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Long Lake Theater presents 'Fruitcakes'

Two spinster sisters, from left, Miss Alice (Barbara Shaffer) and Miss Sarah (Karen Welte) teach a runaway boy (Justin Dinh) a few lessons about fruitcakes, family and home in the holiday comedy "Fruitcakes." Performances are Dec. 1-4 and 8-11 at Long Lake Theater in Hubbard. (Submitted photo)

Mix together a batch of fruitcakes, a chicken pox epidemic, Christmas lights, two southern spinsters, an estranged old man and a Christmas hog named Buster and you've got the recipe for a fun-filled and touching evening filled with holiday cheer.

Long Lake Theater presents "Fruitcakes," by Julian Wiles, for its annual Christmas production. The family-oriented tale opens Dec. 1 at the Hubbard theater and runs Thursdays through Sundays until Dec. 11.

The cast includes a mixture of very experienced actors and new actors. Justin Dinh of Nevis plays Jamie, a runaway teen who runs straight into the hearts of the residents of a small town at Christmastime. Veteran actor David Overly portrays Mack, who makes whirligigs for a living but carries a family secret.

At first, Jamie thinks the town's eccentrics are "nuttier than fruitcakes" - the local fisherman who quotes Shakespeare (Mark Fickes) or Mattie Sue who has been married six times (Lisa Davis), for instance. But Jamie soon learns, along with grumpy spinsters Miss Sarah (Karen Welte) and Miss Alice (Barbara Shaffer), the value of relationships and home.

Other local talent in "Fruitcakes" includes Elizabeth Bradt, Keegan Smythe, Kady Langford, Ashley Simpson, Miles Harju, Buck Liliberte, Anika and Tori Campbell, Megan and Thomas Geraedts, Maeve and Nora Bolton, Veronica Gauthier, Thomas and Charles Meer.

The show is co-directed by Tami Hensel and Bruce Bolton, who have teamed up four years running to direct the Christmas productions at Long Lake Theater. Hensel owns Cattail Creek Framing, an art and frame shop in downtown Park Rapids. Bolton manages Long Lake Theater with wife Shannon Geisen.

Performances of "Fruitcakes" are at 7 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Long Lake Theater is located in Hubbard, about 8 miles southeast of Park Rapids. To make reservations, call 732-0099 or visit www.longlakethe Tickets are also available at Beagle Books in downtown Park Rapids.