Ross returns for ACT ‘Happy Days’

Published 6:50 pm Saturday, September 15, 2012

Marion Ross

ALBERT LEA — Albert Lea’s sweetheart Marion Ross is coming home next summer for the opening night of Albert Lea Community Theatre’s production of “Happy Days, a New Musical.”

The show will be performed July 10 through July 20 next year. It’s based on the original TV series “Happy Days” and reintroduces the classic characters to a new generation. Ross famously portrayed Mrs. Cunningham on the show, and ACT Co-President Rosalie Truax has been communicating with Ross about her visit.

“She won’t be in the show, but she will be our guest on opening night,” Truax said.

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Truax said Ross offered to help the organization get the rights to the show and is a financial sponsor of the production. Auditions are May 22 and 23, 2013, and Truax hopes many high-schoolers and college students try out for all the younger parts.

“It’s a happy, happy show that families will enjoy,” Truax said.

Truax would like to coordinate with other local entities to make the show more of a community event. She’s spoken with the Freeborn County Historical Museum, which has a display dedicated to Ross, and hopes to communicate with others to make it a big event.

 Other shows

ACT has also announced all the shows for its 48th season. Starting Oct. 11 and playing through Oct. 20 is the comedy, “Dixie Swim Club.” The show is about five women who swam together in college and their many reunions throughout the years. While it will have many jokes men will enjoy, Truax said it’s a show women will love as well.

“It’s a neat event for red-hatters or a girl’s night out,” Truax said.

The next show is the drama “Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure” playing Feb. 14 through Feb. 23, 2013. Truax said the mystery has great dialogue and is well-written.

“It’s very gripping and has wonderful roles for men,” Truax said.

Another musical, “Church Basement Ladies, Musical Comedy,” will play from April 25 to May 4, 2013. Truax said many people will relate to the show, which is about church women catering bars and lefse for weddings and funerals. The show originally had its own touring company, and ACT was on a waiting list to get the rights to perform it.

While there’s usually a Christmas show planned for the regular season, Truax said this year they’re trying something new. Because ACT now manages the Marion Ross Performing Arts Center, they’re working to have more events. Neil Lang is coordinating many different artists to come have shows, including the sold-out show featuring country singer Leona Williams that was on Aug. 19.

Lang is also coordinating a Christmas show for Dec. 14-16 called “Soft Sounds of Christmas.” It will feature local artists and is a musical Christmas show. Another upcoming show is “Memories of Conway,” a show featuring Michael Twitty, son of Conway Twitty. The show is at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 19.

A special event will be a season sneak preview at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 20. The free event will be an open house of sorts where ACT will perform a scene or song from all four shows in its upcoming season. Truax said it will be a chance for people to see the updates to the theater for the live broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera.

Season tickets may now be purchased by going to or filling out a season ticket brochure form. Beginning Sept. 4, individual show tickets may be purchased online or by calling the ACT call center 1-877-730-3144, a toll-free, 24/7 automated service. The ACT box office is also open every Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m.

Albert Lea Community Theatre features local actors, directors and stage crew who volunteer their time. All performances are at the Marion Ross Performing Arts Center, 147 N. Broadway Ave. in downtown Albert Lea. For ticket prices and more information go to or find ACT on Broadway on Facebook.