Cruise ‘Moremoney’ to bring laughs to Spring Valley

The cast of “Buy Land or Sea” rehearses a scene from the Brave Community Theatre production. From left, are Reilly Lawson, Bob Capelle, Julie Mlinar, Marcy Capelle, Mark Mlinar and Sheryl Strain. SUBMITTED PHOTO
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Buy Land or Sea, it’s happening with BCT.

Brave Community Theatre (BCT) founder and playwright Debi Neville was commissioned to write “Buy Land or Sea” eight years ago for the Southeastern Minnesota Association of Realtors’ annual Christmas gala. Next weekend, the play will come to the stage of the Spring Valley Community Center. 

“When we were searching for a script, I pulled this out of my archives and cracked up reading it after eight years.  It’s fun to laugh together onstage, and making the audience enjoy a laugh or two is the best reward.  It’s a comedy full of puns and parodies in which it’s not the Mayo Clinic we refer to, but ‘Mustard Clinic’ as an example,” Neville said. “It takes place on the ship U.S.S. Moremoney and is a cruise filled with passengers from Spring Valley, sponsored by a local bank.  The ‘Buy Land’ refers to a big land sale that the New York bigwigs have heard about that might take place north of Spring Valley, but they want to get their hands on it first, before Mustard Clinic does.  It takes place on a cruise ship, and a murder takes place, doctors and police are called, and then the ship’s captain interrogates five possible suspects.  There is a surprise and hysterical ending.” 

In addition to the play, there will be a solo performance by Laurie Helmers on Friday and Saturday evenings, Feb. 22 and 23, and Julie Mlinar will be performing on Sunday afternoon, Feb. 24.  

The talented cast includes Julie Mlinar, Mark Mlinar, Craig Cornell, Sheryl Strain, Emily Biermann, Jeff Thauwald, Steven Hulbert, Marcy Capelle, Laurie Helmers, Stephanie Osterhus-Bowe, Bob Capelle, Abby Biermann, Dale Hulbert, Reilly Lawson and Neville.

“We have five families that have two in the play — pretty cool family fun — Mlinar, Biermann, Hulbert, Capelle and Cornell, as Shelly Cornell is doing sound and lights,” Neville noted. “Jeff Thauwald took the helm as the main director — with a bit of cajoling and tips from me.  We have a number of experienced actors, but BCT is so happy to have high school kids involved, too, and a couple of newcomers.” 

The play will have recognizable characters in the style of the Three Stooges, Keystone Cops and Carol Burnett, some that are laughed at and others that people laugh with.  The dialogue is full of jokes, and there is “jazzy, fast-paced action,” said Neville. 

The setting is a “meet and greet” first night on the cruise in the ship’s ballroom, so audience members will receive non-alcoholic champagne and snacks to join in the fun.  The costumes are “cruise ship appropriate,” so they were relatively easy, but Neville promised the show will have a few surprises that the audience won’t see coming.

“We wanted something that is pure fun — in fact, the posters say, ‘This play has no socially-redeeming value.’  It’s about sitting back, relaxing and laughing our heads off,” said Neville.  “We were at a loss for what to do, we were short on rehearsal time, and it came to me that this show was well-received eight years ago. I made a few calls and a cast was put together.  I rewrote a bit of it, though characters remain the same.  People of all ages will like this show.  Whether you are from Spring Valley or the surrounding area, you’ll get a kick out of it.”  

Brave Community Theatre decided to do a show after Valentine’s week this year and to do two weekend nights plus a Sunday matinee. The matinee is at 3 p.m. after a waffle breakfast served at the Community Center. 

“Many people have asked for a matinee so they don’t have to drive in the dark, plus, it seems a bit less cold when it’s light out,” Neville said.  “BCT is about providing entertainment, but also continuing a 47-year tradition of developing a creative community.” 

“Buy Land or Sea” will open at the Spring Valley Community Center on Friday, Feb. 22, at 7 p.m., with performances to follow on Saturday evening at the same time and Sunday at 3 p.m.  Tickets are available at the door; cost is $16 for adults and $12 for senior citizens and children 18 and younger.