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Creating theater a treat for Afton woman

For Afton resident Calyssa Hall, the sweetest place to be is backstage at a theater performance.

“I love going up on a dusty catwalk,” she said. “You’re the one making it happen on stage, you’re making the art and I am backstage getting to watch them create.”

Hall’s passion for theater was realized a year ago this month when she started her very own theater company, Only A Dim Image Dessert Theatre.

“I know this is God’s s plan for my life – I can feel it,” she said. “I feel so validated.”

The theater company will put on a performance of “Lady Be Good!” this weekend, Thursday to Saturday, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Music Box Theatre, 1407 Nicollet Ave., in Minneapolis.

“Lady Be Good!” is a 1920s classic romantic comedy written by George and Ira Gershwin.

‘It was meant to be’

Hall, 23, first became introduced to theater when she started volunteering at the Phipps Center for the Arts on the technical side before taking jobs as stage manager with Stillwater Community Theater and South St. Paul Community Theater.

“I fell in love with the backstage stuff,” she said. “I thought I was going to be a professional stage manager and it was going to be great.”

After some events in her life made her step back and think, Hall said she decided it was the perfect time to take a risk and start her own company.

“I’ve kind of been shy my whole life and afraid to fail,” she said. “But, now is the time that I need to stop being afraid of what people think and just go for it.

“You either have to go for your dream or you’ll be building someone else’s.”

Hall, a theater and music student at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, started recruiting friends and acquaintances, including her music professor to serve as the music director, to round out her company.

“We didn’t have any money, we didn’t have any people,” she said, “we just had faith.

“We went out on a limb and it all just fell together – it was meant to be.”

The pieces continued to fall together this year when Hall, whose father and sister are involved in Woodbury Community Theatre, began renting rehearsal space at Merrill Community Arts Center.

A tasty take on theater

:Hall came up with the name for her theater company after a Bible verse truly connected to her and her passions.

The passage, from 1 Corinthians 13:12, reads: "What we see now is like a dim image in a mirror; then we shall see face-to-face. What I know now is only partial; then it will be complete.”

“Even the most beautiful thing you see now is only a dim image of what’s to come,” she said. “This is what I need to do for theater.”

Only A Dim Image Dessert Theatre’s first production, “Gigi,” was at the Southern Theater in Minneapolis last September.

“I took the $2,000 out of my savings account and rented the space and bought the rights,” Hall said.

The vision for her theater company is two-fold – dessert and beauty.

Hall said she always enjoyed going to dinner theaters as a child, which is why she wanted to bring something similar to her theater company.

“We all love dinner theatres,” she said, “but the dessert is the best part.”

During performances, Only A Dim Image Dessert Theatre sells desserts before and after performances and during intermissions.

Hall’s company has partnered with Buttercream Bakery in St. Paul for its desserts. 

More information on Only A Dim Image Dessert Theatre can be found online at Tickets for “Lady Be Good!” can be purchased at

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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