Sunday, March 10, 2013

Get to Know the Cast of "Music Man"...Martha Keenan and & Ben Gunderson

Cast of Characters for "The Music Man" Continues...

Martha Keenan as "Eulalie Mackechnie Shinn"

Martha Keenan and her husband, Tom Keenan (Harold Hill) started with CVFT in "Joseph" in 2003.  "Tom was doing photography for CVFT and came home and said "We have to get involved in a show there, it looks so fun", said Martha.
The duo has done "Joseph", "White Christmas", "It's a Wonderful Life", and now, "The Music Man". Tom was also in "Cinderella" as the King. The duo are dearly loved by all on and off the stage.  
The two met while performing in a singing and dancing group called Young Americans in 1982. They share the love of performing, making people happy and making people laugh. Martha said, "If  I can take their minds off the troubles in their lives for just a little while i feel great- CVFT has been a place that balances great talent and superior shows with fun and lasting relationships, no envy or competition , just a family feel and the satisfaction of putting on quality uplifting shows." 

Today is the final performance for "The Music Man" on the Chanhassen High School stage. There are tickets but not many -so please call the box office if you plan on attending what is being called, "the best CVFT performance I've ever seen!"...952-250-7206.

'"The Music Man" also features one of our younger members, Ben Gunderson as Winthrop Paroo. Ben is a wonderful addition to the CVFT family. His mom and dad have also played a huge supporting role behind the scenes in making the show a success.

Ben is a Chaska Middle School West 7th Grader who started in "The Music Man " in July 2010 as a chorus member. He has also played Randolph Mcafee in "Bye Bye Birdie" in 2011, and was a horse in CVFT's "Cinderella" as well as a Thief in "Oliver!" 2012.

When asked why theater, Ben said, "LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!! Love to perform live!". Ben also thinks CVFT is "The BEST organization ever!  Best productions! Best Directors! Best EVERYTHING!!!".

Ben has also performed alongside his sister, Leah, who joined him on the "Cinderella" stage. Ben sys, CVFT is also like a family to him filled with wonderful people, talented people and great fun productions. 

Ben alongside Claire Shinners who plays Amaryllis in "The Music Man"

Thanks to all cast and crew for a wonderful production. We are looking forward to the final show today at 2:00 PM. Please join us if you can. or 952-2500-7206.

CVFT Insider and Musical Theater Lover

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Director Notes...Meet Joan Nelson

Vocal Director Brings "The Music Man"to Life!

Joan Nelson and her talented husband Dan Nelson

Chaska Valley Family Theatre is thrilled to have Joan and Dan back within the fold of creating yet another smashing theatrical success. "The Music Man", now in the final run of the show has been proclaimed "fantastic" and "the best CVFT show ever" by patrons attending the performances last weekend. 

I guess that should have been expected...Well-known songs such as "Ya Got Trouble" and "76 Trombones" and many more have been expertly crafted to near perfection by Vocal Director Joan Nelson, who has spent her career as a high school choir and musical theatre teacher. Over the last twelve years, Joan has made her mark in the Twin Cities as Vocal Director and actress for CVF and the award-winning Minnetonka Theatre.

By her side, both on stage and off, Joan's husband Dan Nelson, is a talented performer in "The Music Man" cast. A Partner at Best and Flanagan by day, Dan is featured as "Olin Britt" in the School Board Quartet by night. Joan has worked with the group over the last eight weeks and the effort has paid off. "I love working with the quartet and hearing their continuous improvement.  Barbershop quartet music is very, very difficult and these four gentlemen have brought a lot of talent and a huge amount of hard work to this project.", said Joan.

In addition, the husband and wife team have been active volunteers in the Minnetonka School District, at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in south Minneapolis, as well as serving on as Board of Directors for foundations and organizations. Dan just skied 55 kilometers in the Birkebeiner cross-country ski race Joan also volunteers regularly at the Animal Humane Society.

The talent team hopes to see you at one or more of the final performances of "The Music Man" at the Chanhassen High School Theatre stage this weekend. 
Tickets are still available at or by calling 952-250-7206. 

Friday, 3/8 and Saturday, 3/9 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, 3/9 and SUnday 3/10 at 2:00 p.m.Tickets are $15 for adult and $10 for youth 17 and younger. Discount pricing available for groups of 10+


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Get to Know Our Leads: CVFT's "The Music Man"

Cast Conversations continue: Tom Keenan as"Harold Hill"

"The Music Man" Opened March 1, 2013 to rave reviews.  Running this weekend at ChanhassenHigh School, stars: Tom Keenan as Professor Harold Hill and Marina Jurica-Preston as Marian Paroo.

Tom Keenan

Q: What is your day job?
"I am a USPS Carrier in Chaska and have been for 20 years."

Q: First show?
"My first show was 1979. I played a bottle dancer in Fiddler on the Roof."  

Q. Why theater?and why CVFT?
"Entertaining people and hopefully bringing a smile to thier face brings me joy. The stage allows me to extend both vocally and physically into all sorts of characters that are fun to explore. Theater expects you to "Color outside the lines" and I love to use all 54 Crayolas!"
"CVFT is a group of individuals who unite in a common purpose. Great people who enjoy being creative with one another with an emphasis on clean family fun. I think this is my 5th show. Don't ask me to pick a favorite- loved them all."

Q: Tell us a little about the character you play in "The Music Man"
"Harold Hill thinks he has the world under his thumb. The great pupeteer directs all to meet his needs when sudden love brings clarity to his worldview. In an instant others become his priority and humility engulfs him. Hmm, reminds me of real life somehow?"

Q; Any pre-show rituals?
"Lots of water, stretching both the vocal chords and body for 1 hour and finally prayer that in all things God be glorified by my 120% effort."

Q: Any final thoughts we should know about you?
"I met my wife 30 years ago on a stage in Michigan. Now after raising our 4 lovely children its such a pleasure to be able to continue our theatrical journey together here with CVFT."

The real behind the scenes sweethearts of the stage. - Tom Keenan and his talented and hilarious wife, Martha Keenan, playing the Mayor's wife, Eulalie Mackechnie Shinn.

Get your tickets today!