From the keyboard of an actor!

Monica Peterson (pictured in front on the left) and her fellow cast members of NUNCRACKERS! during a moment of serious contemplation.

I have always been a small-town person. I hail from a village of 350+ people located in the Red River Valley of lush North Dakota. I grew up where “pretty girls were on top of every hill and behind every tree.” For those of you who have BEEN to the Red River Valley – you get the joke. Small towns mean knowing everyone and everything that goes on. As I moved from one smaller town to the larger, small town of Alexandria I relied on my job as a means to find friends. After a while I started to wonder what other “circles of friends” I had not tapped into yet.  I have heard that if you want to meet “fun” people you go to the local tavern. If you want to meet “nice” people – you venture to Target or church. But what if there were a place you could find people that are both “nice” AND “fun?”

Let me introduce you to Andria Theatre.

It’s a place where people from any walk of life can come in and be a part of the family.It’s the place where Minnesota Nice meets Big City Fun…all in one historic old building in downtown Alexandria.

There are typically two trains of thought when it comes to community theatre. It is either “I am NOT a theatre person! I do not act and I certainly do not sing and dance!” Or in my case “Wait! I haven’t done a musical in 11 years…I am well past my prime.” At the Andria, those trains stop at the door. Just because you are retired, middle aged or still in high school – we want you. Can’t carry a tune in a bucket? Does not matter; join the family! Scared to audition because of a tattoo or piercing – we want you!

My first rehearsal I met a director who has more years in the theatre than I’ve been on this planet. I met veteran actors who have done as many plays as famous Broadway stars. There was another rookie who hadn’t done theatre since High School and me. I was scared out of my mind. I was starting to second guess my decision to get back out on stage. However, by the end of the first week of rehearsals, my comfort level was starting to grow. The cast and crew (small as we were) felt more like long lost friends than a group of total strangers thrown together. A few weeks later they pushed us in the deep end of the choreography swimming pool and it is safe to say I didn’t drown.

The cast of NUNCRACKERS! celebrating life at Andria Theatre, with arms open wide!

The experience with my first show reminded me of a good marriage; fun and lighthearted, difficult at times, emotional at others but totally worth the effort. Once we came on stage to a nearly sold-out house and heard real people laughing, I was hooked. I knew that being able to provide a little escape for my community was going to be in my blood for years to come.

Fast forward to 2021 and I am yet again on stage in that theatre marriage. I’ve met more wonderful people that I can call my friends. We laugh, we cry and we work hard night after night to make sure this show is a memorable experience for each person walking through the door. I love my Andria family. Won’t you join us?

Guest Blogger – Monica Peterson