Students fine-tuning “4 AM” musical

From left, Meghan Murin, Kara Sundvall, Kate Callen, Julia Neary, Elizabeth Nault-Maurer torment a sleeping teenager, played by Hannan Palmer, in the world premiere of the musical “4 AM.”

With a talented cast and tech and music crew, producer Kelly Fairchild-Fahrni and director Tylinn Fahrni are bringing to life Jonathan Dorf’s newly-worked musical “4 AM.”

With music and lyrics composed by Alison Wood, the musical will move for the first time from the printed page to the lighted stage on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, May 19-21, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, May 22, at 3 p.m. in the Cambridge-Isanti High School Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $5. There will be a question-and-answer time after each performance with the playwright and composer.

This is the second time that Dorf has chosen the students of Cambridge-Isanti and director Kelly Fairchild-Fahrni to finalize his scripts, which says very much about the local talent.

In “4 AM,” Dorf captures the sleeplessness, the time of demons, of tasks yet to be completed, of longings not yet met, and fears that one faces in the middle of the night. Dorf and Wood put together powerfully these thoughts and sequences in this musical production.

The musical is hauntingly choreographed by Tylinn Fahrni. A dream sequence shows the mocking “Breaths of Fear,” determined to trouble the sleep of a young teenager, played by Hannah Palmer. The swaying and stealth of the “Nightmares” lends a sense of emotion and eeriness to the musical.

Jessica Peters, who plays the part of Frankie the DJ, reaches out to these sleepless young people. Woods’ lyrics, “I don’t know what to do. Shall I take the chance?” sung in a beautiful duet, suggest again the turmoil of “night thoughts.”

If you were able to attend Dorf’s “Rumors of Polar Bears” last year, you are aware that he writes with insight and ability, and the production was dramatically and skillfully directed. If you were unable to attend his play, this will give you a second chance to see what all the buzz is about.

– 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 Nov. 4, 2008.