50 Years of Little Theatre of Owatonna, Part Two
As part two of The Little Theatre of Owatonna celebrating their 50th anniversary, there was a roundtable at the Steele County Historical Society on Thursday, Jan. 14. Jerry Ganfield was the facilitator. The panel included Jefferey Jackson, Sharon Stark, Mark Kuklok, Tim Van Gelder and Gaylene Steckleberg. Part one discussed the history of LTO.
Jackson, an actor and director, says the director has "total artistic control," and has to have a vision that they can communicate to the actors and crew. A director will ask for suggestions and may or may not use them. Jackson has been acting since high school.
Kuklok started with LTO in 1992 playing trumpet in the pit orchestra. In 1997, he was asked to help with building the set of Bye, Bye Birdie. He told stories of a stage being half done and the director would say that will not work. Now that he has a computer he just puts in the dimensions and can work and rework the set until it will work.
Van Gelder, an actor, was on an interview and toured the theater. He and his wife chose Owatonna because of its strong arts program.
Stark discussed the costumes because Mary Gontarek called in sick. Costumers work with the directors with details of how many outfits and what time period. The local theaters trade and borrow from each other and costumes are not allowed to be altered. They also know a very nice lady in Kenyon for a supply of outfits. It was said that some outfits have to be two or three sizes too big because the actors may have more than one outfit underneath.
Steckleberg first started as a patron, then an actress, to sitting on the board in 1995. She is a scholarship chairperson. Since the beginning, 1969, the Vita Alexander Scholarship has given away $50,000 to 141 Steele County students. Family and friends of the late Sarah Foreman also set up a secondary scholarship to be given away. The scholarships are sustained due to earning 4 percent from each ticket, also from gifts and memorials. Steckleberg remembers starting to act in the 1950s with the Jack and Jill plays.