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Long Lake performer cast in Guthrie role

Andy Browers

Bemidji State University graduate Andy Browers is no stranger to many of Minnesota's fine stages, including Hubbard's own Long Lake Theater. The road to Long Lake has had some surprising turns over the years.

Having grown up in Cloquet, Andy had his first taste of performance early on.

"My love for theater actually started when I was about seven years old. My 4-H club always put on an annual club skit, and it was my role as an overenthusiastic peanut vendor that made me go 'hey, this is something I don't think I'll ever get sick of.' The acting part," he adds. "Not the selling peanuts, though I'm sure that has its merits, too."

Browers, now 28, studied theater and creative writing at BSU, while devoting many summers to the Paul Bunyan Playhouse and University Theatre productions.

Bemidji has not been his only outlet for summer theater, however. Local patrons might remember him from Long Lake Theater's production of "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)" last summer.

"A good friend of mine had worked at Long Lake the year before, and had nothing but great things to say about the theater and its audiences," he said. "I have to say he was right - that little theater shook with laughter many times during our run, and the people were very warm and receptive.

"The place really felt like home, and I came away from that production with memories I'll treasure forever," says Browers. "It was an excuse to be as ridiculous as possible every night. We got to blast through Shakespeare's greatest hits in 90 minutes, and it was pure joy for us every time. How many guys do you know who can say they've played Juliet, Cleopatra, and Othello in the same evening?"

That (abridged) Shakespearean training came in handy last fall when Browers was cast in the Guthrie Theater's production of Shakespeare's "The Winter's Tale."

"It was literally a dream come true," says Browers. "My whole life, I've always thought of The Guthrie as the crown jewel of my career goals. Even though my role was minor, to be on that stage, working alongside some of the finest actors in America, was pretty surreal and incredibly amazing."

Browers is happy to return to Hubbard for the 2011 summer season, and is already in rehearsal as director for the June production of the American classic farce "Arsenic and Old Lace."

He will also appear as an actor in the July musical "The Last Resort," as well as Neil Simon's "Brighton Beach Memoirs" in August at Long Lake Theater before returning to Minneapolis.

When asked if performing in a village that could nearly entirely fit into the seats at The Guthrie, Browers replies, "I couldn't imagine a better place to spend a summer, making great theater, and making great friends. I'm so glad to be here, and I hope I get the chance to come back many times."