2018 Press Release

Media Contacts
Amy Danielson: 612.245.2020 | danielson.amy@gmail.com
Scotty Reynolds: 612.619.2112 | sreynolds@mixedprecipitation.org

Mixed Precipitation announces
Dr. Falstaff and the Working Wives of Lake County: A Picnic Operetta

Celebrating its 10th season, the company brings an edible opera adventure to parks, farms and gardens throughout MN, August 16 – October 7


(Minneapolis) March 28, 2018 — Mixed Precipitation announces Dr. Falstaff and the Working Wives of Lake County: A Picnic Operetta, a new adaptation of Otto Nicolai’s German opera, The Merry Wives of Windsor, with a bit of Minnesota history and the music of Bruce Springsteen. Created by Producing Artistic Director Scotty Reynolds, Director Kym Longhi, Music Director Gary Ruschman, and the Mixed Precipitation team, this late summer harvest celebration offers local flavors with picnic bites for the audience. It’s fun for everyone!  

An edible opera adventure for the whole family, A Picnic Operetta marks its 10-year tradition of celebrating the harvest with a unique blend of music, horticulture, food, and storytelling. A Picnic Operetta will tour the Twin Cities metro and several locations around the state, including first-time performances in Finland, Cook, and Red Wing. The tour will also include performances in Babbitt, Hastings, Wykoff, Winona, and Oronoco. See the full schedule below.

Critics have honored the Picnic Operetta our summer traditional with bountiful praise:

“Opera. Pop music. Delicious food. The beautiful Minnesota summer. What could be better than Mixed Precipitation‘s annual summer picnic operetta that combines all of these things?! Not much.” – Cherry and Spoon

Believe me when I tell you it is like nothing else, and it is great fun.’ – Talkin’ Broadway

“…. a company sprouting skyward, its offbeat artistic vision blossoming beautifully.” – Pioneer Press

Dr. Falstaff and the Working Wives of Lake County: A Picnic Operetta takes place on the shores of Lake Superior where a small town is in trouble. The taconite plant has gone bust and jobs are leaving town fast. Meanwhile, the sleazy Doctor Falstaff has washed up on shore. He’s looking to sell a boat, eat some herring, and seduce some married women. Luckily, a trio of tough working gals has teamed up to chase the rat out of town. These working wives (a nurse, a park ranger, and a librarian) show the men in town who’s the Boss.

Scotty Reynolds, a native of Silver Bay, Minnesota, adapted this story following his research on Minnesota’s ecological and economic history and the landmark legal battle, United States vs. Reserve Mining.

“Our show places the silly characters of Shakespeare’s comedy alongside contemporary questions about industry, job creation, and the environmental impact of capitalism,” Reynolds says. “Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor takes place in a hunting village outside of London. Our version takes place on the North Shore of Lake Superior in a historic fishing community and mining town. Contaminated drinking water and a depleted fish population led to a decade of legal battles with fisherman, environmentalists and the mining industry. Bruce Springsteen’s classic anthems of working life and songs of love are perfect for the struggles of the time. We’ll look at the conflict of environmentalism and job creation with humor and dignity. ”

This one-of-a-kind show is directed by Kym Longhi, written by Scotty Reynolds, with music director Gary Ruschman.

Artistic Team

Producing Artistic Director Scotty Reynolds has helmed the Picnic Operetta since inception. His active career in performing arts includes directing, performing and facilitating an ensemble of artists with disabilities at the Interact Center for Visual and Performing Arts. His 2008 production with Interact, Broken Brain Summit, won an Ivey Award for its innovative concept. He’s toured as a performer and stage manager with Tiger Lion Arts and their outdoor production, Nature: A Walking Play, performing in arboretums in Minnesota, Illinois and Ohio. In 2017, we was awarded an Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board to develop a new music theatre piece about the history of taconite mining on the North Shore and Iron Range.

Stage Director Kym Longhi has cultivated her artistic vision as an actor, mime, writer, director, teacher and artist in residence for nearly 3 decades. She directed Mixed Precipitation’s hit 2016 production, Donald Giovanni in Cornlandia. Her performing and directing experience encompasses classical theater, opera, experimental theater, mime and dance. Her mime training includes intensive study with Marcel Marceau. She is an associate artist with the internationally-recognized Margolis-Brown ADAPTORS. As a core member of the performing ensemble since 1993, she collaborated in the creation of many of their original works including: Vanishing Point, Vidpires!, Starry Messenger at Children’s Theatre Company, Sleepwalkers as part of the O’Shaughnessy’s “Women of Substance” series, American Safari and The Human Show. Other performance training and experience encompasses classical speaking theater, dance, and mime. She has toured nationally and internationally as a performer and teacher, including Spain, Singapore, Japan and two extended tours in Australia. Kym has also worked as a performer/collaborator with Off Leash Area, Skewed Visions and Flaneur Productions. She is the first certified Margolis Method instructor in the United States.

Music Director Gary Ruschman has been hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle as “funny and fresh-voiced.” A native of Kentucky, Gary Ruschman is a veteran performer, educator, visual artist, and prize-winning composer/arranger. Along with thirty stage roles and hundreds of concert appearances, the tenor has toured the globe as a member of Cantus. He has appeared with major orchestras and opera companies, played in rock bands, and presented new works and music for dance in Cincinnati, New York, California, and the Twin Cities. He maintains an active singing and conducting schedule, spending much of his offstage time composing and arranging for voices. His children’s opera, Nice Mice and Friendly Frogs was produced by Minnesota Opera in 2015.


Baritone Nick Miller sings the leading role of Dr. Falstaff, having previously sung the role of Leporello in our production of Donald Giovanni in Cornlandia in 2016. Picnic Operetta alumni Naomi Karstad (Mrs. Ford) Anna Hashizume (Mrs. Page) play the “working wives” pursued by Dr. Falstaff. Baritone Alex Adams-Leytes plays the jealous Mr. Ford, following previous appearances with companies in Germany, Austria, and Italy. In the United States he’s performed with St. Petersburg Opera Company, Gulfshore Opera, and the Pacific Opera Project.

Ensemble members this year include Joni Griffith, Leif Hove, Maya Avila, Alia Jeraj, Jacob Miller, Akiko Ostlund, Nora Ricky, and Jesse Pollack-Foote. Musicians include Gary Ruschman, Drew Kellum, Avery Wong and Luke Hunter.


Mixed Precipitation blends sweet and savory bites into the storytelling to celebrate the harvest. Chefs Natalie Vandenburgh of the Good Acre and  Kyual Cribben, of Hai, Hai will craft a tasting menu adapted to the story, inviting the audience to taste the edible beauty of the Minnesota harvest.

Tour Dates and Tickets

August 16, 7pm (Preview) RSVP
Fair Oaks Park, presented by the Hennepin History Museum
200 East 24th St, Minneapolis, MN 55404

August 17, 7pm (Opening) RSVP
Fair Oaks Park, presented by the Hennepin History Museum
200 East 24th St, Minneapolis, MN 55404

August 19, 2pm  RSVP
Finland Historical Society
5653 Little Marais Rd, Finland, MN 55603

August 23, 7pm  RSVP
Dodge Nature Center
1701 Charlton Avenue, West St. Paul MN 55118

August 25, 2pm  RSVP
Northern Delicious presented by the Northern Lakes Arts Association
3298 Lenont Road, Babbitt MN, 55706

August 26, 2pm  RSVP
Cook’s Country Connection
1953 Vermilion Drive, Cook, Minnesota, 55723

September 1, 2pm  RSVP
Alexis Bailly Vineyard
18200 Kirby Ave. Hastings, MN 55033

September 2, 2pm  RSVP
Alexis Bailly Vineyard
18200 Kirby Ave. Hastings, MN 55033

September 8, 2pm  RSVP
Bronx Park Community Garden
2500 Georgia Ave. South (Nelson Park Building), St. Louis Park, 55426

September 9, 2pm  RSVP
JD Rivers’ Children’s Garden
2900 Glenwood Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55405

September 15, 2pm
Memorial Park, Presented by the Sheldon Theatre
Skyline Drive entrance off 600 Block of E. 7th Street, Red Wing, MN 55066

September 16, 2pm
Unity Park, Presented by the Page Series at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota
860 Parks Avenue, Winona, MN 55987

September 22, 3pm
Dream Acres Farm
17289 County Road 8, Wykoff, MN, 55990  Call 507-352-4255 for reservations 

September 23, 2:30pm  RSVP
Squash Blossom Farm
7499 60th Avenue NE, Oronoco, MN 55960

September 29, 3pm  RSVP
Swede Hollow Park
657 East Beaumont St, St. Paul, MN

September 30, 3pm  RSVP
Loring Park Garden of the Seasons
1382 Willow Street, Minneapolis, MN 55408

October 7, 2pm (no RSVP)
Carleton Arboretum
501 Three Oaks Drive, Northfield, MN 55057


Reservations are available on Brown Paper Tickets for most performances. Please call 1-800-838-3006. For Memorial Park in Red Wing, Unity Park in Winona, Dream Acres Farm, and the Carleton Arboretum ticketing is handled by our presenting partners. See links above. Seating is limited and reservations are strongly encouraged. The suggested donation is $10 – 20 per person. Donations are a critical source of funding for The Picnic Operetta and can be made with your reservation or collected at the performance. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. We provide blankets, bug spray, and sunscreen for our audience, but patrons are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs and water.


We are prepared to provide reasonable accommodation to patrons with physical disabilities and those using access services. Our performance is designed for an outdoor garden venue. A sighted guide is suggested for visually impaired patrons.

Please call Audience Services Lead Alia Jeraj (651-485-2283) for parking suggestions and access accommodations for each unique venue.


About Mixed Precipitation and A Picnic Operetta

Mixed Precipitation’s mission is to create unexpected theatrical experiences through unique partnerships and festive events that inspire social engagement.

Each summer we present our signature event, A Picnic Operetta, a lively theater experience touring community gardens, urban farms, parks, orchards and vineyards throughout the Twin Cities Metro and Greater Minnesota. A five-course tasting menu of locally grown, performance-inspired delicacies is served during the show. We bring together classical music, horticulture, food, and storytelling into a celebration of harvest and our local food system.

This activity is made possible in part by a grant provided by the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.