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It's a summer for the ages at the Encore

"Wagons, ho!" exclaims Wagon Master Emma Cid in the County Seat Theater Company's summer musical "Go West!" Contributed Photo1 / 2
Participants in County Seat Theater's children's theater rehearse the musical “Go West! A Musical Celebration of America’s Westward Expansion.” Contributed Photo2 / 2

The Encore! Performing Arts Center and Gallery is bursting with actors of all ages as well as entertainment for all ages this summer.

The County Seat Theater Company is currently in its second week of Children's Theater.

"More than 180 kids are participating in our programs this summer," said General Manager Joel Soukkala. "Many of the kids come back year after year and we are always are happy to see new young faces join our theater family as well."

The County Seat Theater hosts four weeks of its musical theater for children from first grade and up every summer. More than 40 kids participate every week from all over Carlton County and even a few from out of state learning the ins and outs of theater.

"We hope to inspire these kids and we want them to know that they can do it," said Soukkala. "With all the fun they are having, they don't even realize some of the important life skills they are learning."

This summer they are performing the half hour musical "Go West! A Musical Celebration of America's Westward Expansion." The show is co-directed by Soukkala and Regina Roemhildt.

Each week the young actors rehearse from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday perform two shows at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. on the Friday. Remaining performances — each with a different cast — are scheduled for June 23, Aug. 4 and Aug. 18.

There are still a few spots left for the week of Aug. 14-18. If interested, contact the theater right away to get a spot.

Tonic Sol-fa — July 5

At 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 5, the Encore is thrilled to bring its audiences the rich and wonderful a cappella song stylings of Tonic Sol-fa, the most in-demand vocal group in the Midwest. Midwest Music Hall of Fame acclaimed, Emmy winners and Grammy considered Tonic Sol-fa have sold two million CDs worldwide and with lush harmonies, live and vocal percussion, they truly bring a cappella to new heights.

"We are so excited to have an amazing group like this performing in Cloquet," said Soukkala. Nearly half of the tickets are already sold for this event, so reserve early by calling the box office. There is a reduced ticket price for early reservations.

Bedtime Stories — July 14

At 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Friday, July 14, the County Seat Theater Company will present the one-act comedy "Bedtime Stories (As Told By Our Dad) (Who Messed Them Up)" by playwright Ed Monk and directed by Aleyse Chapin.

It's dad's turn to tell his three rambunctious kids their bedtime stories, but when he gets fuzzy on the details, the classics get creative. You may think you know your fairy tales, but not the way dad tells them.

"This is going to be a fun week for our teens," said Soukkala. "The stories are fun and clever and would be a great show to bring young children to see."

Auditions are open for teenagers at 6 p.m. Sunday, June 25. Audition packets are available online or just show up. The program is similar to the children's theater with rehearsals running from July 10-14 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For questions on any of these events, or to purchase tickets, call the box office at 218-878-0071 or go online at

Now celebrating its 30th anniversary, the County Seat Theater Company has been located in the Encore Performing Arts Center, at 2035 Highway 33 South (on Frontage Road) in Cloquet. This non-profit 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.