Virtual Juke Box concerts planned at New London Little Theatre

The New London-based band Pit of Fashion will be putting on a live virtual concert tonight (Thursday, April 16, at the New London Little Theatre. Viewers that make a financial online tip can request a song that the band will play. The money raised will help off-set expenses at the Little Theatre while performances in front of an audience are shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Kyle and Maria Novak of Pit of Fashion perform Jan. 4 at the Little Theatre in New London. Erica Dischino / West Central Tribune

NEW LONDON — Live concerts featuring local musicians, dancers and other performers had been scheduled for every weekend for the next three months at the New London Little Theatre.

The coronavirus pandemic put a stop to that.

But in an attempt to showcase local artists and generate revenue to cover the theater’s ongoing expenses, a series of virtual concerts will be live-streamed, starting tonight, Thursday, April 16.

At 7 p.m. two members of the band called “Pit of Fashion” will be on stage at the Little Theatre performing songs that are requested by online viewers.

“We’re calling it a virtual jukebox,” said Bethany Lacktorin, president of the board of directors and artistic director for the Little Theatre.


A list of songs will be available for viewers to choose from and once a financial donation is made in the online “tip jar” the band will play the requested song, said Lacktorin.

Kyle and Maria Novak, a married New London couple in the band that also includes Andrea Limoges of Willmar, will perform for at least an hour. In order to honor the social distancing requirement, Limoges will not participate in the concert.

Lacktorin said the “extremely talented” team, which includes Maria on vocals and Kyle playing numerous string and wind instruments, knows many songs and will be able to respond to viewer’s requests.

Two more virtual concerts involving local musicians are scheduled for the next two weeks, with live performances starting at 7 p.m. on Thursdays.

Depending on the success of these events more virtual performances may be held. “We’re new at this, so we’ll see how it works,” Lacktorin said.

Not all the virtual concerts will be performed at the Little Theatre, but will take place from the musician’s homes to avoid non-essential travel.

All performances will be recorded and available for later viewing on the Little Theatre’s website, where donations will continue to be accepted.

Even though live performances in front of a paying audience are currently not permitted because of COVID-19, the expenses to operate the theater are continuing, said Lacktorin. All the donations made during the three initial concerts will go to the Little Theatre.


She said the musicians for the first three concerts are donating their time and talent to the cause.

Meanwhile, volunteers are working on interior projects — including updating the lobby and constructing a cocktail bar — that are partially funded by grants. Lacktorin said the coronavirus has affected their ability to do some of the work and could affect the grant deadlines.

She said it’s hoped the theater will not only financially survive the shutdown but in the end will look better than ever and “be ready to open the doors when this is all over.”

Carolyn Lange is a features writer at the West Central Tribune. She can be reached at or 320-894-9750
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