The Gimlet
Volume 109 #03

This Week at Rotary
Thursday July 20, 2023
For Those Attending in Person
Buffet Lunch
(Zoom Meeting Opens at 11:45)
(Link Sent Thursday Morning)
Allen Anway
Club #25’s Resident Physicist
“So You Want to be a Quantum Mechanic?”
Get your subatomic wrenches ready! Allen Anway will dazzle the assembly with a presentation about why it matters that subatomic particles exist and how they interact—and how that changes everything.
Highlights from Last Week’s Meeting
By Patra Sevastiades
What do the late-greats Cecil B. DeMille, Walt Disney, and Luciano Pavarotti all have in common? They were all Rotarians involved in the business of entertainment! Today’s luncheon celebrated the power of one particular type of entertainment, live theatre, in Duluth.
President Gary Melander opened the lively meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance and the Rotary 4-Way Test.
Vinod Gupta delivered the Reflection. “Why don’t affirmations work?” someone recently asked him. By way of answer, Vinod shared a story. After a six-month spell of no rain, several people decided to perform a rain dance. Sure enough, it began to rain! But only one person had believed enough to bring an umbrella. Vinod concluded, “You have to believe an affirmation will work”—or it won’t.
Vinod Gupta reminds us of the importance of belief.
David Greenberg of Midwest Communications, the guest of Past Assistant Governor Al Makynen, was welcomed, as were Carla and Allie Melander, guests of President Gary Melander.
President Gary Melander announced that next week’s speaker will be Allen Anway, speaking on the topic, “So You Want to be a Quantum Mechanic?”
Chair of the day Rob Hofmann introduced today’s speakers, Wes Drummond, Executive Director, and Phillip Fazio, Producing Artistic Director, of the Duluth Playhouse. The two leaders share a love of theatre and a strong business sense, meaning that the Duluth Playhouse is thriving financially even as some top-tier theatres have faced closure.
Chair of the day Rob Hofmann introduces the speakers from the Duluth Playhouse.
Phillip Fazio and Wes Drummond share the magic behind the Duluth Playhouse’s success: hard work, creativity, financial know-how, community support
Wes and Phil shared the newly announced 2023-2024 season:
The Youth Theatre will have three shows: “Addams Family” (August), “Anything Goes” (fall), and “Finding Nemo” (spring).
The Underground, which produces smaller, more experimental works, is moving from the Depot to a “The Lab” – a black box” space in the NorShor Theatre in which seating can be easily reconfigured. (This is an exciting relocation. It means that all Duluth Playhouse performances will be performed in the NorShor Theatre!) Audiences are invited to see “Misery” by Stephen King (October), “Constellation” (spring), and the “What She Said Festival” (May).
The Main Stage will open its season with “Young Frankenstein” (fall), followed by “The Sound of Music” (December), “Murder on the Orient Express” (January), “Next to Normal” (spring), “Peter and the Star Catcher” (May), and the new musical, “Nine to Five” (July).
Then it was time for Q&A.
“Do you have to wear kinky books if you’re going to attend ‘Kinky Boots’?” Vinod Gupta asked, to much laughter.
“How do you choose which shows to produce?” asked Past President Chana Stocke. Each January, they survey the community seeking ideas, which nets 1,000 submissions. The artistic staff whittles that down to 20-30 shows, prepares thumbnail descriptions and a video clip of each show, and sends the short list to the Duluth Playhouse staff, board of directors, and local artists for feedback. That yields a tentative list. The staff determines which shows are available to produce, and the list is finalized.
“Who is ‘the community’? I haven’t received a survey!” quipped Past President Dean Casperson. To join “the community”, all Rotarians were graciously invited to follow the Duluth Playhouse on social media, or to sign up for the Duluth Playhouse’s email (use this link:
“Do you put out a call for actors?” asked Past President Barb Perrella. Yes! They post announcements for auditions on social media and send the information to local artists’ groups. Actors are to bring a resume and a headshot and to perform one minute of a song in the style of the show.
“Are your actors paid?” asked Past President Chana Stocke. Yes, all who appear on stage are paid. This was an important change introduced by former Executive and Artistic Director Christine Gradl Seitz.
“Broadway has not rebounded yet from Covid-19,” noted Rob Hofmann. “Has the Playhouse?” It mostly has, thanks to strong community support and grants help from the State of Minnesota.
“Are there any volunteer positions?” asked Past President Chana Stocke. Yes, 1,200 every season: ushers, shop technicians, costume technicians, etc. Call the box office (218-733-7555) and ask them. In August, the updated Playhouse website will also provide volunteer information.
Past President Sandy Hoff, who serves on the Playhouse Board of Directors, said, “Congratulations, you two! You have taken the Playhouse to a whole new level, even beyond what Christine made possible. You’ve purchased housing for visiting artists and purchased a building. It eliminates the need to rent spaces in 7 locations; serves as a space that nonprofits can rent; creates a space to use for summer camp; and increases the storage space, allowing the Playhouse to keep and reuse elements of the sets, thus decreasing costs.  The organization is extremely financially sound!”
President Gary Melander noted that he had the pleasure of touring the space. It was impressive.
Jon Ohman won the 50/50 drawing.
Overheard after the meeting: Past President Barb Perrella, contemplating the idea of Rotarians serving as ushers at the Playhouse, recalled, “I used to be the Head Usher at the Minnesota Orchestra, overseeing 120 ushers!”
This Week's Meeting
Thursdays at 12:00 PM
Holiday Inn Great Lakes Ballroom
200 W. 1st Street
Duluth, MN 55802
United States of America
Venue Map
Venue Map
Jul 20, 2023
Jul 27, 2023
Alworth Center for the Study of Peace and Justice
Aug 03, 2023
Bentleyville Tour of Lights Presentation
Aug 10, 2023
An evening of fellowship and food
Aug 17, 2023
Lester River Rendezvous
Aug 24, 2023
Habitat for Humanity in Duluth
Aug 31, 2023
Sep 07, 2023
Animal Allies Humane Society
Sep 14, 2023 12:00 PM
View entire list
Upcoming Events
Rotary Board of Directors
Rotary Office
Jul 19, 2023 4:00 PM
Rotary Board of Directors
Rotary Office
Aug 16, 2023 4:00 PM
View entire list
Birthdays & Anniversaries
Member Birthdays
Bill Sozansky
July 5
Jon Helstrom
July 7
Traci Marciniak
July 11
Eric Dott
July 12
Skeeter Moore
July 16
Join Date
Jay Ott
July 1, 1998
25 years
Craig Fellman
July 6, 2006
17 years
Eric Dott
July 6, 2017
6 years
Robin Pestalozzi
July 9, 2015
8 years
Jim Monge
July 17, 1965
58 years
Bill Gravelle
July 24, 1986
37 years
Holly Mirau
July 26, 2022
1 year
Jeffrey Wencel
July 26, 2022
1 year
Brian Fulda
July 30, 2020
3 years
Official Publication of
Rotary Club of Duluth
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Duluth Minnesota 55802
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Darlene Anderson
Rob Hofmann
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