The Tony Award-winning musical comedy, "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," hits the stage at Tartan Theatre in Oakdale beginning Jan. 3.

"Each production that we have brought to the Tartan Theatre stage has been unique, and 'Spelling Bee' is no exception," said Ryan DeLaCroix, Tartan Theatre's director.

"Spelling Bee" is a hip musical comedy that follows six young people in the throes of puberty, who are overseen by grown-ups who barely managed to escape childhood themselves. They learn that winning isn't everything and that losing doesn't necessarily make you a loser. At each performance, four audience volunteers are selected and invited onstage to participate in the Bee, making each performance unique.

Tickets are $25 for adults, $23 for seniors and $16 for youth under the age of 18. All performances include dinner or brunch and all seating is onstage. Performances are at 7 p.m. Jan. 3-4 and at 1 p.m. Jan. 5. Meals begin 30 minutes before show time. For tickets, go to, call 651-702-8652, or in person at 828 Greenway Av. N., Oakdale. Catering is provided by Tinucci's Restaurant.

Cottage Grove

Two special skating events to be at arena

Two special skating events are planned in the coming week at Cottage Grove Ice Arena, 8020 80th St., Cottage Grove. Both events cost $4.

Skate with the Wolfpack, an opportunity to skate with players from Park High School's hockey team, will take place from 2-3:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 29.

On New Year's Eve, public skating will take place from 3:30-5 p.m. The lights will be dimmed, music will be played and concessions will be available for purchase.

Denmark township

Preschool story time topic to be … snow!

A story time for preschoolers, "Let it Snow!" is set for 10-11 a.m. on Jan. 10 at Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center, 12805 St. Croix Trail, Hastings.

The program is designed for 2- to 5-year-olds and incorporates a story, a nature walk and an art or craft activity. The fee is $5 per child, or $3 for "Friends of CNC." There is no charge for accompanying adults.

Please RSVP early by calling 651-437-4359.

Marine on St. Croix

Introduction to snowshoeing offered at William O'Brien

A program providing free use of snowshoes for beginners is being offered from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 11 at William O'Brien State Park, 16821 O'Brien Trail N., Marine on St. Croix.

Participants will meet at the Visitor Center and go through a short introduction on snowshoes and the fundamentals of snowshoeing. Then they can check out the snowshoes, explore the park, look for tracks and wildlife and get a feel for snowshoeing.

There are a limited number of snowshoes, so please call the park office to sign up at 651-433-0500.

White Bear Lake

Lakeshore Players' 'Petrified Forest' opens Jan. 6

"The Petrified Forest," an iconic American story written by four-time Pulitzer Prize winner Robert E. Sherwood, opens Jan. 6 at the Lakeshore Players Theatre, 4820 Stewart Av., White Bear Lake, and will play through Feb. 2.

The drama tells the story of Alan Squier, a disenchanted man on a journey — perhaps his last — to Arizona's Petrified Forest. On the way, he stops at a roadside diner and befriends Gabby, a young waitress with big dreams and hope for the future. Then gangsters led by Duke Mantee show up at the diner and take hostages, and a battle of wits begins. The stakes? Life and death.

Tickets are $20, $18 for seniors/students, and can be ordered online at

Jim Anderson