This summer is the 15th anniversary for Lake Superior Theatre in Marquette, and they are celebrating by starting the season with their signature original musical about mining in the Upper Peninsula. Beacon on the Rock opens this Friday. The show is a celebration of the U.P., according to playwright and composer, Shelley Russell.
"The people who immigrated into this area and just decided, 'Gosh, this is a tough place to live, but there's some kind of heart, there's some kind of spirit here that I haven't found anyplace else,'" said Russell.
For actor Patrick Bradley, this is the second time he's been in a production of Beacon. This year, he's playing "Hans," one of the lead roles.
"A young German kid who got hurt really badly on the boat over and is trying to make his life in the United States," explained Bradley.
Themes of courage, desperation and vision are carried through the show that has 30 people in the cast.
"We have one of the most talented casts that we've ever had doing this show. We have a lot of the people that you usually see in Beacon on the Rock and some new faces that are pretty talented from Northern as well," Bradley said.
"So many people who have seen this show before need to come back this year," Russell added. "I have never had such a strong chorus. It's the best musical production we've ever had. It's just going to blow people's socks off."
The show will resonate with anyone who has a connection to the U.P., in Russell's opinion. She is directing this year's show with Denise Clark.
"There's a line in the play, one of the kids early on, he's a 17 year old, and he's standing on the shoreline, and he says, 'You can take the boy out of the U.P., but you can't take the U.P. out of the boy,' and I think so many people feel that way," she said.
Beacon on the Rock runs this Friday through Sunday and continues next week, Wednesday through Sunday. All shows begin at 7:30 p.m. in the boathouse by Mattson Lower Harbor park. For more ticket information, visit www.lakesuperiortheatre.com.