A Nice Family Gathering

Presented by The Phipps Center for the Arts

The Phipps Center for the Arts

109 Locust Street, Hudson, Wis.


Call 715.386.8409
Buy tickets online

120 minutes

With intermission

Past performances

Friday, September 7 7:30 pm
Saturday, September 8 7:30 pm
Sunday, September 9 2:30 pm
Friday, September 14 7:30 pm
Saturday, September 15 7:30 pm
Sunday, September 16 2:30 pm
Friday, September 21 7:30 pm
Saturday, September 22 7:30 pm
Sunday, September 23 2:30 pm
  • ASL interpreted

“A Nice Family Gathering,” a poignant comedy by Phil Olson, will be performed September 7-23 on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. as well as Sundays at 2:30 p.m. at The Phipps Center for the Arts in Hudson, Wis.

Set in the Midwest, probably in Minnesota, the Lundeen family unites for the Thanksgiving holiday. This will be the first family gathering since Mr. Lundeen passed away. So naturally he decides to attend, as a spirit that only his son, Carl, can see. Mr. Lundeen is portrayed by Jon Aton of New Richmond, Wis., who was last seen in “Once Upon a Mattress” at the center. Carl is played by Austin Vockrodt Lee of Crystal, Minn., a newcomer to The Phipps stage. Dad wants Carl to tell his mother, played by Sarah Eschweiler of Minneapolis, that he loved her, a little thing he forgot to verbalize while still alive. Carl refuses to do his father’s bidding, so of course Dad is relentless.

But that is not the only dilemma the Lundeen’s are facing. Oldest son Michael, played by Danny Vopava of St. Paul, another new arrival to the center, plays a physician who is struggling with his wife’s overspending addiction and subsequent debt as a way of dealing with her infertility, which is also breaking the family bank.  Jill, his wife, is portrayed by Toni Trussoni from Falcon Heights, Minn., who was last seen in “Proposals” at The Phipps. The remaining Lundeen family member, Stacy, played by Karen Biedermann of St. Paul, is striving for family recognition. The family soon discovers that Stacy has her secrets, which finally gets her the attention she has been seeking. Rounding out the cast is the neighbor, Jerry, played by Wes McClain of Roseville, Minn., who comes to dinner as Mom’s date, much to Dad’s dismay.   

Director Gordon Hedahl returns to The Phipps to direct this nice, but nutty, family gathering. Technical director Mark Koski creates a charming setting for this family affair based on the set design of Jay Ganz. The lighting designer is Bill Larsen, the costume designer is Nancy Miller, the prop designer is Sara Kessler, and the sound designer is Kassia Lisinski. Jeff Musch serves as the stage manager.

Tickets are $26 for adults and $19 for students of any age, with a $2 discount for seniors on the Sunday matinees. Reservations may be made by contacting The Phipps ticket office at 715.386.8409 or online at ThePhipps.org. The Phipps Center is 20 miles from St. Paul.

The Sunday, September 23 matinee will be American sign language interpreted. Interested patrons should contact [email protected] to make reservations.

Champagne brunch cruise and theater packages are available for the Sunday matinees. Reservations may be made by contacting Afton-Hudson Cruise Lines at 651.436.8883 or online at AftonHouseInn.com.