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"Marathon '33" show premieres on Friday

The cast and crew of "Marathon '33" First Row (left to right): Dalton Dunford; Izzy Dahl; Arimeta Diop; Natalie Shea; Jessica Mullenburg; Sonja Swanson; Sammie Thibert; Adrien Lohman. Second Row: Evan Hager; Abigale Brown; Abigale Berger; Jodi Stende; Olivia; Larson; Alexis Lohman; Madison Bryant; Amy Leopold. Third Row: Nathan Arel; Ross Wickland; Trever Johnson; Walker Degerness; Jeremy Brown; Becca Paul; Taylor Metcalf; Carly Cressman; Crissy Borud; Shelby Wilhelm; Evan Young; Austin Lamb. Back row...

The West Fargo High School Theatre will begin its season with the Midwest regional premiere of "Marathon '33" on Friday.

They are just the second group in the nation to perform this show.

"Marathon '33" depicts a four-month dance marathon in 1933. Dance marathons were a wildly popular fad during the Great Depression.

"They really were precursors to reality TV," director Adam Pankow. "People would come and dance for hours in these dance marathons."

This new version of June Havoc's original 1964 script has been co-adapted and written by Broadway veterans Tomé Cousin and Peter Gregus, who have a working relationship with the Lincoln Center in New York City. Pankow has been in contact with Cousin and Gregus throughout this process.

"We are a workshop for greater things, which is really neat," Pankow said. "Not every high school or even collegiate programs get to workshop a piece that has some sort of greater aspirations."

While not technically a musical, "Marathon '33" is a hybrid show - as Pankow calls it - that features lots of music and dancing. The West Fargo High School Jazz Ensemble will play live music during the performance.

The cast will perform "Marathon '33" on November 9 and 10 at 7:30 p.m. and November 11 at 2:30 p.m. in the West Fargo High School auditorium.

"My hope with it is that it challenges us in new ways as artists and as individuals," Pankow said. "It's a unique piece on its own. It's a cool time period, and we are learning a lot about the depression era. But the unique part about this is our collaborative relationship with the authors."

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at or by calling 701.356.2050 during school hours. Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for students.