November 4, 2010 at 10:04 a.m.

Oklahoma! More than O.K.

Oklahoma! More than O.K.
Oklahoma! More than O.K.

"I would write this article for you," Dave Seaburg tells a reporter, "but then I would be the one with your job. I do have a good title for it, though." Seaburg definitely knows what he wants. He has to, in order to direct a high school musical. This year, he leads a full set and crew into completely new territory with the classic Oklahoma!

Stopping by rehearsals, Dan Medin and Diane Hawkinson, who both play primary roles, were on stage, listening to instructions on how to kiss. After a few more takes, Mr. Seaburg eventually hustled onstage to 'demonstrate' the proper technique. Medin, playing the exotic and enamored Persian peddler Ali Hakim, had jitters. "The kisses don't have to last five seconds, Daniel," Director Seaburg says, "You can take your time and enjoy them. Or act like you do, at least."

"This musical selection is much more challenging than previous years for the cast," says Gerry Seaburg, Dave's wife and assistant. "There is much more dancing and dance numbers than previous years. We also have a lot of southern accents that need to be perfected before opening night. Also, for high school-aged kids, this play is pretty unfamiliar."

"One of the reasons I chose this musical," Dave said, "is because it is a classic. Townspeople will know it, since it has been around since the forties. After doing High School Musical last year, a very modern musical, it's nice to do something a bit more standard. Also, since we have a smaller budget this year, it just makes sense. We already have most of the set pieces previously built, and the costumes are easy to assemble."

"Dave casts the right roles," Carol Hawkinson, a mother of actresses and supplier of props, added. Ryan Merry and Bekah Meyer headline the show as Curly and Laurey, and both are in their second year in high school acting. Ryan, who debuted last year as Coach Bolton, a non-singing lead gets to show off his developing vocal chops this year. Rebekah, who spent the last production in the chorus, has held lead roles in other plays, in middle school, and has a very natural talent. The chilling and deep character Jud Fry is played brilliantly by Patrick McCarthy, who has built a reputation playing wacky supporting characters. Now he heads in the opposite direction with one of the most emotionally-charged and serious characters in the entire play. Karen Holt also stars in a much deserved lead role as Aunt Eller, the caretaker of Laurey. She has found a role that fits her talents.

"The cast is really determined this year," Dave states, "They have a lot to work for, a long path to get there, but they have travelled a long way already. There is so much to learn- like the dances. Thankfully, we have two excellent student choreographers, Alex Shaleen and Lauren Seaburg. They really put something special together, and people will be amazed. But they aren't the only ones I want to thank. There is my production team, Mrs. Budig, Matt Mitchell, Winnie, Mr. Sandell, and Carol Hawkinson, who all help out so much. And lastly, the mothers and fathers who give their children to me for the months building up to one weekend of shows."

That weekend, November 18 through 21, will feature five performances. There will be a 7 p.m. show on the 18,19, and 20, and a 2 p.m. show Nov. 20 and 21. Tickets will be available soon on the Chisago Lakes High School website and at the Performing Arts Center Box Office.

"I urge everyone out there to come out and see this play," Seaburg says, "It isn't just a school event. It's a community event. People really do come together at our shows to feel pride for our children. I want to build a strong fine arts program here at this school, and we need people to support us for that to happen. There is a lot of talent here, and we owe it to them to let it shine."

And as for next year? "People wonder if I will direct the musical next year," because my daughter is graduating. But let me tell you, I have more than one kid in this school I care about," Seaburg declares.

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