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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Callithump at the Great River Shakespeare Festival in WInona, MN


out of 5 cowbells.

What does Callithump mean? Who knows? The closest entry on Wikipedia was for Calathumpian, which is a term used to describe a religion or philosophy in its infancy. According to Wikipedia, it comes from the Latin "calathus", which is the term for rubbish bin. This definitely did not describe last night.

Callithump at the Great River Shakespeare Festival in Winona, MN is a variety show put on by the cast and crew of the Festival. Its primary purpose is as a fundraiser for the Festival. I think it also gives everyone a chance to blow off some steam and have fun. The costumes were primarily Festival t-shirts, especially the Callithump t-shirts. The slogan was, "Let the sky rain potatoes," a reference to Merry Wives of Windsor. Winona National Bank handed out cowbells to everyone to make noise. It almost reminded me of the Saturday Night Live sketch, "We need more cowbell!"  It started with an opening song featuring the entire cast. Other acts were a conversation between Shakespeare and another writer trying to edit the "To be or not to be" soliloquy from Hamlet. There was also a sketch called "John and Robert are Dead," a parody of R&G are dead, using Mrs. Ford's servants from Merry Wives. Other sketches were a discussion of the poison scene in Hamlet, which turned into an Abbott and Costello routine, There was also a routine called "Shakespeare's Tragic Heroines," based on "He Had It Coming" from "Chicago." A sketch with an audience member, a magic show, slam poetry, and musical numbers completed the evening. There was also an Accessories Parade, where cast members made up costumes and paraded them across the stage. In between, there was Seat Swag, where

The whole evening was a lot of fun. Thanks to Winona National Bank for sponsoring the evening. Special mention to Lauren Smith, Kate Ocker, and Brian White for pulling this off, and to Jonelle Moore for being the accompanist. The one minor issue is that sometimes the music drowned out some of the solo singers. That's a minor fix, though, for next year. Also, great job by all the performers. They were Benjamin Bocvalt, robert Montgomery, Bryan White, Steve Hendrickson, Gerrad Taylor Will Koch, Greg Ivan Smith, Michael Fitzpatric, Catie Osborn, Jenni McCarthy, Ted Kitterman, Emily Kurash, Leslie Brott, John Maltese, Andrew Carlson, Chris Mixon, Oriana Lada, Caroline Amos, Emily Hawkins, Allison Morse, Jess Shoemaker, Sigrid Sutter, Tarah Flanagan, the casts of the shows, the Interns, and the Young Actors. If I left anyone out, it's only for space.

All in all, a great show. By the time the closing number, a parody of "Bohemian Rhapsody", came around, everyone was waving their glow sticks, and celebrating. This definitely did not belong in the rubbish bin. My rating: 5 of 5 cowbells.

For more information on the Great River Shakespeare Festival, go to

For more information on Winona, MN, go to

For the Wikipedia article, click here.

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