an open call for actors across the region for ages 16+ for this production.   The show will perform March 19 – 22, 2020.

Those interested in auditioning for this production should sign-up for an audition slot using this Sign-Up Form.

No advance preparation is required for the auditions, but the following links will provide you with some useful tools to prepare.

  • Print a copy of the AUDITION FORM and fill out ahead of time. Printed copies of the form will also be available for the evening of your audition.
  • We will provide examples of scenes from the show for cold readings. Links will updated on this page as soon as they become available.

Up Next: Songs of the Stage, September 21

The Pine City Heritage Players have announced the next “Songs of the Stage” event for Saturday, September 21st at 7:30 PM at the Pine City Country Club.  “We are always looking to try new things and explore new ways to showcase the many talented members of our organization,” says Cassandra Olson, Heritage Players President, “This event is in a new venue and we are excited for the changes we’ve planned.”

One such change for the event will be a VIP ticket that will include a taco bar before the show and the opportunity to meet and visit with the performers and board members of the organization.  The Heritage Players are planning for the VIP attendees to be the first to hear the 2020 Season Announcement. “We’ve never done a live announcement for our season, so we are hoping that our audience will get excited with us this year,” shared Olson.

The “Songs of the Stage” performances are held 2-3 times per year as a fundraising event for the enrichment and senior scholarship program started in 2018 to honor former board member, Harvey Lindstrom.  The September event will include songs including Crazier Than You from The Addams Family and Poor Unfortunate Souls from The Little Mermaid performed by one of this year’s Senior Scholarship recipients, Allie Gosen.  Gosen is a sophomore at Concordia – St. Paul where she is minoring in theater. 

Other returning singers include Rachel Bigelow, Scott Tolzmann, Cassandra Olson, Jon Bigelow and Signe Reisted.  The newest performers for PCHP include Ryan Skille, Briana Engh and Michaela Engh. The evening will be hosted by Elisa Mill as the emcee. 

VIP tickets are on sale through Monday, September 16th and can be purchased from Cabin Coffee’s and Three Twenty Brewing Company for just $20.  A limited number of tickets will be available at the door for the performance only. 

2019 Scholarship Awards

In 2018 the Heritage Players established a scholarship fund in memory of Harvey Lindstrom to provide enrichment opportunities for students in the region to explore their creativity in the performing arts. This year we expanded the scholarship program to provide funds for students interested in pursuing a degree in the performing arts.

We are pleased to announce this year’s scholarship recipients: Alexandria Gosen & Emily Elliot. We wish to congratulation both of these young ladies and wish them the very best in their future.

Alexandria Gosen is entering her second year at Concordia University, St. Paul. She has been an active volunteer with the Heritage Players for many years and has enjoyed her time acting in shows with the group. Recent appearances include Into the Woods (2019) and Shrek: The Musical (2018).

Emily Elliot is a recent graduate of Pine City High School and will begin her college experience next month at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. She has been actively involved in her church, volunteering for VBS programs, as well as volunteering with Heritage Players. Recent appearances include Once Upon a Mattress (2019) and Bye, Bye Birdie (2017).

Local art groups collaborate for Into the Woods… and From the Woods…

Tonight begins the 4 day adventure for “Into the Woods” produced by the Pine City Heritage Players under the artistic direction of Jay Schueller. The show is truly not one to be missed, but this summer production includes a new artistic collaboration as well. Those attending the performances this weekend will also enjoy a new art exhibit by Mike Gainor, “From the Woods”.

In April, the Heritage Players approached the Pine Center for the Arts with interest in collaborating to put up an art show with a similar theme for our summer production. Pine City is home to three fantastic, hard working arts groups, and we thought this could be an easy way to showcase another group during our production.

Mike Gainor, ‘Digital Mischief’ artist, would be the featured artist for the July exhibit for the Art Center, so he was the obvious choice to simply expand his exhibit for a second location. Did he have any art that might fit?

Mike’s response:

I didn’t, not really. With the ‘Digital Mischief’ art I’ve been making since 2015, nearly everything starts with my own photographs. But I’ve always loved the weirdness and power of these folktales and the idea grabbed my imagination. A little research led to  a digital treasure trove from the New York Public Library – high-quality scans of the original illustrations from the 1912 German edition of the Brothers Grimm, offered to the public free to download and clear of any copyright. And those illustrations by Phillip Grot Johan, Robert Anton Leinweber and Ludwig Beckmann were incredible, as you can see in the original versions of their work included here. 

In the book “Steal Like an Artist,” by Austin Kleon, there’s a great quote by Mark Twain. Twain said: “It is better to take what does not belong to you than to let it lie around neglected.”

So I started to experiment with these images, and the results are what you see. Sometimes it enhanced something inspiring about the original illustration. Sometimes it ended up heading in an very different direction. 

It was, frankly, a joy working on these images. It was fascinating and thrilling to take these tools I’d learned to use and deploy them in a very different way to interpret, adapt and reimagine these strange and beautiful illustrations. 

Folktales are about upsetting the natural order of things and then finding lessons in that disruption. They can be sweet, funny, moving and disturbing – often all at the same time. And they are endlessly compelling. We tell these stories over and over. We can analyze them and try to describe what they mean and why they are important. But there’s still a mystery to them. We will never get to the bottom of that mystery, and that’s exactly as it should be. 

Tickets are still available to see “Into the Woods” this weekend. Advance tickets will be available until NOON on performance day at the Chamber Office, Cabin Coffee’s or Three Twenty Brewing Co. Note: Cabin Coffee’s & the Chamber Office are closed on Saturday and Sunday. Online ticket purchases are also available on our website.

Congratulations to the cast for “Into the Woods”

The Heritage Players are excited to announce the cast list for this year’s summer musical, “Into the Woods”. Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. With auditions held on May 20th and 21st, there were over 40 community members that came out to audition for this show and we are grateful for all the support from our region in making these shows possible.

Characters in order of appearance:

NarratorMiranda Burger
CinderellaRachel Bigelow
JackNathan Kleppe
Jack’s MotherMary Ellen Sauser
BakerJon Bigelow
Baker’s WifeAllie Gosen
Cinderella’s StepmotherJennifer Hansmann
FlorindaMcKenzie Clemens
LucindaSigne Reistad
Cinderella’s FatherNick Basta
Little Red Riding HoodLydia Struss
Cinderella’s MotherCaron Peters
WitchDawn Barstad-Carpenter
Mysterious ManKyle Peters
WolfScott Tolzmann
GrannyJulie Samuelson
RapunzelLaura Michels
Rapunzel’s PrinceJake Loftus
Cinderella’s PrinceKyle Hansen
StewardThomas Yoder
GiantEmily Schueller
Sleeping BeautyKodi Maki

“Into the Woods” will be presented on Thursday, July 18 – Sunday, July 21 at the Pine City High School Auditorium and is presented in partnership with Pine City Community Education.

Audition Dates Set for “Into the Woods”

The Pine City Heritage Players will host auditions for Into the Woods on Monday, May 20 and Tuesday, May 21 from 6:30 – 9:00pm at the Pine City High School (1400 Main St S, Pine City) in the high school choir room.  Those interested in auditioning should enter through the main doors and check-in at the auditorium lobby.

One of Sondheim’s most popular works, Into the Woods is a musically sophisticated show in which James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim take everyone’s favorite storybook characters and bring them together for a timeless, yet relevant, piece… and a rare modern classic. The Tony Award-winning book and score are both enchanting and touching.

The story follows a Baker and his wife, who wish to have a child; Cinderella, who wishes to attend the King’s Festival; and Jack, who wishes his cow would give milk. When the Baker and his wife learn that they cannot have a child because of a Witch’s curse, the two set off on a journey to break the curse. Everyone’s wish is granted, but the consequences of their actions return to haunt them later with disastrous results.

“Into the Woods will continue the tradition in Pine City of quality theater entertainment,” says Director Jay Schueller, “the fairy tale stories will be familiar to many with a twist of dark comedy that makes them popular with today’s audiences. We are looking forward to what will be a challenging, yet fun, summer of collaboration.”

Auditions will be held as an open call for actors across the region ages 16+ for this production.   The musical will perform July 18 – 21, 2019. Any questions (not answered below) regarding auditions can be directed to

What to prepare for your audition:

  • Download a copy of the Audition Form and bring a completed form with you to your audition. We will have copies available when you check-in for auditions.
  • As part of your audition form, please bring with you a list of any school, work, church, vacation or other commitments that you may have for the summer.
  • Please come prepared to sing a song that will showcase your vocal range, skills & talents. We will have a piano accompanist on site to play music that you bring with you, or can provide speakers if you bring music on a digital device.
  • Based on your character selection, you may be asked to sing an additional song directly from the production. (Once scripts arrive, we will update this page with links to music for your review).

What else do I need to know?

  • We are currently planning for rehearsals to be held on Sunday, Tuesday & Thursday evenings. If you have a conflict with more than 2 rehearsal dates as identified on the audition form, please discuss your conflicts in detail prior to auditioning for the show.
  • As we are a community theater, we rely heavily on volunteers to help with set construction, box office volunteers, providing food for work days, etc. We encourage cast members and family members to take part in our Team Building + Set Building days! More details on that schedule will be provided in June.
  • All cast members will be given assignments during the strike of the show after the close of the matinee on Sunday. With dedicated volunteers…. we are often done by 6:30 or 7:00 PM and can enjoy a potluck cast & crew party before we part ways!

Applications Available for ‘Harvey Lindstrom Memorial Scholarship’

The Pine City Heritage Players Community Theater will expand its scholarship opportunities for students in the east central Minnesota area.  Two different types of scholarships will be available: Enrichment opportunities for grades 5-12 and Performing Arts Educational opportunity for college-bound students.  Both scholarships will provide a unique opportunity for community members to explore additional ways to expand their skills in the performing arts or pursue a degree in theater.

Both of these scholarships are made possible through the generosity of the Lindstrom family and fundraising during the “Songs of the Stage” events hosted throughout the year.  

In December 2017, the Heritage Players and the Pine City Community lost a treasured member. Harv Lindstrom lived his life with a servant’s heart and the Heritage Players were honored to have him serve on their Board of Directors. His family chose to honor his memory by donating memorial gifts to the Heritage Players, who decided to use those gifts to create the “Harv Lindstrom Memorial Scholarship”.

The enrichment scholarship is available for any student grades 5-12 interested in taking part in a performing arts enrichment program.  A few examples might include: an improv workshop, week long camps for theater, dance or vocal performing. This scholarship will be available year round for requests.  Students should submit scholarship requests with an eight week window prior to the start of the event for adequate processing time.

The second opportunity is a Performing Arts Educational scholarship, offered for students that will be pursuing a major or minor in the performing arts.  The complete set of guidelines and application forms can be found on the Heritage Players website. The deadline to apply for the 2019 scholarship will be August 1st.

Meet the Cast: a Prince, a Princess, a Lady and her Knight

Join us TONIGHT for the opening of “Once Upon a Mattress” with the Pine City Heritage Players and you can meet these hilarious and talented cast members!  Show begins at 7:00 PM…. and don’t be late!

Nathan Kleppe as Prince Dauntless

Nathan is a persistent theater goer and performer. He is acting in his fourth show with the Heritage Players including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream-coat, The Music Man, and Bye Bye Birdie. Other shows Nathan has performed in include, Beauty and the Beast, and Footloose. Nathan would like to thank his family for their constant support of his theatrical endeavors, Katy and Nick for putting up with his high emotions, and finally Scott Tolzmann for his hard work and leadership through this process.

 Miranda Burger as Princess Winnifred

This is Miranda’s 4th show with PCHP including “Shrek: The Musical,” “Arsenic and Old Lace,” and “Bye Bye Birdie.” She relishes her time on stage, but is active behind the curtain as well assuming her role as president of the Village Players board near her hometown in Wisconsin. Where she will be making her directorial debut this Summer with “The Grimm Brother’s Spectaculathon.” With a Major in Film and continued theatre experience under her belt, she plans to pursue both in her future. She’d like to thank her family for their reinforcement of her theatrical goals, her WI friends and co-workers for their never ending support (I love you Olivia!), and her Pine City folks for putting up with her in general. Miranda would also like to thank Nathan Kleppe for his incredible work ethic through this entire process. This has been one of her favorite groups to collaborate with on this roller coaster called “Once Upon a Mattress.” She’s beyond excited to bring Fred to life for you and she hopes you enjoy the show!

 Emily Elliot as Lady Larken

This is Emily’s third production on stage with the Heritage Players, and she’s excited to be back. Emily is a senior at Pine City High School and plans to pursue a degree in musical theatre after high school. Some of her previous roles include Belle in Beauty and the Beast and Veruca Salt in Willy Wonka. Emily’s has had a fantastic few months working with her talented cast and crew on this crazy show! She can’t wait for you to enjoy the show “In a Little While”!

 Calvin Cheney as Sir Harry

Calvin returns to the Pine City stage for his third   production with the Heritage Players.  He played the role of Mortimer Brewster for Arsenic & Old Lace and the Big Bad Wolf for Shrek: The Musical.  He has also performed with Play, Inc. Performing Arts out of Cambridge.


Meet the Cast: a King, a Queen and 2 wandering Minstrels

One that never speaks, one that doesn’t stop talking, and two best friends ready to cause a little trouble wherever they go….

Keith Bredeson as King Sextimus

This is Keith’s third production with Heritage Players. He has also worked with Play Inc Arts and ABC Theatre. Previous roles he has had include: Captain of the Guard in Shrek, Dr Einstein in Arsenic and Old Lace, Captain Keller in The Miracle Worker, Old Joe in A Christmas Carol and Dr.  Chausible in The Importance of Being Earnest. He has also been in the Chorus for My Fair Lady and The Producers.

Laura Michels as Queen Aggravain

Laura is very excited to be part of her favorite musical production! You may have seen her previously in PCHP’s Shrek the Musical, Bye Bye Birdie, or The Music Man. She is also one of the directors for North Branch Area High School, and is currently co-directing their musical set to perform in May. She majored in Technical Theatre at BYU-Idaho and is currently going to school to advance her degree. Laura works at Pine City High School in the Media Center and loves anything to do with music or theatre. She would like to thank her husband for being amazingly supportive (as always).

 Elisa Mill as Minstrel

Elisa has been a member of the Heritage Players since the original show depicting the first 100 years of Pine City.  She has been in too many productions to even count. Her acting experience began on the stage of Woodbury Jr. High School.  After teaching for 34 years in Pine City Elisa retired in 2012. She fills her days planning adventures and trying to do something productive everyday.

Mary Ellen Sauser as Minstrel

Mary Ellen began her acting career in high school as Juror #10 in Twelve Angry Jurors. She eventually graduated to named roles with the Heritage Players! Mary Ellen has performed in over a dozen shows such as Quilters, Nunsense, South Pacific, Steel  Magnolias, State Fair, and most recently in Arsenic and Old Lace.   A retired American History teacher, Mary Ellen enjoys knitting, golfing, reading, gardening, and walking in her free time. She’s excited about her sidekick in real life, Elisa, being her sidekick in this show!