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Wagner: Live entertainment back | Opinion |

Live entertainment is returning on many fronts at the Iowa Great Lakes this summer.

The Okoboji Summer Theatre will be turning off the “ghost light” to bring six live performances to its stage for the summer season.

OST has been a regular feature at the Iowa Great Lakes for more than 60 years without ever missing a beat until COVID-19 canceled the entire season last year.

This season will feature three musicals and three comedies with “Grease” kicking off the season on July 6.

Although the entire season is planned, Stephens College in Columbia, MO, is waiting for signed contracts for two shows before announcing the complete lineup.

“But,” says executive director Ruth Ann Burke, “I can share that the big season closer will be the musical hit ‘Urinetown.’”

Ruth Ann also told me that the company will be operating at a limited capacity, requiring masks inside the theatre and shifting all patrons back two rows to leave the first two rows open for social distancing.

The theatre will be operating with a no contact box office this season and anticipates “sold-out” weekend performances and available seats during for the weekday performances.

“It is going to be a very different season for OST,” Burke says, “but we want to provide the strongest safety protocols possible so that our students, guests and patrons will all feel safe.”

It is anticipated the entire six-week schedule will be announced in the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, at the beautiful new Arnolds Park Roof Garden Ballroom, the sounds will be big, bold and through the roof. The early performances are sure to bring back memories of the 1940s and ’50s when only the best big bands and entertainers stopped by the lakeside ballroom — established in 1923 — to entertain and delight dancers and fans from all over the area.

This year the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra

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