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Bemidji High School students return to the stage with 'Tuck Everlasting'

After a year’s hiatus due to the pandemic, Bemidji High School Theater students will hit the stage once again with the musical, “Tuck Everlasting.”

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Bemidji High School students rehearse a scene from their upcoming production of "Tuck Everlasting" which opens on Thursday, Nov. 11. Contributed

BEMIDJI -- After a year’s hiatus due to the pandemic, Bemidji High School Theater students will hit the stage once again with the musical, “ Tuck Everlasting .”

Based on the children’s novel by Natalie Babbitt, “good girl” Winnie Foster, played by senior Charlotte Saxton, ventures beyond her white picket fence where she meets Jesse Tuck, played by junior Jacob Fuhrman. She is swept away on a magical journey and as the adventure unfolds, Winnie must make an unexpected choice: to live forever or live life to its natural end.

Returning to a live theater elicits excitement for students and staff involved with this year’s production.

“Missing that whole year was really tough,” Saxton said in a release regarding last year’s performance cancellations. “Performing is special and magical to me. It feels amazing to be back on the stage this year.”

Reinstating the musical for this year hasn’t been without its challenges, either. Rehearsals began mid-September and took place five days a week, turning into six or seven days a week for the last couple of weeks leading up to the first show. The young thespians were rarely all-together at these rehearsals due to quarantines and illness.

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However, director Holly Ward noted a moment of levity when they were allowed to remove their masks for cast pictures for the first time since work began on the production.

“The result was a scene full of giggling,” Ward said in a release. “Removing masks completely changed the scene entirely and will be yet another element to which students will need to adjust prior to opening night.”

Ward also mentioned issues with recruitment, although the production still boasts a cast of 31 along with 12 pit members, four stagehands and three tech crew members.

“Having graduated lots of students and not having the same recruitment potential due to the pandemic was a little unnerving,” Ward said. “We weren’t sure how many students we would get and how that would align to any particular show.”

Despite these concerns, Ward is looking forward to the long-awaited upcoming performances that the students are eager to put on for the Bemidji community.

“Bemidji is really blessed to have its arts community and transferring that to its students,” Ward said. “I’m most excited to have these kids telling stories with their gifts and talents. I have an amazing group of students to put together a very poignant show.”

Shows will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 11, through Saturday, Nov. 13, along with a 1:30 p.m. showing on Saturday, at the Bemidji High School.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for students and can be purchased on the Bemidji Area Schools website or at the door upon arrival.

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Masking is required for audience members per the district’s masking policy.

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