PRAIRIE FIRE CHILDREN’S THEATER had the audience laughing hard during their production of Pinocchio, featuring local children in the starring roles. (Photo by Jennifer Edwards).

Prairie Fire Theater presents 'Pinocchio'

Staff Writer
Jennifer Edwards
Prairie Fire Children’s Theater presented the play Pinocchio at Big Lake High School Friday and Saturday. They were sponsored by Big Lake Community Education.
Telling the fairy tale with their own twist, Prairie Fire actors Brian Farthing (Gepetto and Tempesto), and Jennifer Allman (The Fox), led the cast of local children to bring the play to the stage after only five days of rehearsals.
Trent Ramert played the title role of Pinocchio. Josiah Calva was his little buddy, The Cricket. 
Kaitlin Shaw was the Blue Fairy, who, with her Spirits, played by Bailey Muehlberger, Eleanor Voigt, Abigail Schaufel, Grace Gjerstad, Shaelyn O’Neal, Riley Sofka, Emma Forpahl, Madison Fritel, Kyarah Hahn, Allie and Sophie Cross and Dylynn Bailey, kept a watchful eye on the wayward Pinocchio.
Living in the town with Gepetto and Pinocchio, the Townsfolk were played by Kayli Luna, Taylor Muehlbauer, Maya Tvrdik, Jonah Blackman, Sadona maag, Katie Olson and Nicholas Gjerstad.
Isaiah Prom was the farmer. Emma Thompson was the constable. Noelle Huver was the judge. Talyhr Hahn was the mime. Tyler Huver was the paperboy and Macy Farrier was the waiter.
When Tempesto came to town, he brought his puppet show with him. Elizabeth Davis was Arlecchino, Alex Prom was Pantalone, Jack Hagberg was Capitano, Morgan Payne was Isabella and Teagan Hahn was Zanni. Other puppets were Victoria Luna, Carly Hagberg, Josephine Luetmer and Sarah and Rebecca Davis.
When Tempesto saw Pinocchio, he wanted to kidnap him and for his puppet show. Tempesto sent his henchmen, the vermin, to do the job.
Leaders among the vermin included Jessica Stenberg, who played the Cat, Mya Johnson, who was the Badger, Jenna Wendlandt, who was the Weasel and Allie Heltemes, who played the Ferret.
Other vermin were Korri Wojack, Hailey Crowe, Asher Hahn, Baylor Gordy,  Nick Selbitschka, Kirsten Olson, Mary Carlin, Brianna Albrecht, Grace Green and Isabella Royce.
Then there were the Hooligans, who encouraged Pinocchio to skip school. Courtney Huver played Toni. Emma Shiota was Chaz. Lauren Huver was Spaz.
Other Hooligans were played by Sarah Ekeren, Tyler Heyen, Noah Kuehn, Josh Miller, Kylee Choate, Taylor Edmonson, Claire Ireland, Adam Shaw, Rose Bailey and Emily Selbitschka.
Tempesto pressed a member of the audience to become one of his henchmen, a real bad guy known as Suzy.
The play included singing and dancing and lots of laughs for audience members of all ages.
“This is my fourth time coming to Big Lake,” said actor Brian Farthing. “This is a great community and we love to come here.”
Founded in 1987, Prairie Fire Theater actors tour all year long to bring a professional theatrical experience  to communities all over the Upper Midwest. 
They are recipients of the Minnesota Alliance for the Arts in Education Award for Excellence in Educational programming. They will be back this summer with another production.


MISCHIEF MANAGED is the name of Leah Corder’s family counseling business now open in Big Lake above the Fudgin’ Delicious Ice Cream Shop. Wednesday the Big Lake Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting at her office. Pictured above from left to right are Mayor Raeanne Danielowski, City Clerk Gina Wolbeck, State Rep. Nick Zerwas, Economic Development Specialist Heidi Steinmetz, Leah Corder and Darla, the Great Dane, Accountant Michelle Backlund, Ken Geroux of Ken Geroux Construction and Chamber President Tricia Skodje.

SWIMMING CHAMPION Madison Starr enjoys having lunch with Darlene Lanz, who grew up in Big Lake.

GRAND KNIGHT Dennis Nagorski donated blood at the American Red Cross blood drive Monday. (Photo by Jennifer Edwards).

Interim City Admin-istrator and Finance Director Jessica Green has accepted another job with Northland Securities as the V.P. of Public Finance and her last day with the City of Big Lake is Dec. 12.