Escanaba in Da Moonlight Cast!

The Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts (RRCA) partners with veteran director Dr. Rick Plummer to produce “Escanaba in Da Moonlight.” A “laugh-out-loud” and “a super Yooper comedy,” Escanaba is a show you won’t want to miss!

One weekend only, the show will take place at the RRCA from April 26 – 29, 2018. “Rick directed it years ago at West Shore Community College. This new cast is amazing, and is the same team that brought you ‘A Tuneful Christmas Carol’ at the RRCA,” said Xavier Verna, Executive Director of the RRCA. Tickets are available now through or by calling 1-800-836-0717. Cast members include Greg Kjolhede as ‘Albert Soady,’ Jordan Sell as ‘Remnar Soady,’ Mik Mikula as ‘Rueben Soady,’ Jeremy D. Engwall as ‘Jimmer Nagamanee,’ De-Ahna Underwood as ‘Wolf Moon Dance Soady,’ and Bill Ferguson as ‘Ranger Tom T. Treado.’

Escanaba in Da Moonlight is written by actor Jeff Daniels and was premiered at the Purple Rose theatre in Chelsea, MI in 1995. The play is set in the present, with flashbacks to 1989, and located somewhere deep in the woods north of Escanaba in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. “This is hands down one of the funniest plays ever written.  Audiences howl with laughter at the ‘Up North’ shenanigans of some of the wackiest ‘Yoopers’ you’ll ever encounter,” said director Rick Plummer. “Escanaba is side-splittingly sophomoric and, ‘Holy Wha’–is it ever a scream for adults with a taste for slightly risqué yet riotous humor!” This show is not recommended for young audiences.

Escanaba in Da Moonlight is presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc., New York.

Manistee Jaycee’s Award RRCA executive director!

The Manistee Jaycee’s announced on February 26 the winners of the 2018 community service awards. The Jaycees announced that these are individuals in the community of Manistee that are being recognized for all the good things that they do. They were nominated by community members. Executive director Xavier Verna has been awarded the “Young Professional” award. “It was out of the blue! I did not expect that and I am humbled that the community voted for me. Thank you! said, Xavier. An award reception will be held to honor the recipients. The list of winners is below:

2018 Young Professional: Xavier Verna of the Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts
2018 Young Volunteer: A tie between Ben Crowley of Edward Jones, and Breanna Miller of the MHS Forensics Team
2018 Young Healthcare Provider: Amiee Patulski of Munson Manistee’s Emergency Department
2018 Young Educator: Bill Kinnunen of Casman Academy
2018 Young Public Safety Provider: Brian Gutowski of the Manistee County Sheriff’s Department
2018 Young Person Making a Difference: Jenna Johnson of the Michigan DNR

Congratulations to all of the recipients!

The MET Operas remaining 2017-2018 season (Time Changes)

Join us for the remaining Operas in the MET’s 2017-2018 Season of live HD movie theatre transitions.

La Bohème-Saturday, February 24, 2018 @ 12:30 pm
The world’s most popular opera returns in Franco Zeffirelli’s classic production starring a cast of young stars, including Sonya Yoncheva as the fragile Mimì and Michael Fabiano as the poet Rodolfo. Marco Armiliato conducts.

Semiramide-Saturday, March 10, 2018 @ 12:55 pm
This masterpiece of dazzling vocal fireworks makes a rare Met appearance—its first in nearly 25 years—with Maurizio Benini on the podium. The all-star bel canto cast features Angela Meade in the title role of the murderous Queen of Babylon, who squares off in breathtaking duets with Arsace, a trouser role sung by Elizabeth DeShong. Javier Camarena, Ildar Abdrazakov, and Ryan Speedo Green complete the stellar cast.

Così fan tutte (New Production)-Saturday, March 31, 2018 @ 12:55 pm
A winning cast comes together for Phelim McDermott’s clever vision of Mozart’s comedy about the sexes, set in a carnival-esque environment inspired by 1950s Coney Island. Manipulating the action are the Don Alfonso of Christopher Maltman and the Despina of Tony Award–winner Kelli O’Hara, with Amanda Majeski, Serena Malfi, Ben Bliss, and Adam Plachetka as the pairs of young lovers who test each other’s faithfulness. David Robertson conducts.

Luisa Miller-Saturday, April 14, 2018 @ 12:30 pm
James Levine and Plácido Domingo add yet another chapter to their legendary Met collaboration with this rarely performed Verdi gem, a heart-wrenching tragedy of fatherly love. Sonya Yoncheva sings the title role opposite Piotr Beczała in the first Met performances of the opera in more than ten years.

Cendrillon (New Production)-Sunday, May 13, 2018 @ 1:30
For the first time ever, Massenet’s sumptuous take on the Cinderella story comes to the Met. Joyce DiDonato stars in the title role, with mezzo-soprano Alice Coote in the trouser role of Prince Charming, Kathleen Kim as the Fairy Godmother, and Stephanie Blythe as the imperious Madame de la Haltière. Bertrand de Billy conducts Laurent Pelly’s imaginative storybook production.

MET opera L’elisir d’Amore time changed to NOON.

The next MET opera in the series, L’elisir d’Amore scheduled for Saturday, February 10th will start at Twelve o’clock.  Please be prepared to come earlier to enjoy this romantic comedy with us. 

“Bill that would benefit Ramsdell Theatre moves forward”

“Bill that would benefit Ramsdell Theatre moves forward”
House Bill 4411 passed through the Regulatory Reform Committee and now heads to the Senate floor.  Representative Vanderwall believes the bill could be voted on by Thursday and if everything goes right, by the end of February the Ramsdell would have the opportunity to purchase a license to help with the goal of becoming “self-sustaining”.  

The Ramsdell would like to express our gratitude to Representative Vanderwall for his support on this bill.

To read more on the article, written by Michelle Graves (Manistee News Advocate) refer to Thursday, January 25, 2018, news article. 

The RRCA raises over $65,000 to support the 18-19 season!

The Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts (RRCA) held a reception yesterday in Hardy Hall to announce the results of their year-end campaign. In their first attempt to launch an extraordinary matching challenge campaign, the RRCA proudly raised over $40,000! An anonymous donor will meet the $25,000 matching grant that was promised, bringing the total to over $65,000!

The RRCA campaigned to raise funds to support their 2018-2019 season to continue offering diverse and high-quality programming for its community. “It is a great start to the new year! We knew it would be hard work to launch a campaign like this, but I knew we could do it!” said the executive director, Xavier Verna. “Gifts like these are what help our mission and vision thrive in this community. Heartfelt thanks to all of our donors for having so much faith in the RRCA.”

The community came together to the special reception to celebrate the news including board members, volunteers, and donors. “Contributors have sent a clear message as to how important the Ramsdell is in people’s lives here in our community. The board is committed to using these funds wisely and will continue to guarantee quality programming, entertainment, and educational opportunities.” Added Sarah Helge, the President of the Center’s board. A portion of the donations will go toward supporting the RRCA’s endowment at the Manistee County Community Foundation. The endowment supports future interior and restoration maintenance for the historic Ramsdell Theatre. The board will decide what percentage of those funds will be by the end of the fiscal year.

Verna noted that upcoming events include the MET Opera series on Saturday, January 27 at 1 pm, with “Tosca” by Giacomo Puccini and with refreshments sponsored by the Yellow Dog Café in Onekama. He added that “Tosca” promises to be an outstanding opera. The MET Opera returns on Saturday, February 10 at 1 pm (“L’elisir D’Amore” by Gaetano Donizetti) and Saturday, February 24 at 1 pm (“La Boheme” by Giacomo Puccini).

On Friday, March 16, Irish Night returns to the Ramsdell, which Verna noted was exceptionally successful in 2017. Plans for the evening include food by Iron Works Café starting at 5:30 pm featuring Celtic music starting at 7 pm. Verna said over 125 attended the premiere event last year and he’s predicting another festive time this year to celebrate the Irish holiday.

RRCA Welcomes Laura Ortiz!

I come to you with a passion for the arts
and community collaboration.

I look forward to seeing you  at
The Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts!”
– Laura Ortiz, Administrative Assistant

“We are thrilled to have Laura on our team! She comes with a strong background in business and community relations.
I look forward to strengthening our community partnerships!”

– Xavier Verna, Executive Director

Laura Ortiz has joined the staff at the  Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts as Administrative Assistant. Laura graduated from Maranatha University in Watertown Wisconsin with a Bachelor of Science in Education.  After teaching Special Education and 7th grade Science for many years, Laura left to pursue a position in retail management for several companies the last being Operational Manager for Old Navy.

In 2005, Laura joined the team at Hastings Public Library.  In the 12 years of Laura’s tenure, she served in many capacities, one being Theatre Coach for the “tween” Royal Readers Theatre.  Students ranged from grades 3rd -8th and would perform every year in the Spring.  Most students continued their theatre studies with the Thornapple Arts Players Children’s theatre.

Laura’s last 2 years at the library she served as Library Director while working on her Masters at Wayne State University. As Director, Laura pursued community partnerships.  Serving on the Hastings Downtown Business Team as Partnership Chair, Rotary Club, Co-Chair of the Rotary Christmas Parade and Partnered with the Hastings Jingle & Mingle Committee.  Using the training she had received through the Harwood Institute on Community development Laura hosted a series of community engagement roundtable talks which provided feedback on what the community wanted, expected and were willing to do for their community.

Laura and her partner Tom have purchased a home in Manistee and are excited about their new community.  Laura loves to read, create beautiful handmade gifts and explore.

Miss Michigan to Perform on the Ramsdell Stage!

We are honored to be graced with Miss Michigan’s presence during this year’s Sleighbell parade! In addition, Miss Michigan, Heather Kendrick, will also perform her winning talent tribute to Lady Gaga’s ‘Bad Romance’ on Saturday, December 2 at 7:30pm. A Tuneful Christmas Carol will open on Thursday, November 30, at 7:30pm. At the top of each show, the Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts (RRCA) will feature short acts on the Ramsdell stage. We are excited to welcome Miss Michigan for her premier performance on our stage!

“As Miss Michigan, I’m so grateful for the opportunity to spend a December weekend in Manistee and especially, to collaborate with the RRCA at the historic Ramsdell theatre, which has been over a century-long pillar for the arts in northern Michigan. I’ll be bringing my Miss America talent to the stage, an electro-pop violin tribute to Lady Gaga’s ‘Bad Romance,’ and look forward to meeting, speaking with and taking many photos with this great community!” said Heather Kendrick, Miss Michigan.

Tickets to A tuneful Christmas Carol are on sale now! Tickets can be purchased at or by calling 1-800-836-0717. Concessions will be sold one hour before
each show.

Outreach at the Ramsdell

2 days and 500 reached!!

We invited the Akropolis Reed Quintet to visit schools in Traverse City, Ludington, and welcomed students from Bear Lake, Onekama, and Manistee to the Ramsdell!

Challenge Grant of $25,000


A $25,000 challenge grant has been offered to the Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts to be used as part of its year-end contribution requests. If the RRCA can raise $25,000 through individual contributions and business sponsorships, then a grant offered by individual supporters of the Ramsdell will match the amount, totaling $50,000. This grant will allow the RRCA to continue the momentum that 2017 has seen in booking high-quality live-music, dance, and theater shows, continuing the free summer Tuesday Talks, Tunes, and Tours, being able to offer more workshops, classes, and lectures, and in attracting visual artists for more exhibits in Hardy Hall.

If you wish to be part of this important endeavor, go to the RRCA website and click “make a donation,” or mail a contribution to the RRCA, 101 Maple Street, Manistee, MI 49660, or call Xavier 231 398-9770.