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County Seat Theater Company to present 'Christmas Belles'

The County Seat Theater Company will present "Christmas Belles," sponsored by Community Memorial Hospital, at the Encore Performing Arts Center. The show will run Nov. 30 through Dec. 2 and again Dec. 6-9. Performances will be at 7:30 p.m., except for Sundays when there will be only a 2 p.m. matinee (which are already sold out).

This comedy by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten is set in Fayro, Texas, in the days leading up to Christmas. At the center of the action are the three Futrelle sisters or, as they are described by a snobbish rival, "the fertile, the flirt and the felon." That would be Frankie (portrayed by newcomer Jennifer House), who is pregnant and overdue with a pair of twins; Honey Raye (Annette Gannucci), who never met a man she didn't like; and Twink (Ruthie Zissos), just released from jail after setting her ex-boyfriend's NASCAR memorabilia afire. Needless to say the Futrelle sisters are not exactly in a festive mood.

Actress Etta Souder, who plays the role of Patsy Price, the affluent busybody that makes everyone's skin crawl, describes the play as "a Futrelle family circus." Honey Raye is attempting to direct the church Christmas program, the likes of which no one has ever seen before. Frankie's husband, Dub (played by Michael Rosen), is trying to make extra money as Santa, but is struck with unbearable pain. Raynerd Chisum (Rick Breuer) loves Christmas and insists on pulling his red wagon as part of his portrayal of a shepherd. Miss Geneva (Jill Hoffman) is really angry for being replaced as the director. Pastor Justin (Jeff Anderson) and G.J. (Jodie Jurek) are in a strained romance. Rhonda Lynn (Colleen Biskey) is a walking happy-pill with a secret. And Deputy Buntner (Frank Milder) is just trying to hold it all together as each disaster unfolds.

"We have all had an exceptionally fun time with this script," said director Cheryl Kramer-Milder. "The clever comedy comes fast and the characters are outrageous, but we love them as we watch them struggle along toward Christmas."

"Our Christmas shows are always very popular," said general manager Joel Soukkala. "We already have a few shows that are sold out, and a few additional private shows. We have one snow date, but there will be no holdovers of this production, so get your tickets fast."

Tickets can be reserved by calling the box office at 218-878-0071 or online at

A special art show opening will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 28, from 6- 7 p.m. in the Encore gallery. The show will feature pieces by local artists and is open to the public as a free event.

Since 2008, the County Seat Theater Company has been located in the Encore Performing Arts Center, 2035 Highway 33 S. (on Frontage Road), Cloquet. The theater offers a full season of local performances, as well as youth productions, musical acts and has an art gallery featuring work by local artists.