The Duluth connections in Chanhassen Dinner Theatres’ new musical production

Duluth’s connection behind-the-scenes at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres

The behind-the-scenes Duluth connections in Chanhassen Dinner Theatres' new musical "Beautiful"

Chanhassen Dinner Theatres located in Chanhassen, Minnesota is the nation’s largest dinner theatre. Recently they opened their new show Beautiful: The Carole King Musical’ and its cast has quite a lot of Duluth connections.

Actors Shad Hanley, Quinn Lorez, Daysha Ramsey, and Mitchell Douglas (Photo: Dan Norman)

For more information on tickets to ‘Beautiful: The Carole King Musical’ you can check out their website HERE.

Four actors: Shad Hanley, Quinn Lorez, Daysha Ramsey, and Mitchell Douglas all have their own unique connection’s to the city. With all of them performing in Duluth at one point or another.

Quinn Lorez was actually born and raised in Duluth. They’re in the ensemble in ‘Beautiful’, performing the hits of Carole King and other music from King’s era. This production is Quinn’s Chanhassen debut and her first show in the Twin Cities too!

“It’s like the most professional thing I’ve done so far in my career. So it was really really exciting to take on these roles I get to do for the ensemble and in this long of a run. It’s the longest run I’ve had,” they say. Quinn has been performing in Duluth ever since she was young. Eventually with Shad and Daysha prior to ‘Beautiful’.

But working at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres is a whole new ball game. ‘Beautiful’ runs all the way through September and the show runs 6 times a week, which is way different then Duluth. “It’s more of a full time job in that sense,” Quinn says, “Whereas Duluth it was at night, everyone had their main source of income somewhere else, and we were all just coming together to create beautiful art.”

Shad Hanley says that contracts at Chanhassen are pretty coveted by actors in Minnesota. He’s originally from Hermantown and loves seeing all the Duluth connections at the theater.

(Photo: Dan Norman)

“It’s the best!”, says Shad, “I feel this incredible pride because we all met up there, we all started to get our juices flowing up there you know creative juices flowing and then came down here to put it all together, it was just awesome.”

Shad takes on a big role in ‘Beautiful: The Carole King Musical’. He plays Gerry Goffin, Carole’s husband. He says, “You are so lucky as an actor to be able to have this work to be able to do… you get to perform the same show every day. And then fore mine it in a bunch of different ways throughout that run and that’s a very exciting thing to do.”

Another ensemblist in the show is Daysha Ramsey. She’s a UMD alumni who originally grew up in East Grand Forks, Minnesota. Dancing and singing all the way up to Duluth and then on down to Chanhassen.

In total ‘Beautiful’ marks Daysha’s 5th consecutive Chanhassen Dinner Theatres show. “And genuinely I am having a blast! And it’s just so cool to have the space to grow,” Daysha says.

“I think the most fun thing for me is to work with such amazing other beautiful and new actors here to Chan. I also got to meet two beautiful friends. People who are also just starting their careers in a professional setting. And it’s just so cool to see where everyone comes from.”

Rounding out the four is Mitchell Douglas who many people in Duluth might remember from last summer’s production of ‘Kinky Boots’ at the NorShor Theatre. As they played Lola in the Minnesota Regional Premiere.

Mitchell is back on the CDT stage in the ensemble but now that they’ve performed up in Duluth, they get to connect with the rest of the cast that’s been up there too. ‘Kinky Boots’ was actually Mitchell’s first show up in the Northland.

“And it was the longest time I’d spent in Duluth as well,” says Mitchell, “I had never been there for that long and it was such a treat.”

Mitchell says returning to Chanhassen Dinner Theatres feels like returning to home. They say, “This building is in my upbringing and so to be here performing here it’s like a full circle moment, that’s really special when I hit that stage every night.”

And after performing one summer up in Duluth Mitchell says, “It is so fun to be able to have those connections and be like ‘oh I worked here I did this’, ‘oh is this person still in the costume shop?’ ‘Is this person still music directing?’ You get to get those connections through that point. And so to be running into so many Duluth people that are working in this building, it’s really cool to make those connections and those relationships.”

(Photo: Dan Norman)