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Mask and Rose Theater: Children's musical to open

eussical the Musical, which opens this week at the Mask and Rose Theater, is the 30th theatrical production for Cate Belleveau in the Bemidji area.

With all that background and experience, Belleveau brings together actors from some of her past productions including Hannah Allen, who played the role of "Pippi Longstocking." Allen returns to this production as Gertrude McFuzz with her scant one-feather tail. Chance Anderson, who played Gavroche in Belleveau's "Les Miserables," returns as Cat in the Hat, while his sister, Eva, plays the diva, Mayzie la Bird. Lazy Mayzie entrusts her egg for safe keeping to Horton the Elephant who is played by Rachel McCormick, a Laporte High School student. The young hero, Jo Jo, is played by Berit Dybvig, a student at Schoolcraft Learning Community.

Belleveau has also added many new faces to this production based on the writing and imaginative drawings of Dr. Seuss (Theodore Geissel). Darcy Anderson's artistic renderings and Al Belleveau's set is background for the 27 young people in the cast, some of whom double as "Diva Birds" and the "Who's." The musical director is Suzie Jones, who asks the cast to "Think All the Thinks You Can Think" and the audience to look at "How to Raise a Child," in this junior version of the Broadway play by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens. Everyone is asked to think about friendship, loyalty, family and community - the challenges and triumphs.

Assistant costumer Betty Ogren, said she is impressed with all the work that goes into producing a show and is "pleased to be a part of building so many exciting costumes." As a novice costumer, Ogren said she gained a new respect for those technical people who work behind the scenes. She and many other parents of children in the play are supporting their young thespians in this stage adaptation of several Seuss books.

Show times are 7 p.m., Friday Dec. 4, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6. The following weekend, the shows are at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11; 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13. Tickets are $13 for adults and $6 for students through college and are on sale at Brigid's Cross Irish Pub and at the door, if available. Seating is limited at the Mask and Rose Theater, 501 Bemidji Ave.

This production is underwritten by the law offices of Drahos, Kieson and Christopher.