Vrchota returns in 'Nunsense'

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by Theresa Andrus
The Maple Lake Community Theater production of “Nunsense” in February will feature the return of a long-time featured performer.
Jim Vrchota was cast in the unlikely role as Sister Robert Anne, a street-wise nun from Brooklyn. Vrchota said director Tricia Manuel had no doubt he would be well-received in the role.
“Tricia and I talked and I told her it was kind of hard for a guy to find a role in “Nunsense,” Vrchota laughed. “But she said she had seen the entire play done with guys, so I said I’d do it.”
Nunsense begins with the Little Sisters of Hoboken in dire need of funds for the burials of four dead sisters left in their freezer. 
The sisters decide that the best way to raise the money is to put on a variety show, so they take over the school auditorium, which is currently set up for the eighth grade production of “Grease.” Here the audience meets Reverend Mother Regina, a former circus performer; Sister Mary Hubert, the Mistress of Novices; Sister Robert Anne, the streetwise nun from Brooklyn; Sister Mary Leo, a novice who is a wannabe ballerina; and the delightfully wacky Sister Mary Amnesia, the nun who lost her memory when a crucifix fell on her head. 
It is in such an unlikely role that Vrchota, a former vice president with Security State (now  First National) Bank in Maple Lake, is returning to the Maple Lake Community Theater after moving away 13 years ago. Vrchota said he had a goal of becoming a bank president by the age of 40 and he achieved that goal when he accepted the position as president of Citizens State Bank of Waverly. 
From there, Jim, his wife Tami, and their family moved when he accepted a position with First National Bank of Hudson and followed that by starting a branch of Horizon Banks in Pine City. 
But when Vrchota’s mother passed away a few years ago in Veblen, SD, he called recruiters until he found a bank position in Brookings, SD, that would allow him to be near his dad. 
“After I got dad settled, I wanted to try to get close to family in the Twin Cities, but not so far from Dad if he needed help,” Vrchota said. 
That opportunity arose with a position at Center National Bank in Litchfield. Vrchota began his new job on Nov. 1 and lost no time getting involved in both the Maple Lake and Litchfield community theaters. He will be directing “Oklahoma” in July for the Litchfield Community Theater.
But Vrchota stayed involved in the theater throughout his travels as a banker. He played the role of Elwood P. Dowd in a Brookings production of “Harvey” and was also Felix Unger if a production of “The Odd Couple.” There was also a role as the Tin Man in the “Wizard of Oz” and a role as Curly in “Oklahoma.” He also performed in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” and directed “Beauty and the Beast.”
That long list of theatrical credits is similar to those on his resume in Maple Lake, where he was involved in the revitalization of the Village Players in the mid-90s, which was the first effort by the Maple Lake Community Theater. Among his local credits are several productions of the “World War II Reviews,” Oklahoma,” “Anything Goes,” “Deadwood Dick,” and he also directed “Barefoot in the Park.”
As the middle child in a family of eight kids, Vrchota said performing was a way to stand out, first by singing in youth choirs and then in school theatrical productions. 
“I always tell people that I’m a banker by trade, but an entertainer by heart,”Vrchota laughed, noting the driving time from Litchfield, not to mention the rehearsal time on evenings and weekends. “I’m devoting a significant part of my life, so there must be something about it I like.”
The Vrchota family spent seven years in Maple Lake and Jim said he developed an attachment for the theater group and the community. 
“It’s almost like coming back home to see a child, to see how it has grown,” Vrchota said. 
The Maple Lake Community Theater has fielded big community productions each year since the mid-1990s and Maple Lake is a larger city since Vrchota served as a member of the city council and in the leadership of the Chamber of Commerce. 
“I came to this community as a young man and ingrained myself into the fiber of what was going on,” he said. “That’s when banking is fun–when you can be a force for growth and positive change in the community.”
Tickets for “Nunsense” can be purchased in advance at First National Bank, The Costume Shop, and the Maple Lake Library. Performances are set for the Maple Lake High School auditorium on Feb. 18, 19, 25, 26 and 7 p.m. and on Feb. 20 & 27 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $7 in advance or $8 at the door. In an opening night special on Feb. 18, tickets can be purchased at a reduced price of $5.
A Cafeteria School Lunch will be available on Sunday, Feb. 20 before that day’s performance. The menu will feature baked chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, a salad, homemade bread and a cookie for a free will offering to the Maple Lake Community Theater. 
The Maple Lake Community Theater production of “Nunsense” in February will feature the return of a long-time featured performer.
Jim Vrchota was cast in the unlikely role as Sister Robert Anne, a street-wise nun from Brooklyn. Vrchota said director Tricia Manuel had no doubt he would be well-received in the role.
“Tricia and I talked and I told her it was kind of hard for a guy to find a role in “Nunsense,” Vrchota laughed. “But she said she had seen the entire play done with guys, so I said I’d do it.”
Nunsense begins with the Little Sisters of Hoboken in dire need of funds for the burials of four dead sisters left in their freezer. 
The sisters decide that the best way to raise the money is to put on a variety show, so they take over the school auditorium, which is currently set up for the eighth grade production of “Grease.” Here the audience meets Reverend Mother Regina, a former circus performer; Sister Mary Hubert, the Mistress of Novices; Sister Robert Anne, the streetwise nun from Brooklyn; Sister Mary Leo, a novice who is a wannabe ballerina; and the delightfully wacky Sister Mary Amnesia, the nun who lost her memory when a crucifix fell on her head. 
It is in such an unlikely role that Vrchota, a former vice president with Security State (now  First National) Bank in Maple Lake, is returning to the Maple Lake Community Theater after moving away 13 years ago. Vrchota said he had a goal of becoming a bank president by the age of 40 and he achieved that goal when he accepted the position as president of Citizens State Bank of Waverly. 
From there, Jim, his wife Tami, and their family moved when he accepted a position with First National Bank of Hudson and followed that by starting a branch of Horizon Banks in Pine City. 
More information appears in this week's Messenger.
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