Fargo, ND — You might say Theatre B is a family project. David Wintersteen and his wife, Carolyn, teamed up with Scott and Lori Horvik to start Theatre B. Amber Rae Krenzel is the fifth member of the troupe.
David Wintersteen says the name Theatre B has special meaning.
"To us it means things like 'alternative', 'flip side.' I think of the number of 45's that came out where the best song was on the "B" side," says Wintersteen. "And that's part of what it means to us."
Lori Horvik says Theatre B aims to provide modern drama for adult audiences in an intimate setting.
"Usually we're bringing up an issue or something that needs to be addressed within the community," says Horvik. "It doesn't hit you over the head but it certainly has something to say about it and it certainly makes you aware that the situation exists. We're hoping to tie in funding to that as well. Partnerships in the community with other non-profits and for profit, but also grant writing to address those areas as well."
Theatre B's home is the old Moose Lodge in downtown Fargo. Lori Horvik says the group wants to become one of the destination spots that draws people to a revitalized downtown.
The company's first production was Donald Margulie's Pulitzer Prize winning play, Dinner with Friends. It's a humorous, yet sensitive look at divorce and broken friendships.
Theatre B is a non-profit group. Funding for the troupe comes from the founder's pockets and ticket sales. They've also picked up some corporate sponsors. Scott Horvik says Theatre B is looking to fill a niche.
"What we're trying to do is grow the industry. We're not looking at ourselves as being someone who's going to take away theater goers from Concordia, from community theater," says Horvik. "We want to get people excited about live theater."
Scott Horvik says the focus of most theater groups in the Fargo-Moorhead area is education. He says those groups do a fine job. But sometimes there's an unevenness to the production that frustrates both actors and audiences.
"Sometimes your not quite sure who is going to be involved with the show. I think that might be what's going to set us apart," says Horvik. "We're hoping to find people who have a body of work behind them and would like to come and collaborate with us and that's what we're looking to do."
Theatre B opens it's production of "Two Rooms" by Lee Blessing on Thursday. Director Lori Horvik says advanced ticket sales have been slow, but she's not worried. That's common for many performing arts companies in the area. She says day of show sales for the group's first production was strong. But it does make long range planning for the new group difficult.
The founders of Theatre B all have extensive backgrounds in theater. Co-founder Carolyn Wintersteen says the group is getting help for business planning.
"We're hoping by having a board of directors of some prominent business people in town and with help from other community leaders that we have been in contact with that they're going to give us some guidance about how do we plan for the next stage," says Wintersteen.
Theatre B founders say they've been welcomed by the downtown community. Not as a competitor, but as a partner to encourage people to experience a growing arts scene in Fargo-Moorhead.