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Middle School production opens tonight at Willmar High School theater

Courtney Lankenau, left, as Edwina's little sister Katie gets some advice from Claire Schmitz as Edwina in the Willmar Middle School production of the musical "Dear Edwina, Jr." The production opens tonight and runs through Sunday at the Willmar High School theater. (Tribune photo by Ron Adams)

The Willmar Middle School presents "Dear Edwina, Jr." at 7 p.m. today through Saturday and at 1 p.m. on Sunday at the Willmar Senior High School theater.

Tickets are $8 for adults, $4 for students K-12, and free for children under age 5 if they are sitting on an adult's lap. Tickets are available through today at Willmar Community Ed and Rec at Jefferson School, and at the door one hour prior to each performance.

The production is directed by Tim Cayler and Melissa Wallestad.

Edwina Spoonapple, 13, played by Claire Schmitz, would do just about anything to be a part of the Kalamazoo Advice-a-palooza Festival. While her siblings both have proof "up on the fridge" of their accomplishments, poor Edwina has nothing

When a talent scout from the convention visits her hometown of Paw Paw, Mich., she trots out her musical advice giving shows live from the family garage in hopes of finding her place in the spotlight.

She is assisted by her older siblings (on piano and drums) and a host of quirky friends and neighbors: Becky, the perky cheerleader played by Ali Kveene; Kelli, the cool, sophisticated ballerina played by Grace Bolin; Annie, the Girl Scout cookie-selling champion played by Elizabeth Mangen; the Vanderploonk triplets played by Jarod Swoboda, Alex Reynolds and Cameron Haugen; Bobby, the befuddled new kid on the block played by Gabe Benson; and Scott, who is helplessly and hopelessly in love with Edwina, played by Tyler Waldemarsen. Together, they set out to tackle the world's problems, in number after hysterical number about everything from birthday party etiquette to the proper way to set a table.

Many different styles of song and dance are featured in the show, and the cast of 58 Willmar Middle School seventh- and eighth-graders has been "working hard to perfect their routines and memorize their lines. A Dear Abby for this generation, Edwina is sure to make audiences of all ages smile as she doles out advice and learns along the way that her own advice may just be the best advice of all."

Other cast members are Michaela Jahnke, Rachel Croonquist, Maddie Engstrom, Madison Fauskee, Ellie Shuldes, Jonathan Linden, Jonathan Raatz, Mary Carlson, Drew Corneil, Morgan Kelly, Trenton Mann, Kiesha DeJong, Erica Ellingson, Hannah Huseby, Alexis Miley, Michelle Carlson, Noah Daniel, Courtney Lankenau and Chloe Halvorson.

Members of the chorus are Nikki Borgerding, Mary Brunson, Bri Carlson, Emily Carlson, Tara Carlson , Macky Cook, Mara Hallberg, Victoria Halvorson , Hannah Hjelle, Alex Holwerda, Kylie Hull, Sydney Huntley, Preston Iverson, Jenna Jagow, Alina Johnson, Rachel Juetten, Corin Kester, Molly Larson, Kiley Mattson, Eli McClenehan, Theresa Molenaar , Haley Mottinger, Ellie Muller, Lexi Orlowski, Jaylee Schanus, Sam U'Ren, Erin Vance, Sam Warne, Kayla Watson and Amber Willis

Costume assistants are Ingrid Figenskau and Reiley Williams.