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Shining bright from backstage

Ben Anderson, a junior, is the student director for "The Wizard of Oz" production at Blackduck High School, which opens Friday, Nov. 1. Photo by Jillian Gandsey.1 / 2
The cast and crew of "The Wizard of Oz" at Blackduck High School rehearse this past week. Photo by Jillian Gandsey.2 / 2

BLACKDUCK -- Behind the curtain is where Ben Anderson, a junior at Blackduck High School, shines.

"The Wizard of Oz," put on by the Blackduck High School Theater Department, will hit the stage on Nov. 1. And keeping it all together is Anderson.

Auditions for the play were held in late August, and Anderson is very familiar with the whole process needed to stage the show.

"I could walk away and he could keep things running," Jennifer Parker, director and drama department advisor, said.

"I'm student director, and I'm the president of the drama club, and I'm a crew chief," Anderson said, ticking off his responsibilities.

Anderson is in charge of everything on and off stage when Parker and Kari Slindee, assistant director, are absent.

"This is his second year as student director and third year as a crew chief and I have seniors on the crew, but he is by the far the most mature, most responsible and most reliable," Parker said.

Anderson has been involved in the drama club since ninth-grade, but that doesn't necessarily mean theater is in his future after high school, he said. "I like being student director and bossing people around and being in charge," Anderson said.

He also likes to do that strictly from backstage.

"He's got horrid stage fright, among the worst I've ever seen," Parker said, "He's got an interesting skill for a person who is stage shy."

His other duties as student director include selecting other crew chiefs and being involved with creating and designing the set.

"He is the guy I can always count on, without fail," Parker said.

The Dinner Theater on Nov. 1 already is sold out. Tickets are available for performances at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2 and 2 p.m. Sunday Nov. 3. Tickets will be available at the door and are $10 for adults, $8 for senior citizens and $5 for students in grade K-12.

Jillian Gandsey

Jillian Gandsey is the Multimedia Editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. She is an Iron Range native and a 2013 graduate of Bemidji State University. Follow Jillian on Twitter and Instagram @jilliangandsey. Contact her at 218-333-9786, 218-996-1216 or at 

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