World-premiere musical coming to CIHS

Last year’s premiere performance of Jonathan Dorf’s one-act Rumors of Polar Bears, by the Cambridge-Isanti High School students and director Kelly Fairchild-Fahrni was so successful that he has planned a return to Cambridge for another premiere.

Fahrni announced that 4 AM, the Musical will be presented May 19-22, including a conversation time with the playwright and composer after each performance.

Jonathan Dorf is known for his excellent one act plays; in fact this is how the association between Fahrni and Dorf began. She had chosen his play 4 AM for her 2010 one-act play entry, which earned her cast a place at the Minnesota State One-Act Play festival.

Prior to the performance, Fahrni had several questions about the production which she proposed to Dorf. He responded with enthusiasm. Then he followed the group through their successful performance at State.

That connection led to his asking Fahrni to direct his yet unstaged play, Rumors…. At the final rehearsals he made last-minute changes, which thoroughly challenged the talents of the high school players. Overnight they had to memorize and redirect energy to the new words. They did, and he was pleased to see his work come to life as he had imagined them.

He was so pleased that he connected with Fahrni again and asked her to bring his new musical to life.

The audiences last year had the opportunity to not only see a playwright in action and to ask him questions about that action, but also to help him rework the script. It was a highly-entertaining night. Now he has taken his work that Fahrni took to state and in collaboration with Alison Wood, the composer, turned it into a musical.

Both Dorf and Wood will be here to work with the students during the production week. This year, Fahrni is producing the world premiere. The director is 2010 grad Tylinn Fahrni, who is a musical theatre major at Minnesota State University. The lighting designer is also a MNSU student, Arthur Seifert, who is majoring in light design. Sets, costumes, and choreography are all done by T. Fahrni. Aaron Knudsvig is the musical director.

In May the public will again be invited to attend a rare happening and a great honor for the cast and director of Cambridge-Isanti schools.

This activity is funded, in part, by a grant from the East Central Regional Arts Council with funds provided by the Minnesota arts and cultural heritage fund as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.