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Last Supper Drama to be presented March 28 at Detroit Lakes' Trinity Lutheran Church

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Last Supper Drama to be presented March 28 at Detroit Lakes' Trinity Lutheran Church


DETROIT LAKES

— On Thursday, March 28 — the day known by Christians around the world as Maundy Thursday — the congregation of Trinity Lutheran Church in Detroit Lakes will be bringing to life the events depicted in one of the most famous paintings of all time — Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.”

Since its beginnings in the early 1990s, the Last Supper Drama has been a triennial event for the Trinity congregation — until 2021, when COVID-19 restrictions led to its cancellation.

“We used to do it every three years,” says the play’s production manager, Vicki Welke. “But we haven’t had one since 2018.”

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Da Vinci’s mural painting, which can be found in the refectory of the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy, is based on a Biblical verse, John 13:21. In that verse, Jesus announced that one of his 12 disciples would betray him; the painting specifically portrays the reaction given by each apostle immediately after Jesus’ unexpected statement.

All 12 apostles have different reactions to the news, each displaying varying degrees of anger and shock. In the Trinity Lutheran interpretation, the action unfolds with each of the 12 walking into the church sanctuary and taking their place at the table, forming the exact poses depicted in the painting.

Grant Gallatin, one of the actors in the 2018 Last Supper Drama at Trinity Lutheran Church in Detroit Lakes, getting his stage makeup applied by volunteer costumer Dorothy Hoover.

Contributed / Vicki Welke / Trinity Lutheran Church

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After taking their places, the actors “freeze,” mimicking the poses shown in da Vinci’s painting as closely as possible. The action progresses as each of those 12 apostles is briefly given the spotlight, to discuss their reactions to Jesus’ declaration. When the spotlight lands on one apostle, the other 11 must hold their positions until it is their turn to speak, then resume their pose when they are finished.

“The apostles speak their minds, to themselves, to each other, and to their Lord,” says David Anderson, who plays the role of narrator for this year’s production.

After the sixth apostle speaks, there is an interlude where the audience is treated to a musical performance. This year’s musical interlude will be provided by Anderson as well.

“I’ll be singing ‘The Lord’s Prayer,’” he said.

“He has a wonderful voice,” Welke said, adding that the break between the two acts has traditionally also included communion, for both the apostles and those members of the audience who choose to participate.

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“The bread is always fresh-baked,” she said, “and I’ve already purchased the smoked fish (specifically, herring purchased from Morey’s in Motley).”

Of course, there will also be wine served, she added. Following this interlude, the remaining six apostles will each have their individual moment in the spotlight.

Besides Anderson, actors in this year’s production include Tim Hagen (Andrew), Nick Olson (James), Keith Hochgraber (James the Lesser), Tom Vagle (Jesus), Rich Ziegler (Judas Iscariot), Bardie Skjonsberg (Matthew), Pastor Ray Larson (Communion Narrator), Michael Herzog (Nathaniel), Shawn May (Peter), Marty Brietzman (Philip), Charles Landor (Simon the Zealot), Devin Hagen (Thaddeus) and Bill Simmons (Thomas).

The crew includes director Jenny Hagen; light technicians Kyle Kessler, Woody Blasing and Bethany Hagen; makeup artists Denise Cox, Betty Carlisle, Dorothy Hoover and Misha Olson; Jim Velde on sound and video; vocalists Madi Hagen and Lesi Limesand; Tim Miller on setup and take down (with assistance from the 12 disciple actors); and costumers Dotz Johnson and Sheri Gray.

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2015 Earl Johnson.jpg

One long-time cast member of the Last Supper Drama who will not be appearing in this year’s production is Earl Johnson, who is seen here as James the Lesser in a 2015 production of the play. Johnson, who died in February, was involved in the current production up until the week before his death.

Contributed / Vicki Welke / Trinity Lutheran Church

One longtime cast member whose name is notably not on the list is Earl Johnson, who played the role of James the Lesser for many years. Though Johnson died in February, he did play a part in this year’s production.

“The week just before he passed away, he was helping to build some new set pieces,” Welke said, adding that this year’s drama is getting a “fresh look,” with some new set pieces, costuming, and even a few changes that David Johnson, a first-time addition to the cast, has made to the narrative.

He and Marty Brietzman, who is playing Philip for the first time this year, both said that they wanted to be involved after seeing a past production or two at Trinity.

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“I took my aunt to see it, and I think I took my mom once,” Breitzman said. It was seeing the show from the congregation side that convinced him he wanted to be involved, he added, and now that he’s retired, he can navigate the time commitment required a bit more easily.

One name that is likely appearing for the last time on the Last Supper cast list is Rich Ziegler, who has played the role of Judas in eight different productions, including this one.

Last Supper 2018 Ziegler.jpg

Seen here holding a bag that contains the biblically referenced “30 pieces of silver” with which Judas Iscariot was bribed to betray Jesus, Trinity Lutheran Church member Rich Ziegler has played the role of Judas in eight productions of the Last Supper Drama, including the one to be presented on Thursday, March 23, 2024, at 6:30 p.m. This photograph is from the 2018 production.

Contributed / Vicki Welke / Trinity Lutheran Church

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“I want to experience seeing it from the audience,” Ziegler explained, adding that he also feels it’s time for the role to be passed on to the next generation.

It’s a sentiment he shares with Stan Richter, who has played the disciple John multiple times as well. “We should get some type of old-timer’s award,” Richter said jokingly.

“I like the combination of old guys and new guys,” he continued, adding that he remembers one year when one of the disciples was so young he had to use a fake beard (the disciple actors usually grow out their beards naturally for the production).

“This year, our youngest (cast member) is 25,” Welke said, so that shouldn’t be an issue.

Besides growing out their facial hair for a couple of months prior to the performance, the actors are also expected to have their lines fully memorized by the time of the first dress rehearsal, which is usually the Monday before the show.

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“We practice Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, then the performance is Maundy Thursday,” Welke said.

Richter recalls that he was “a bit nervous” the first time he appeared in the production, because he was the ninth apostle on the list, and worried that he would get so caught up in listening to the other apostles that he wouldn’t remember his own lines when it came to be his turn.

Stan Richter.jpg

Trinity Lutheran Church member Stan Richter as he appeared in the 2018 production of the Last Supper Drama at Trinity.

Contributed / Vicki Welke / Trinity Lutheran Church

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“It does get easier with time,” he said — especially when, as Breitkreutz also pointed out, “the script doesn’t really change.”

At the end of the performance, the disciples silently file out, one by one, while Jesus continues to sit at the table, appearing to contemplate his fate, until the audience has dispersed as well.

“The quietness of the moment; people get moved by that,” Ziegler noted — perhaps because, as Welke pointed out, the audience is also left to contemplate how they, themselves, might have felt in that moment, wondering, “Am I the one to betray him?”

The Last Supper Drama is being presented free of charge and is open to all who would like to attend. But for those who are unable to be there in person, the show will also be streamed live via the church’s website at

trinitylutherandl.org.

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Click on the “YouTube TLC Worship” link on the main page, which will take you to the church’s YouTube channel. After the performance, a recording of the live stream will also be available on the same YouTube channel, which is listed under “Trinity Lutheran Church Detroit Lakes.”





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Detroit, MI

Where did Detroit Pistons Forward Land on Final NBA Rookie Ranking?

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Where did Detroit Pistons Forward Land on Final NBA Rookie Ranking?


This season, most of the talk about first-year players has been centered around Victor Wembanyama and Chet Holmgren. However, there were countless other rookies who had strong first years in the NBA. Among those deserving of a mention is Detroit Pistons forward Ausar Thompson.

The Pistons selected Thompson with the fifth overall selection. His twin brother, Amen Thompson, was selected by the Houston Rockets one pick prior.

In his first season with Detroit, Thompson showed the capabilities of being an all-around player. His size and athleticism helped him on the defensive end, and he showed nice flashes as a playmaker. Thompson did a little bit of everything for the Pistons, averaging 8.8 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 1.9 APG, 1.1 SP, and 0.9 BPG.

With his impressive rookie campaign, Thompson finds himself on the final rookie ladder of the year. He just barely squeaked in, appearing at No. 9. Thompson is projected to make the All-Rookie Second Team among the likes of Dereck Lively and Keyonte George.

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As expected, Wembanyama took the top spot in the rookie ladder. The No. 1 pick is on pace to end the year, averaging 21.3 PPG, 10.6 RPG, and 3.6 BPG.

Despite missing a good portion of games with an ankle injury, Amen Thompson also made an appearance on the rookie ladder. He finished fourth after averaging 9.2 PPG, 6.3 RPG, and 2.4 APG for the Rockets.

While most of these rookies are still playing, the Pistons made the decision to shut down Thompson a few weeks ago. The last time he appeared in a game was March 9th against the Dallas Mavericks.



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Detroit, MI

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan discusses what to expect during the 2024 NFL Draft

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Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan discusses what to expect during the 2024 NFL Draft


2024 NFL Draft puts spotlight on Detroit, attracts regional tourism

About 300,000 people are expected to visit Detroit for the 2024 NFL Draft. The three-day event will be held April 25-27 in various locations downtown, including Campus Martius, Hart Plaza, Cadillac Square and Monroe Street Midway. In addition to the main NFL Draft Experience areas, there will be satellite locations for residents and visitors to experience the draft day excitement in Grand Circus Park, Harmony Park, Capitol Park, and Beacon Park. 

Beyond the draft, the city will be encouraging visitors to experience what it has to offer, including restaurants, world-class museums and award-winning parks. The 2024 NFL Draft lands in Detroit during a time when the city has also been recognized by USA Today for having the nation’s best riverwalk in the Detroit Riverwalk and the best art museum in the Detroit Institute of Arts. 

One Detroit contributor Stephen Henderson, host of “American Black Journal,” sat down with Visit Detroit President and CEO Claude Molinari and Faye Nelson from the Detroit Sports Organizing Corp. at the historic Ford Piquette Avenue Plant Museum to talk about the preparations being made to get the city ready for this major sporting event. 

They talk about the transformation of downtown, including the development of the riverfront over the last two decades. Molinari and Nelson have both played vital roles in attracting tourism to Detroit, developing the riverfront and securing major sporting events like the NFL Draft. They also discussed the Living Legacy Initiative, a program that was launched in coordination with the draft that is focused on literacy for students and encouraging active play.

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Detroit, MI

Community activists take stand against smoke shop allegedly selling to minors on Detroit’s west side

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Community activists take stand against smoke shop allegedly selling to minors on Detroit’s west side


DETROIT – Community activists targeted another smoke shop they claim sells to minors on Detroit’s west side.

Teferi Brent was one of a couple dozen activists who swarmed Puff Club, a smoke shop located at the Lodge Freeway and Warren Avenue.

Brent said he was tipped off by school officials, claiming the Puff Club has been selling to minors.

“The number one reason black children are being suspended from school is because they’re vaping,” Brent said.

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Brent and the group went into the store Thursday (April 11) to talk with the owner.

The owner denied allegations of selling to minors and told the group he’d make sure kids were not allowed in the store.

“I think (the owner) received it well once he understood our intentions were righteous and pure and hopefully he’ll do whatever is necessary to ensure that no one that’s a part of this institution is selling vapes to underaged children,” Brent said.

The group has done this same thing to a few other smoke shops and gas stations around Detroit.

Brent said two smoke shops have been shut down because of their actions.

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A big supporter and participant in this effort is Detroit Police Commissioner Darryl Woods.

“We’re going to keep on finding these bad actors, and as we find these bad actors, we’re going to fight to make sure they get closed down,” Woods said.

The owner of the Puff Club told Local 4 the shop does not sell to minors.

Copyright 2024 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit – All rights reserved.



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