Your fantasy reunion come true. Everyone will be there from the deliciously vicious Prom Queen to the class nerd. You know you want to come, it's okay, you can admit it. Running at Oops Dinner Theatre September 6th - October 30th. More information? www.oopstheatre.com
Mahtomedi reunions help inspire comedy
Local playwright based latest work on personal experience
By Patricia Drey
Mahtomedi High School Alumni may see themselves reflected on stage when 1977 graduate Pamela Norton-Docken’s play opens at the Oops Theatre in North St. Paul.
Norton-Docken said her own reunions, and her husband’s, inspired her to write a comedy set in a high-school reunion.
“I hope those people from my graduating class can appreciate the humor,” Norton-Docken said.
Some of the characters are patterned after real people, while others are blends, she said.
The show’s characters include the leisure-suit-clad school geek, the football star who’s now a mediocre used car salesman and the prom queen, who sells Mary Kay makeup and still wears her tiara to the grocery store.
The play is the fourth for Norton-Docken, who said she battled dyslexia throughout school and graduated with special permission from the principal because she was two credits short.
After high school, Norton-Docken said she planned to hitchhike across the country. She never made it cross-country, she said, but the journey she’s taken since then is different from anything she envisioned.
About seven years after graduating, Norton-Docken said she tried stand-up comedy for the first time.
“It was so horrible,” she said. “I swore I would never ever do that to anybody else or myself again.”
Despite her vow, she returned to try comedy again in 1990 at an open microphone night—this time with a three-minute routine prepared. That night began a 10-year stand-up comedy career, she said.
During that time, at age 35 and with four kids, Norton-Docken said she also returned to school at Metropolitan State University with plans to become a police officer. Plans changed, and Norton-Docken ended up with a psychology degree—which she said now helps her in building characters.
After 10 years in comedy, Norton-Docken said her agent found a banquet space in North St. Paul, and wondered if she thought it would be possible to do comedy there. She replied that it looked more like a dinner theater, and the idea for Oops Theatre was birthed.
When Norton-Docken first asked her accountant of 15 years, Mary Kay Fangel, if she was interested in being involved with the theater, Fangel said she thought “no way.”
“I have enough business, is what I thought,” Fangel said. “I don’t know that I need to take on another big client.”
But when Norton-Docken said she could be part-owner, Fangel accepted, saying she wanted the chance to start a business with Norton-Docken.
“She is a very motivated, high-energy person,” Fangel said. “She’s just very driven and she’s very much a self-starter.”
The owners moved the theater down the street into their own building in 2000, and are now looking for a bigger location, possibly connected to a motel, they said.
The theater opened in September of 1999. Since then, the four shows Norton-Docken has written have generated more than $1 million in ticket sales, she said.
Patricia Drey can be reached at 651-407-1218 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
An Ole and Lena Christmas
Queen Pretense's Rule
The Ghost of Shipwreck Cove
The Rocky Horror Show
Ole and Lena Go to Da Lake
Not Just Another Class Reunion
The White Plague
Our Country's Good
Independent Film: Sweet Caroline (2004)
Commercial : Youth and AIDS - The Kangaroo Project (2004)
Digital Film: Rapid Eye Movement (2004)
Independent Film : Rock House (2004)
The Sugar Daddy Project
The Road to Kyoto
Independent Film - Modus Vivendi (2005)
Film Art - Emotional Labor (2005)
Dance Film - Urban Dance (2005)
"Reeling" at The Children's Theatre Company
"Opus 3" at ITBP's Love Bites Valentine Caberet
Skool - The Musical
Boston Repertory Theatre Company - Encore!!
International School of Beijing - Beijing, China
Concordia International School - Shanghai, China
The Actor's Nightmare