‘4 A.M. the Musical’ at CIHS

Jake (played by Jon Wells) tormented by the Nightmares.

Greg Hunt

The final Cambridge-Isanti High School theatrical presentation of the 2011 season will be this weekend’s production of 4 A.M – the Musical which opens at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 19, at the CIHS Performing Arts Center.

Shows continue Friday and Saturday, May 20-21, at 7 p.m. and close with a 3 p.m. matinee on Sunday, May 22. The playwright, Jonathan Dorf, from Hollywood will be at every performance to speak to the audience. The composer, Alison Wood, will be at the Thursday and Friday performances. Join the high school actors on their journey as they discover whether the monster under the bed is real and collectively wonder…is there anybody out there?

Molding the production is producer Kelly Fairchild-Fahrni pairing with daughter, Tylinn Fahrni, a theater major at the University of Minnesota-Mankato. Tylinn was the student director for the CIHS one-act troupe when it presented that version of 4 A.M. in 2010.

“Tylinn is a really good director. She is great at getting the actors to internalize their characters. She is able to pull things out of them in a way that makes it a privilege to watch,” said Fairchild-Fahrni. “She is very respectful of the acting process and wants them to create their characters, but she demands a commitment of realism from them that I don’t think they have been pushed to before. She doesn’t settle for ‘good enough,’ and she is able to achieve this in a really positive way.”

Opening number in '4 A.M.'

She continued, “The biggest challenge has been having a long-distance director. I was her ‘director-proxy’ and tried to communicate her vision. We would Skype one to two times a week, and she would come to rehearsal when possible, but the actors have really been able to grow since Tylinn has been here for the last two weeks. We are really grateful for the help of Aaron Knudsvig as the musical director. If not for him, we don’t think we could have pulled this off.

“Another big challenge has been working not only with the writer of the show, but the composer of the music. It puts us on another level of awareness to make sure not only the words of Jonathan Dorf are coming out accurately, but Alison Wood’s lyrics and music are letter-perfect too.”

Taking the stage this weekend is a veteran cast, many of which have enjoyed a rich theatrical season at CIHS this year– going back to the fall musical Li’l Abner, and continuing with the one-act The Cave and the spring three-act Ten Little Indians.

“Many of the cast members know the show from our one-act last year. What it brought to the production from the very first day was a deeper understanding of the piece immediately,” said Fairchild-Fahrni. “They at first struggled with making the dialogue their own. They all kept hearing the words said by the original actors and tried really hard to add their own spin on the piece in that sense.”

4 A.M., the Musical

Based on the one-act play ‘4 A.M.’ by Jonathan Dorf; Music & Lyrics by Alison Wood

Cast (character-actor)

Frankie– Jessica Peters

Jake– Jonathan Wells

First Jogger– Aurora Wahlstrom

Anne– Emily Ramstad

Monica– Madelyn Gunderson

Romeo– Mitchell Tillges

Juliet– Cora Nelson

Sleeper Kid– Hannah Palmer

Monster Under the Bed– Jessica Christensen

Nightmares–  Kate Callen, Meghan Morin, Julia Neary, Elizabeth Nault-Maurer, Kara Sundvall

Simon– David Bonine

Hale– Adam Peterson

Fire Kid– Sydney Johnson

First Officer– Tessa Opatz

Second Officer– Mikaela Kase

Second Jogger– Josh Walz

Crew: Katrina Barnes, James Hannan, Bekah Palmer, Andrew Pflipsen

Pit Band: Piano– Ingrid Grandgenett; Guitar– Dave Lumley; Bass– Kiley Ellingson; Drums– Jon Westerberg; Rehearsal Pianists– Ingrid Grandgenett, Noah Bensen

Production Staff: Director/Production Designer–Tylinn Fahrni; Musical Director– Aaron Knudsvig; Producer– Kelly Fairchild-Fahrni; Lighting Designer- Arthur Seifert; Stage Manager-Jennifer Hannan; Publicity– Della Theis.