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Welcome to the online home of Warren Nelson - Songwriter, Musician, Entertainer, Poet, Historian, Radio Host and a Tent-show "Man of the Cloth" with a career in show business lasting over 40 years.

A Fairmont, Minnesota native, Warren is the founder of Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua and has led a team of talented musicians, actors, researchers and technicians in the creation of numerous large-scale, historical musicals since the 1970's. 

The story of how the Hornpipe came to be is included in my book Ballyhoo Big Top. Here it is-

THE HORNPIPE 1976 (10 B.C.)

The year was 1976, and I was putting together a show for a celebration of my hometown in Minnesota: Selections From Lost and Found Fairmont Histories: A Martin County Hornpipe. Original songs, readings, illustrating historical photographs projected on a large screen. Sound familiar?

The Hornpipe is really the start of Big Top Chautauqua. Nine years before the tent show rose, the equation of our original shows was born. I was running on blind faith writing the songs and script. I had in mind members of my former group, The Tenth Story Window, most of the performers originally from Fairmont.

Betty and I had moved to the mountains for a year along with Don Pavel and my sister whom he had married. We lived two cabins away and thus he was up to the minute on the Hornpipe's progress. I was traveling back and forth from the mountains to Fairmont doing research, collecting stories and photographs from the Martin County Historical Society. Betty was day to day with the project. In the final months she traveled with me. John Larsen, an old Fairmont pal did the photocopying in the old time way, copying photos to slides with close-up lenses that were screwed on and off. It was a time consuming effort.

There were many miracles in the coming together of this show, including finding Bruce Bowers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The show was a grand success. The Angels came down that weekend.

After the show, we all said our good byes and went our separate ways. I can't believe it did not come to me to pursue a career in producing more of these types of shows until seven years later when Ann Christensen and Gary Holman heard the LP of The Hornpipe and struck on the idea that Betty and I should produce a show for Washburn's Centennial.




Performance Schedule

Play Ball's Chautauqua Debut Was A Grand Slam!

Now Booking Tour Dates: info@warrennelson.com

"Warren Nelson is at the top of his game. Play Ball Is fabulous and well worth traveling to see!" - Dayle Quigley

For full information regarding upcoming performances, be sure to visit the Media page for times and contact information. If you would like to be informed of my future appearances and plans, please send your email address to: info@warrennelson.com

September 16 - Washburn, WI
October 7/8 - Bayfield, WI
October 14 - Crystal Falls, MI
October 28 - Washburn, WI
November 5 - Hayward, WI
November 18 - Duluth, MN


From Warren

July 13

Wide Awake Citizens!

Warren Nelson Presents has a new venue on the lakeshore of Washburn- The Harbor View Event Center (formerly The Steak Pit).
It is a very exciting opportunity to present our original shows and concerts  year around. Staging, lighting and sound are being installed for our first performance which is Souvenir Views, the Washburn musical created by Betty Ferris and yours truly back in 1983. Showtimes on July 29th are 4:00  and 7:30 pm. 

We are starting with one show a month.  On August 19 we will play Take Me To The Islands / The Pond;  on September 16  Lake Songs & Lighthouses;  and on October 28 we present Anglin’ Wayne (you know who) and The Trollers Fishing show.

Tickets are available at the door for $15. You may reserve seats at $20 a ticket by mailing your request to American Heritage Productions, PO Box 66, Washburn, WI 54891.

I hope to see you there. 
We have our own theatre!




Warren Nelson Speaking © Sophia Hantzes