Delrae Knutson

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Delrae as Eliza Doolittle

Delrae Knutson[1][2] (also known as Delrae Novak[3]) is a stage actress and singer from Minnesota, USA specializing in musical comedy. She started her career in 1981 and has performed in theaters throughout the United States and Canada, though most of her work has been in the Twin Cities region of Minnesota, USA.

Career highlights[edit]

From 1981 to 1997 Delrae performed leading lady roles at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres,[4] the largest dinner theater in the USA, and in 1989 she was named Chanhassen Dinner Theaters’ top actress of the decade in the national theatrical publication Backstage.[5]

While Delrae was performing the part of Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady in 1987, the Governor of Minnesota, Rudy Perpich who was also a friend of Delrae's father, signed a new State Proclamation. Referencing that the character Eliza Doolittle was visiting the Twin Cities, he proclaimed that May 20 would henceforth be "Eliza Doolittle Day"[6] in recognition that "...educational training in speech, diction and grammar is a valued asset in achieving a successful and happy future...".

In 1997 Delrae performed in The Odd Couple during a six-month tour of North America with Troupe America Inc.[7] She played the part of 'Gwendolyn Pigeon' alongside M*A*S*H stars Jamie Farr and William Christopher.

Formative years[edit]

Delrae was born and raised in northern Minnesota with one older brother. Her mother was of Swedish ancestry and was a grade school teacher while her father, of Norwegian heritage, was very active in civic matters and state politics and was mayor of her home town for many years.

Originally, Delrae had planned to study to become a music teacher, but she discovered her penchant for acting and singing when an unexpected opportunity arose to take the lead role in an amateur production at her University. She gained her Batchelor of Arts summa cum laude in Drama/Theatre Arts and Stagecraft from Minnesota State University and then went on to study at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art in the UK.

Acting roles[edit]

Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, Chanhassen, Minnesota:
She Loves Me (Amalia)[8] [9]
The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Edwin Drood)[10][11]
Guys and Dolls (Sarah)[12]
The Music Man (Marian)[13][14]
Camelot (Guenevere)[15][16]
My Fair Lady (Eliza) [17][18]
42nd Street (Dorothy Brock, 1988 production)[19][20]
42nd Street (Dorothy Brock, 1995 production)[21][22]
South Pacific (Nellie)[23][24]
The Sound of Music (Elsa)
Brigadoon (Jane)
Annie (Grace)
I Do! I Do! (Agnes)[25][26]
Brighton Beach Memoirs (Kate)[27] [28]
Lend Me a Tenor (Maggie)[29][30]
The Foreigner (Catherine)[31][32]
Chapter Two (Faye)
Groucho: A Life in Revue (Women in Groucho's Life)[33][34]

Troupe America Inc.,[35] Minneapolis, Minnesota:
Performed in the 1997 six-month tour of The Odd Couple (Gwendolyn Pigeon)[36] in over 95 theaters throughout the US and Canada, with M*A*S*H stars Jamie Farr and William Christopher.

Arizona Theatre Company, Tucson, Arizona:
The Importance of Being Earnest (Gwendolen)[37][38]
The Boys Next Door (Mrs. Fremus, Mrs. Warren, Clara)[39][40]
Quilters (LouAnn)[41][42]
My Fair Lady (Chorus, Eliza Understudy)

Ruby’s Cabaret, Minneapolis, Minnesota:
Sing Me No Love Songs[43][44]

Carousel Dinner Theatre, Ravenna, Ohio:
Oliver (Nancy)[45]
Show Boat (Chorus, Magnolia Understudy)

Directing[edit]

Delrae created and directed a Blue Man Group parody in collaboration with the production company, InHouse Media,[46] to support the roll-out of the new "Wow" photography program at Lifetouch National School Studios. The production was presented at the Minneapolis Convention Center Minnesota.

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://delraeknutson.com/index.html
  2. ^ http://www.abouttheartists.com/artists/514585-delrae-knutson
  3. ^ http://www.abouttheartists.com/artists/514488-delrae-novak
  4. ^ https://www.chanhassendt.com/Online/default.asp
  5. ^ Backstage (national theatrical publication), December 1, 1989 "Entertainment critic, Gary Johnston, voted actress Delrae Novak as Chanhassen Dinner Theaters’ top actress of the decade."
  6. ^ http://delraeknutson.com/Eliza_Doolittle_Day.pdf
  7. ^ http://troupeamerica.com/2012/05/14/touring-shows-produced-troupe-america/
  8. ^ KSJN radio station (Minnesota Public Radio), December 26, 1984 "...newcomer Delrae Novak plays Amalia"
  9. ^ Minneapolis, Minnesota Star and Tribune review by Peter Vaughan, November 22, 1984 "Novak reaches operatic heights at times in her solos."
  10. ^ Minneapolis, Minnesota City Pages review by Robert Collins, July 6, 1988 "Delrae Novak as Drood shines in this remarkable group..."
  11. ^ St Paul, Minnesota Pioneer Press Dispatch review by Randall Findlay April 11, 1988 "Delrae Novak is a pert Drood, strutting around the stage with the arrogance of youth"
  12. ^ Minneapolis, Minnesota Star and Tribune review by Peter Vaughan, March 29, 1989 "Delrae Novak gives Sarah, the Salvation Army sergeant, an intelligent, independent air..."
  13. ^ Minneapolis, Minnesota Star and Tribune review by Peter Vaughan, July 1990 "Delrae Novak is a wonderfully appealing Marian..."
  14. ^ Minneapolis, Minnesota City Pages review by Judith Lewis, July 1990 "Chanhassen’s production, under Michael Brindisi’s direction, benefits heavily from performances by Delrae Novak and Scott Allen as Marian and Harold."
  15. ^ Minneapolis, Minnesota Star and Tribune review by Peter Vaughan, November 19, 1990 "...is ably supported by Delrae Knutson’s Guenevere"
  16. ^ St Paul, Minnesota Pioneer Press review by Tad Simmons, November 1990" Delrae Knutson as Guenevere has a crystalline voice that is bold and bright in joy and achingly soft in despair..."
  17. ^ Minneapolis, Minnesota Twin Cities Reader review by Carla Waldemar, December 5, 1984 "Delrae Novak contributes a strong and winning singing voice and stage manner..."
  18. ^ Minneapolis, MN Skyway News review by Lucille Johnsen Stelling, September 25, 1986 "... the title role is played to perfection by Delrae Novak."
  19. ^ Minneapolis, Minnesota Star and Tribune review by Peter Vaughan, September 13, 1988 "The success of Brindisi’s approach can be seen especially in the character of Dorothy Brock, played beautifully by Delrae Novak."
  20. ^ St Paul, Minnesota Pioneer Press Dispatch review by Maggi Kramm, September, 1988 "Delrae Novak (Dorothy, the aging prima donna) possesses a lovely, strong voice..."
  21. ^ St Paul, Minnesota Pioneer Press review by Jayne M. Blanchard, February 9, 1995 "Other high points in 42nd Street include Delrae Knutson as the retiring star, Dorothy Brock."
  22. ^ Chanhassen, Minnesota Chanhassen Villager review by Kathy Nelson, February, 1995 "The star of the show, Dorothy Brock, played adeptly by Delrae Knutson..."
  23. ^ Minneapolis, Minnesota Star Tribune review by Mike Steele, July 10, 1992 "The Chanhassen production, directed by Michael Brindisi, offers a superbly open, warm-hearted, lively performance by Delrae Knutson as Nellie Forbush..."
  24. ^ St Paul, Minnesota Pioneer Press review by Erin Hart, July 12, 1992 "Delrae Knutson is pert and likable as Nellie Forbush."
  25. ^ Chanhassen, Minnesota Chanhassen Villager review by Kathy Nelson, October, 1995 "Knutson brings her strong singing voice to Agnes..."
  26. ^ St Paul, Minnesota Pioneer Press review by Jayne M. Blanchard, October, 1995 "...this new show entertains, thanks to the nearly aerobic zest of Delrae Knutson and Steve Hendrickson in the roles of Michael and Agnes."
  27. ^ Minneapolis, Minnesota Star Tribune review by Peter Vaughan, November 10, 1993 "...Delrae Knutson gives Kate, the mother, a sharp and narrow edge that contrasts with the openness of her husband and their children."
  28. ^ St Paul, Minnesota Pioneer Press review by Jayne M. Blanchard, November 15, 1993 "...Knutson imbues Kate with a fierce protectiveness that often explodes into comic nagging"
  29. ^ Chanhassen, MN The Chanhassen Villager review by LaVonne Barac, September 19, 1991 " .. Delrae Knutson, who plays Maggie, seems a fixture at the Chanhassen Dinner Theaters..."
  30. ^ St Paul, Minnesota Pioneer Press review by Roy M. Close, September 1991 "...a first-rate cast led by Paul Boesing as Saunders, Jay Albright as Max and Delrae Knutson as Maggie..."
  31. ^ Minneapolis, Minnesota Twin Cities Reader review by Carla Waldemar, August, 1985 "...a likable Delrae Novak is both honey-sweet and harridan-shrill."
  32. ^ St. Paul, Minnesota Pioneer Press Dispatch review by David Hawley, August 1985 "Delrae Novak, one of Chanhassen’s recent musical performers, makes her straight play debut with this production, and she proves to be a very good romantic actress."
  33. ^ Minneapolis, Minnesota Star and Tribune review by Peter Vaughan, May 14, 1991 "... Delrae Knutson adds strong backing as the women in Groucho’s life..."
  34. ^ St Paul, Minnesota Pioneer Press review by Roy M. Close, May 12, 1991 "Knutson is funniest - of course- as Groucho’s pre-eminent straight man, Margaret Dumont."
  35. ^ http://troupeamerica.com/2012/05/14/touring-shows-produced-troupe-america/
  36. ^ Times Leader, Wilkes-Barre PA, `ODD COUPLE' REMAINS SHARP by Bob Nocek; Times Leader Staff Writer, Monday, March 03, 1997, Page: 2A "Director Curt Wollan assembled a first-rate cast, particularly in the squealing, scene-stealing Pigeon sisters, Gwendolyn and Cecily, played by Delrae Knutson and Angela Timberman...."
  37. ^ Tucson, Arizona The Arizona Daily Star review by M. Scot Skinner, January, 1990 "... and Delrae Novak has many excellent moments as (Cecily’s) nonsensical counterpart, Gwendolen."
  38. ^ Phoenix, Arizona New Times review by Robert X. Planet, March 1990 "And Delrae Novak adds spice and sophistication as Gwendolen Fairfax."
  39. ^ Green Valley, Arizona Green Valley News and Sun review by Bob Motta, 1990 "Delrae Novak also plays three distinct roles: Mrs. Fremus, Mrs. Warren and the brilliant portrayal of Clara..."
  40. ^ Phoenix, Az The Arizona Republic review by Linda M. Trezza, March 27, 1990 "Multiple roles are deftly handled by Oliver Cliff and Delrae Novak."
  41. ^ Phoenix, Arizona. The Arizona Republic review by Linda M. Trezza, November 24, 1989 "Delrae Novak’s clear melodious voice often is heard above the others..."
  42. ^ Tucson, Arizona The Arizona Daily Star review by M. Scot Skinner, October 29, 1989 "The tasteful production features seven actresses of extraordinary talent. ...a seamless, dignified ensemble"
  43. ^ Minneapolis, Minnesota Star Tribune review by Michael Anthony, May 24, 1990 "Delrae Novak, a statuesque blond who has performed often at the Chanhassen Dinner Theaters..."
  44. ^ St Paul, Minnesota Pioneer Press, April 1990, lists "Sing Me No Love Songs"... Novak is especially effective on her decidedly uncountrified rendition of Willie Nelson’s Crazy."
  45. ^ Greensburg, Pennsylvania Tribune review by Donna Lange, April 11, 1982 "cast is topflight, keeping English accents intact. Included are: Delrae Knutson as the compassionate Nancy..."
  46. ^ http://www.inhousegroup.com/about.php

External links[edit]