James F. Galer Memorial Scholarship Fund

Manistee, MI, September 7, 2021 – The Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts (RRCA) establishes a new scholarship fund to support promising and deserving students who wish to participate in eligible RRCA arts education programs. The memorial scholarship fund honors the late James F. Galer, a lifetime educator and resident of both Grandville, MI, and later in retirement, Manistee. James taught mathematics at Zeeland High School in Zeeland, MI, for 38 years, later becoming department chair. The late James F. Galer and his wife Marilyn Galer loved west Michigan and were a part of the Manistee community. They were both involved as volunteers and especially loved music and the arts. Jim was involved with the Ramsdell Theatre as a docent, board member, and house manager.

“We are honored and grateful to Marilyn Galer for the opportunity to support children in Manistee,” said Xavier Verna, executive director of the RRCA. Funds raised will be placed in a donor-advised fund named The James F. Galer Scholarship Fund. These are unique charitable giving vehicles that allow individuals and businesses to invest cash, securities, or other assets. “As the fund grows, the more interest we can draw from it, the bigger the impact you can make,” added Verna. A separate announcement will detail the eligibility requirements for students to receive scholarship support.

The memorial scholarship is also a celebration of life. James F. Galer passed away two years ago on September 7, 2019. Scholarship funds and tribute gifts are a great way to honor the loss of a loved one. The RRCA is a 501c3 non-profit organization, and gifts to the scholarship fund and other tribute gifts are 100% tax-deductible.

The RRCA is now accepting donations for the James F. Galer Scholarship Fund. Please write checks to the Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts, or RRCA, and mail them to 101 Maple St, Manistee, MI 49660.

Fill out the form below if you’re interested in making a gift of stock or mutual funds.


Theatre Camp Registration Now Open!

Manistee, MI, April 30, 2021 – The Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts (RRCA) is launching the inaugural Ramsdell Theatre Camp June 14 – 26, 2021. The camp is limited to 35 students. Registration is now open and the deadline is May 28 at 11:59pm. Students will meet Monday-Friday from 9am – 12:30pm at the Ramsdell Theatre for two weeks. A showcase at the end of the camp will feature students’ work during the camp. The showcase will be free for friends and family and registration is required. Attendance will be limited due to COVID-19.

“With COVID, we had to cancel the camp in 2020, even after things were in motion and students had already registered. It was sad, but necessary to hold off until this year,” said Xavier Verna, executive director of the RRCA. “We’re thrilled to welcome students to the theatre this year. The camp directors are a class-act and will no doubt develop a memorable and educational experience for all.”

“Students ages 12-17 are encouraged to join us as we dive into pre-professional training for the theatre,” said Program Director Erin Thompson. “Aspiring performers and theatremakers will learn how to utilize the techniques of acting, singing, and dancing, and apply their skills to the context of a fully produced showcase.”

The teaching artists include Erin Thompson and Abbey Siegworth. Erin Thompson (Program Director) is an award-winning Director, Choreographer, Equity Performer, and Educator. She is New York City based, and organically grown in the Midwest (Iowa). Erin received a B.F.A. in Musical Theater from The Boston Conservatory of Music. She spent the next 15 years performing professionally in commercial musical theater at nationally renowned regional theaters all over the country. Amidst her experience in over 40 Equity shows, she served as Dance Captain and Assistant/Associate (Director/Choreographer) on several of the shows, which would groom her for her latter career as a Director/Choreographer.

Abbey Siegworth (Associate Director) is so excited to join the team at Ramsdell Summer Theatre Camp. Originally from the Chicago area, she is currently based in Los Angeles.  Abbey has worked with Titan Theatre Company and Three Day Hangover (NYC); Clarence Brown Theatre; Nebraska Repertory Theatre; American Players Theatre; Dallas Theater Center as a member of the Brierley Resident Acting Company; Montana Shakespeare in the Parks; and several theaters in Milwaukee and Chicago.

Favorite recent roles include: the title role in Electra, Abigail (Abigail/1702), and Jennifer (The Doctor’s Dilemma). Abbey spent summer 2019 at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with the play Boswell; and stars in the independent film Stolen Season, currently available on Amazon and iTunes. She is a proud member of the Actors Equity Association. BFA University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana; MFA Southern Methodist University.  www.abbeysiegworth.com.

For more information about the camp, the COVID-19 guidelines, and to register, please visit www.RamsdellTheatre.org/Camp

2021 (Hopeful) LIVE Schedule!

The most recent change is Irish Night/Crossbow (rescheduled from March 20 to October 23, 2021) and Rush Tribute (rescheduled from May 21 to November 12, 2021).


Tickets are available for Crossbow, Rush Tribute, Tom Petty Tribute, and Mercury Tribute. New ticket sales will be announced after the spring.



as of 4/2/2021

June 14 – 26, 2021 – Ramsdell Theatre Camp

July 9, 2021 – The Insiders: A Tom Petty Tribute

July 23, 2021 – Resurrection: Journey Tribute

August 20, 2021 – Mercury: Tribute to Freddie Mercury featuring Terry Barber

August 27, 2021 – S’Wonderful– An Evening of Gershwin featuring Karen Curlee

September 26, 2021 – Hal Grossman: American Violin

September 30 – October 1, 2021 – 2x Nights Cirque Esprit (WSCC Collaboration)

October 23, 2021 – Crossbow rescheduled Irish Night from March 20

November 12, 2021 – Rush Tribute rescheduled from May 21

December – The Nutcracker opening Sleighbell Weekend (2-weekend show run)

January Series available on YouTube

Community Wide Face Mask Project

Three reasons why YOU are essential

Experience the arts!

We miss you already! It was such a joy to see you at the Ramsdell since reopening in July. Let’s remind ourselves of the many sacrifices made that allowed most businesses to reopen in July. It was tough, but you did it once, and you can do it again. Stay safe, wear a mask, and let’s hang on a little longer, so we can all get back to that joyous moment.

“No matter the barrier.” That’s a direct quote from us, from the first shutdown. We’re keeping our promise. So here are three things you can do to engage in the arts during shutdown #2.

1. The Art Divas – We will feature this art exhibit online starting December 4 and will offer a live exhibit later in 2021. The online Art Divas show features Terri Barto, Jeanne Butterfield, Mary Wahr, Lynn Williams, and Chris Wucherer. You support local artists and the Ramsdell when you purchase art.

2. The Lamplighter – Artists Tyler and Ashley Vorhees, from Glenn, MI, are bringing a new and exciting sculpture to Manistee. It will be featured next to the Christmas tree on Friday, December 4 for about a month. It is magnificent and interactive. Learn more.

3. Jeff Daniels – A virtual and live concert will be presented by Jeff Daniels on Friday, December 11 at 7:30pm. He will be performing for YOU, the Manistee community, and supporters of the Ramsdell Theatre. The live stream link is $15. Learn more. Sponsored by the Ohman/McCormack Retirement Group of Raymond James.

We hope you have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving holiday.

With gratitude,
—Xavier Verna

Ramsdell to Webcast Escanaba in Da Moonlight

The Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts will present a virtual ‘reading performance’ of ‘Escanaba in Da Moonlight’ available on Saturday, May 23rd. at 7:30 PM. Written by actor/musician and Michigan native Jeff Daniels, the comedy depicts the hunting season adventures of a group of Michigan ‘Yuppers’. The show ran on the Ramsdell stage two years ago to rave reviews and very appreciative audiences.

The one-performance only is being presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc. of New York. The Ramsdell’s Executive Director, Xavier Verna, noted that “This is an exclusive performance to our mailing list subscribers. They can subscribe right from our website at www.RamsdellTheatre.org.”

“In unprecedented times like these, we have to learn how we can reach our audiences in new ways,” Verna added. “I want to thank Rick Plummer for being open to this project,” he said. “This is a ‘new normal’ for The Ramsdell,” Verna explained, “as we sort through the hurdles of directing and performing a play from 6 different locations, one point-of-view (the actors’ faces), and a narrator.”  Verna stated that he attended the first ‘virtual’ rehearsal and thought, “while we don’t have a beautiful set, lighting, and the feedback from the audience, the actors were fully committed and doing a tremendous job in their new environment.” He added that this might be the first of such presentations on the organization’s website, depending on the length of the current crisis.

Verna said while the event is free to the Ramsdell’s mailing list subscribers, “we would ask for everyone to consider donating to the RRCA during or after the webcast.” “During these unprecedented times, while our outreaches have been minimized, the support from the entire community is tremendously appreciated.”  “While we always depend on the support from our donors and revenue from program tickets, we have been tremendously grateful for those who have continued to contribute during this time,” Verna cited.

“We also want to help others in any way we can,” Verna stated.  “For all donations, the RRCA receives the day of the webcast, a portion will be donated to the Manistee County Community Foundation’s ‘Community Response Fund’ that’s assisting other ‘front-line’ care groups during this crisis.”  “We really ARE all in this together,” Verna added. The RRCA is also partnering with local artists, like Mary Wahr, and selling their artwork through a virtual gallery. A majority of those sales go to the artist.

Verna noted that since the arts are an essential asset for community engagement and impact, “we encourage the audience to do take-out from their favorite local restaurant, then curl up and watch this unique webcast. We’ll share some positive messages throughout the program, and are excited to have James Beaudrie of Manistee Beverage as our host. You’re in for a wonderful time”.

A message from the Executive Director