Chautauqua Founder To Play Summer Show

DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — The founder of the Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua in northern Wisconsin who resigned after being convicted of assault will perform an Aug. 12 show.

Warren Nelson founded the Big Top in 1985. The 900-seat tent near Bayfield is home to lectures, concerts, plays and musicals.

Nelson was convicted of misdemeanor sexual assault and battery in 2009.

The Big Top’s marketing director, Jamey Penney-Ritter, admitted to apprehension about how Nelson will be received. But Penney-Ritter says the timing seemed right because this year marks the summertime concert series’ 25th anniversary. Public radio broadcasts the shows nationwide.

The 63-year-old Nelson tells the Duluth News Tribune alcohol abuse led to his crimes and he’s stopped drinking and has never been happier.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Kenneth Sachs

    We went to Chautauqua some years ago. People were smioking inside the tent which is a fire hazard. I had planned to make a donation but told Nelson I would not after what had just happened. Methinks he should quit smoking besides quitting the booze

    • Terry Meyer Matier

      Must have been years ago. There is no smoking allowed inside the tent.

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