Sunday, February 24, 2013

Donna Reed Scholarship recipient to perform with ‘Les Miserables’ number at the Oscars

Ben Gunderson

Ben Gunderson was 2005 Donna Reed Foundation National Award Recipient in Musical Theater  

LOS ANGELES – On the eve of the Oscars, Ben Gunderson is feeling anything but miserable.

Gunderson, a 2005 graduate of Moorhead High School, is a cast member of the 25th anniversary touring production of “Les Miserables” and will be performing live with a special ensemble at tonight’s Academy Awards.

The 2012 film adaptation of “Les Miserables” is nominated for several awards tonight, including best picture, best actor and best supporting actress.

Gunderson and the “Les Miserables” group, which includes Oscar-nominated Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway, will take the stage at the end of a tribute to movie musicals.

Gunderson has been with the touring production of “Les Miserables” for 2½ years. He’s earned the title of dance captain, which means that he’s in charge of maintaining the show’s choreography.

Read the entire INFORM article by Sam Benshoof.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Auditions For "An Iowa Songbook" At Donna Reed Theatre February 28 and March 3

An Iowa Songbook

 Donna Reed Foundation looking for local talent for variety show to be performed March 23, 2013 as part of its American Icon Series – Focus On Iowa

Auditions will be held on Thursday night, February 28 at 7 p.m., and on Sunday, March 3 at 5 p.m., at the Donna Reed Theater, 1305 Broadway in downtown Denison, Iowa.

Participants should bring sheet music or a CD with background music for the song they wish to audition. An accompanist will be provided. Rehearsals are planned for Thursday and Sunday evenings in March leading up to the show. High school and adult performers are urged to audition.

Those selected for An Iowa Songbook will be asked to perform songs that are connected to Iowa. That includes songs from Andy Williams, The Everly Brothers, Meredith Willson, and Roger Williams, among others. Some songs will be featured from Iowa films, either made in or about the state, or that starred Iowa artists. For example, It’s A Grand Night For Singing from the movie State Fair will be one of the songs presented. There will also be songs from Television. Remember Johnny Angel from the Donna Reed Show?

“Iowans have had a profound impact on American Pop Culture,” said show director, Tim Tracy, “and we’re going to try to feature as many of those great songs as possible in this show.”

Any questions should be directed to Tim Tracy at 712-830-7669.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Free Community Cinema Screening at the Donna Reed Theatre, February 24 at 1 PM

Whitney M. Young, Jr.

The Powerbroker: Whitney Young’s Fight for Civil Rights


Whitney M. Young, Jr. was one of the most celebrated — and controversial — leaders of the civil rights era. The Powerbroker: Whitney Young's Fight for Civil Rights follows his journey from segregated Kentucky to head of the National Urban League. Unique among black leaders, he took the fight directly to the powerful white elite, gaining allies in business and government, including three presidents. Young had the difficult tasks of calming the fears of white allies, relieving the doubts of fellow civil rights leaders, and responding to attacks from the militant Black Power movement.

The screening is free to the public with concessions available for purchase. After the film, a discussion will be held with the audience.

Watch the Trailer for The Powerbroker

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

"Heeere's Johnny II!" Is A Big Hit

Kristie VerMulm and Jim Malmberg

Audience Gets Into The Mood

Over 300 people flocked to The Donna Reed Theater in downtown Denison, Iowa to see Johnny Carson impersonator Jim Malmberg do a reenactment of “The Tonight Show.” They weren't disappointed as “Johnny” interacted with Kristie VerMulm, KTIV news anchor, and Kelly Sonnichsen, Crawford County naturalist and her critters. Don Luensman, Director of Marketing & Development at Crawford County Memorial Hospital, made the job of sidekick look easy. In fact, people wondered if he had previously worked with Malmberg. Tim Tracey, former managing director for The Donna Reed Foundation, provided an Iowa musical component with an Andy Williams selection. 

Read Kristie VerMulm's recap of the evening HERE.