MOORHEAD-Trollwood Performing Arts School's "Beauty and the Beast" opens tonight, but for some in the production, it's the end of an important chapter in their lives.
A group of seven recently graduated high school seniors will say goodbye to the arts program after 10 years of involvement.
Trollwood's mainstage musical is open for kids from 14 to those who graduated high school during the performance year.
The seven all got bit by the theater bug during 2008's run of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," the last show at the former location in north Fargo. They've been involved in productions ever since.
While some of the participants take center stage, others shine behind the scenes, learning the ropes about theatrical productions. No matter their role, all have a strong bond with Trollwood, an organization that has helped get them ready to take their next step in life.
We asked each of the seven what their Trollwood experience has been like over the last decade and what the final show means to them.
"The best part is the process," says the Davies graduate, who plays Beast. "The commitment it requires is unlike a lot of other things. It asks all of you. I like it. It makes me feel like I have a purpose during the summer months."
"It's cool. 'Beauty and The Beast' was the first (Trollwood show) I saw in 2005, and it's the last one I work on," says the Fargo North graduate who works on the tech side backstage. "It's kind of a thrill putting it on. It's an adrenaline rush seeing everything happen. When something goes wrong, it's fun because you have to think on your feet and solve the problem. It's kind of like our sport, you're part of a team working together."
"I really love the level of dedication it takes and the professionalism it requires," says Coon, who moved away from Fargo-Moorhead at age 9, but returns every summer to take part in Trollwood. This summer he plays Le Fou. "Trollwood is focused on making you become better as a person, and that's invaluable."
"Trollwood is always a second home to me," says the Moorhead graduate who plays Babette. "The experience of performing outdoors is like nothing else. It's an inexplicable experience. You have to be there for it."
"I loved being able to work in this environment, exposed to so many people. It's so cool to get that experience," says the Moorhead graduate who plays Monsieur D'Arque. "We get to show so many people what we worked on during our summer."
"The self-confidence gained being here is unimaginable," says the Moorhead graduate who plays Mrs. Potts. "Singing 'Beauty and the Beast' to thousands of people is incredible. It's really important to me to learn these lessons here."
"I enjoy the people," says the Moorhead graduate, who plays Maurice. "It's cool to join up with people from other schools, and everyone comes together to create art; that's one of the coolest things on the planet."
Look for a review of opening night at www.inforum.com on Saturday and in Sunday's print edition of The Forum.
If You Go
What: Trollwood Performing Arts School's "Beauty and the Beast"
When: Gates open at 7:30 p.m., show at 8:30 p.m., tonight and Saturday, Tuesday through July 22 and July 25 through 29
Where: Bluestem Center for the Arts, 801 50th Ave S, Moorhead
Info: Tickets range from $10 to $32, children 4 and younger are free in general admission seating. www.trollwood.org. (218) 477-6502. Additionally, Trollwood Performing Arts School and The Brickhouse Tavern are partnering for a free shuttle services to and from stagings of "Beauty and The Beast" at Bluestem Center for the Arts. Shuttles begin boarding at 6 p.m. on performance nights outside the Brickhouse Tavern, 935 37th Ave. S., Moorhead.
Note: Student photos taken by David Samson / The Forum