Live, from Seward June 6-8

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“Live from Minneapolis, it’s Saturday Night!” No, the legendary late night TV jokesters have not left New York and taken the show on the road. However, Saturday Night Live! (SNL) will be the theme for this year’s annual outdoor show, put on by a group of talented Seward youth. All proceeds from the event go to benefit Project Offstreets’ Kulture Klub.

Saturday Night Live!
June 6–8
Intersection of West River Parkway at South 26th Street
Performances are Friday, June 6 at 7 p.m.; Saturday, June 7 (two shows) at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Sunday, June 8 (two shows) at 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. A rain-out date has been set at the same location on Monday, June 9, at
7 p.m. Donations accepted.

An oblong patch of grass on West River Parkway at South 26th Street will serve as the stage for rollicking renditions of well-known characters taken from SNL’s 30-year history. The railroad bridge going over the Mississippi River serves as a nice backdrop for the performances.

Sam Bramble and Luke Riveness will reprise the “wild and crazy guys” act, made famous by Steve Martin and Dan Aykroyd. It’s a nice reinterpretation, right down to the mismatching pants, shirts and hats and swiveling hips. As for SNL’s weekly host, Johnny Depp has been chosen as the master of ceremonies. Kate Cuthbert plays the part very coolly, wearing the signature shades, fedora and vest favored by the actor. For full effect, Kate was wearing an even-cooler penciled-on mustache and goatee.

Louise Robinson is director, producer, screenwriter, and mom to two of the young actors, twins Audrey and Kate Cuthbert. Robinson called out encouragingly: “OK guys, try to project, project to your audiences!” The actors responded with enthusiasm. Robinson expects an audience of up to 150 each performance.

Under a stand of green spring trees, a dozen or so young actors were running here and there, going through skits, routines and mock duels, and getting into and out of costumes.

When it came to learning lines, Luke Riveness said, “I try to get it as close as possible, but if they’re not exact, that’s OK.” Wilson Cross, standing nearby, is a bit more exacting, saying “I read over them as many times as possible so I don’t have to look at the lines.”

When not acting, most of the troupe are busy memorizing dates, equations and foreign languages at Anne Sullivan Communication Center.

This is the fifth year the kids have performed together, with previous themes coming from Star Wars, the Wizard of Oz, Godzilla and Rear Window. When asked what next year’s theme would be, Robinson lamented this may be the last one. (And no, it’s not a ploy to sell more tickets.)

The show is a major commitment for teens busy with school and other activities, she explained. The players start coming together in February and practice two times per week up until curtain time in June. Should there be no show next year, Robinson sees it as a chance to “open the door to other creative opportunities.”

Kulture Klub is a program that pairs working artists with teens experiencing homeless, an interactive collaboration, which enables homeless youth to express their creativity. In using their own creative talents, Seward’s kids are helping others less fortunate or in difficult circumstances to do the same.