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Fournier and Command had met years earlier, but their bond really formed when they were part of the original company at Chanhassen Dinner Theatre in 1968. Fournier danced, choreographed and acted (playing Lola in “Damn Yankees”). She also spent seven years as choreographer at Chimera, then the largest community theater in the Twin Cities, where she played the lead in “Charity” in 1974, directed by her longtime friend and mentor Larry Whiteley.
Fournier also worked at the old Friars in Minneapolis, where she did “Last of the Red Hot Lovers” with Barry ZeVan, the KSTP-TV weatherman. They married in the early 1970s and when ZeVan was hired away to Washington, D.C., she went with him. She and ZeVan later divorced.
Fournier bounced around to Detroit and Chicago before moving back to the Twin Cities in 1986. When Command became artistic director at Bloomington Civic Theatre, she became his assistant for several shows. Working at the Jungle on “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” in 2011 and in “Urinetown” has reunited her with managing director Margo Gisselman, one of the original dancers at Chanhassen. It also has allowed her to form new friendships.
“Everyone relies on her eye,” said Bradley Greenwald, who has played key roles in both musicals. “She has a very acute sense for everything on stage and when she gives corrections you can trust her because she’s had such a lengthy history and she’s always right.”
Fournier has been married to her third husband, Paul Fournier, for 15 years (“third time, I got it right,” she said). They live in New Brighton, where she still coaches dancers and actors. She also has taken to writing, with a memoir about her mother’s experience with Alzheimer’s, “On the Sunny Side of the Street,” and two novels on chorus life.
“The characters come out of real events and my experience,” she said. She’s working on a third and has a fourth planned.
“She’s a great example of someone who has made performing her life,” Greenwald said. “It’s not just a category for her, it’s part of her life. That’s beautiful to see in someone.”
Graydon Royce • 612-673-7299