Visit to St. Croix Off Broadway was a revelation

'Boeing Boeing' cast

Hudson native Kelsey Hansen, top left, plays a flight hostess from Atlanta in St. Croix Off Broadway's production of "Boeing Boeing." The other actors, clockwise from Hansen, are Lydia Orvis, Augusta Lane, James Plante, Jacleen Olson and Mark Bradt.

It was long overdue, but last Saturday night (Oct. 15), my wife and I finally took in a show at St. Croix Off Broadway Dinner Theatre, located in the Best Western Hudson House Inn.

We went to see Hudson native Kelsey Hansen in “Boeing Boeing” – and are glad we did.

The 1960s farce by Marc Camoletti offers a lot of laughs and was well-performed by the cast of six professionals.

Tony Curtis and Jerry Lewis starred in the 1965 film version of “Boeing Boeing.” That gives you a pretty good idea of the type of entertainment you’re in for if you decide to attend a show. Four performances remain –Friday and Saturday nights, Oct. 21-22 and Oct. 28-29 – according to the theatre’s website, www.stcroixoffbroadway.com.

It’s a fast-paced comedy about an American businessman living in Paris who has three fiancées. The fiancées are all airline flight hostesses (in the parlance of the day). He’s able to keep them all happy with the help of a flight-schedule book and an exasperated housekeeper. That is, until the airlines buy new, faster Boeing jetliners – and the hostesses’ stays in Paris overlap.

Bernard’s (James Plante) old college friend from Green Bay (Mark Bradt) comes to visit at the same time, and as they say, hilarity ensues.

Bradt, who came out to schmooze with the diners/audience before the show, was particularly good in the Jerry Lewis-role of a nerdy innocent who warms up to the jet-setting lifestyle – and German hostess Gretchen (Augusta Lane), in particular.

The timing of the cast was perfect, which was a feat considering the snappy dialogue and quick entrances and exits of the hostesses.

Hansen, who wowed audiences in Hudson High School productions, has grown as an actor. Her Gloria, the belle from Atlanta, was spot on – right down to the sharply cut red hostess uniform and matching heels.

James Zimmerman, a UW-River Falls theater arts professor, is the owner of St. Croix Off Broadway (with his wife, Jill) and directs the plays.

He’s recruited former students for actors, including Hansen, Plante and Bradt in “Boeing
Boeing.”

St. Croix Off Broadway is in its sixth season. I’m embarrassed to say that I haven’t
supported it in the past, and suspect there are a lot of Hudsonites like me. I intend to mend my ways. What I saw was quality theater, right here in town.

The price of dinner and a show ($52) is no doubt a hindrance to some. You can reduce it attending just the show ($40), and still have the ability to enjoy a glass of wine and
dessert (at an extra charge).

Next up for the dinner theatre is “Don’t Hug Me, I’m Pregnant,” which opens Nov. 25.

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