FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CURT WOLLAN, FOUNDER OF TROUPE AMERICA,
SAYS FAREWELL TO PLYMOUTH PLAYHOUSE AFTER FORTY YEARS
Hit-making impresario behind Church Basement Ladies—and many more—moves on
PLYMOUTH, MINN.— November 29, 2017— After an amazing and influential forty years, production company Troupe America and its founder Curt Wollan are ready to take a final bow at the Plymouth Playhouse. The suburban Plymouth, Minnesota theater has been Troupe America’s home since 1988 and Wollan’s since 1978. Wollan is leaving the venue to focus on other directing and producing ventures.
“Looking back upon this incredible run, I’m extremely grateful and proud of the work we’ve created and shared with the Plymouth Playhouse as our home,” said Wollan. When I founded Troupe America three decades ago, I could never have anticipated how blessed we’d be to create amazing characters and send them into a world that welcomed them with laughs and so much enthusiasm—and the Plymouth Playhouse was the launch pad for the majority of our ideas.”
The Plymouth Playhouse, formerly the Radisson Playhouse, opened in January of 1974 under the banner of Don Stolz Productions. In 1978, Wollan directed a show there for the first time for the Minnesota Music Theatre. In 1981, under the banner of Stage Two Productions, his first production company, the Twin Cities Drama Critic’s Circle recognized the Plymouth Playhouse with three “Kudos” Awards for the Jesse James Musical, Diamond Studs, which won Best Production, Best Choreography, and Best Direction. By 1988, Troupe America was born and opened with the area premiere of Nunsense at the theatre, The new production company made Plymouth Playhouse its principal production venue.
It was from the Playhouse that Troupe America developed its long run of successful original and area premiere musical comedies. Shows like Pump Boys and Dinettes, The Lovely Liebowitz Sisters, the How to Talk Minnesotan series, Cottonpatch Gospel, Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?, A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline, Ring of Fire, and —of course— the Church Basement Ladies series, entertained several generations of audiences. And it wasn’t just Minnesotans who delighted in the characters that Troupe America brought to life. Most of the Playhouse productions resulted in national tours spreading the Plymouth Playhouse name to all 50 states and Canada.
FPO quote “It’s breathtaking to look back on the extent of Curt’s contributions to our musical theater culture,” said Greta Grosch, performer and writer of works including many of the Church Basement Ladies series. “Troupe America allowed him to combine his skills working with performers with his smart business sense and his drive for originality, and the best thing about collaborating with him over the years is that it always felt like play! The result of all his hard work is these shows and characters that live on as regional and national touring productions bring them to life for new audiences. It’s a huge accomplishment, as is the fertile environment for artists he created. And of course, for all the performers, writers, and composers who have worked with Troupe America, we truly cherish his creation of a place where we could become family to each other.”
Wollan’s work as a producer will continue on a national level. He’s also keeping busy with his long-running summer production, The Medora Musical, a unique show in North Dakota’s historic town. The Plymouth Playhouse has not yet announced a new tenant for their theater.
A sale of lobby furniture, theatre fixtures and equipment, posters and autographed posters will take place at the theatre December 28th and 29th from 1pm to 7pm.
The last production, The Looney Lutherans in Hold the Lutefisk: It’s Beginning to Smell a Lot Like Christmas, opens Nov. 1 and runs until Dec. 23. Tickets for Hold the Lutefisk! are available for $29 and up. Group discounts are available. Visit the Plymouth Playhouse website for more information, or call 763-553-1600, ext 1. For group sales, call 763-383-1073.
Troupe America produces original musical comedies, including Church Basement Ladies which opened at the Plymouth Playhouse in September 2005 to a response so enthusiastic that its initial run lasted two-and-a half years. Five sequels have expanded the universe of these familiar and beloved “Steel Magnolias of the Prairie,” making Church Basement Ladies the most successful show in Troupe America’s 30-year history. Millions of Americans discovered a heartfelt connection to its deeply funny church matriarchs through regional and national touring productions, as well as myriad other productions like Pump Boys and Dinettes, How to Talk Minnesotan, and Ring of Fire. For more information and tickets, visit plymouthplayhouse.com.