If You’ve Ever Wondered What Happens After Happily Ever After

Just be careful what you wish for because you might not be prepared for the result! Fairy tales are just that; tales that make the heroes heroic and the rescued maidens happy ever after. If you want to see and hear what really happens after “happily ever after,” run (do not walk) to see the last two performances of this year’s Bemidji High School musical, “Into the Woods,” by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapines. The show is a musical look at personal behaviors, social mores and basic motives. Directed by Jeremiah Liend with Derek Wickum and his mighty pit band, and technical support by Gregg Willimek, the show is a delight for the eyes, a treat for the ears and nourishment for the intellect. Sondheim, known for his cerebral lyrics, is at his best in this, my favorite musical, because every time I see it—and that has been many times—I learn something new or some conundrum is solved. Liend chose his leads carefully and they command the stage—staying true to their character (Libby Sorenson as Red Riding Hood and Isaac Flaa as Jack made it seem natural). Feature players Jamiee Lusby and Jadie Hunt captured the personalities of Cinderella’s silly sisters to the delight of the audience. Hannah Allen grew into the role of the Wicked Witch as the show progressed and it was her tour de force at the end. All of the players deserve recognition for they understood the story line and were vested in the performance. Get there—there’s a lot of seats to fill and I guarantee a fine evening’s entertainment by local youth starting at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at BHS.  Tickets at the door, $6 adults and $3 for students K-12, but there are some adult themes so would not recommend for younger than middle-school students.

“Oliver!” opens this week at the historic Chief Theater in downtown Bemidji with local talent and a significant number of family participants. The show is a collaboration of Bemidji Community Theater and the Paul Bunyan Playhouse and follows up on the outstanding success of last year’s “A Christmas Carol,” another Charles Dicken’s classic story. The Fulton Family are all on stage together and this show the Saxton Family came together to support the sibling playing Oliver, Tommy Saxton. The Conklin’s are on the boards with dad Paul playing the evil Fagin and that’s just three families who are enjoying the hard work and satisfaction of “jobs” well done together. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 9, 10, 16 and 17, with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Nov. 11 and 18, all at the historic Chief Theater.Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for attendees ages 17 and younger. Tickets can be purchased at Iverson Corner Drug, Ken K. Thompson Jewelry and at the box office.
Attendees are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item for the Bemidji Food Shelf to receive a $1 ticket price refund.

Congratulations to local artist Dawn Standera and jazz guitarist Lou Samsa for receiving the Region 2 Arts Council/McKnight Career Development Fellowships.  Standera, a fiber artist, will mentor with Norman Sherfield to study techniques of three-dimensional fiber sculptures. Samsa will produce a multi-media instructional video for guitar; he has a previously published instruction book on learning how to play a guitar.

Don’t forget about the Choral Festival this Sunday at BSU—details are in the Sunday Pioneer Previews.

I need to prepare for a phone interview with Michael W. Smith which will happen in a few minutes so, that’s she wrote! Thanks for tuning in to the arts blog.