Members of the 2021 Straw Hat cast rehearse ahead of their opening performance of “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” on June 1, 2021.
For theatre lovers in the community, Minnesota State University’s Straw Hat productions symbolize summer (get tickets).
Now in its 58th year, Straw Hat players open the season with a rendition of “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change,” followed by “8-Track: The Sound of the ’70s in Concert,” and ending with “Godspell.”
We were able to catch MSUM Theatre’s Craig Ellingson in between practice sessions for a quick interview where he discusses the longstanding regional tradition of Straw Hat and its value in the lives of students, faculty and the community. Ellingson also explains how this season will look a little different, as the stage is set outside on MSUM’s lush campus mall.
Straw Hat Players also had some interesting perspectives on participating in the seminal program in such an unusual year.
“I love the speed at which straw hat moves! I get to develop several characters at once and work alongside great friends!”— Sloan Hanson
“I love the opportunity get to do what I love all day, every day, at a very high level. It’s hard work, but I know that it makes me better at what I do.” — Michael Kalpakoff
“Even though this is just my first summer participating in Straw Hat, I can already tell how much of a family the cast and crew is to each other. The passion shown by the entire team is so inspiring, and I have so much joy and gratitude that everyday I’m doing something I love. I never take a minute for granted, and I’m so glad we’re able to put together shows for the community!” — Becca Koerner
“I love being a part of The StrawHat Players because of the hands-on experiences it provides as a theatre and costume technician! I am able to work with the company – many of whom I am friends with – to create the best production possible for both ourselves and the audience. These experiences are invaluable and cherished to me.” — Margaret “Mars” Ness-Ludwig
Note: Tickets are available for purchase online this year.
Visit MSUM’s Straw Hat Players page for more information about this year’s schedule and the history of the program.
The 2021 Straw Hat season includes three musicals performed outdoors on MSUM’s Campus Mall. This year’s performances be smaller — literally and figuratively — with fewer actors, a smaller stage (see photo) and only three plays. Typically, a Straw Hat season puts on about five different shows.