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Students step up in MHS spring play

From left, Natalie Parks, Jeff Letcher, Maggie Smith, Emily Grode, Kathleen Serie and James Dunn rehearse a scene from the Mitchell High School spring play, "The Babbling Brooks." The show opens at 7:30 p.m. tonight at the high school auditorium. (Jennifer Jungwirth/Republic)

It's all about stepping up in this year's Mitchell High School spring play, "The Babbling Brooks."

Director Mel Olson said a number of underclassmen had to fill the lead roles as other actors and actresses have graduated.

"It definitely takes a lot of responsibility and there is a lot more weight on you," said junior Jackie Ortmeier, who was cast as one of the lead roles. "But it's fun to play a main character."

Fourteen were cast in this year's spring production. Rehearsals began immediately after one-act contests in mid-February. Since then, Olson said the cast has come together to make the play a success.

The show runs at 7:30 p.m. today and Friday. Tickets are $3 for students and $5 for adults. Activity tickets will be honored.

"The Babbling Brooks" is a romantic comedy and murder mystery about a gossipy mother and her daughters. The mother, played by Ortmeier, is known for reporting crimes that didn't happen to the local sheriff. Her daughter, played by senior Emily Grode, decides to start publishing a community newsletter containing the gossip she overhears from her mother.

While spinning tales of murder and crime, a murder does take place, and the cast scrambles to figure out who did it.

The actors and actresses said they've had fun with the "lingo" of the 1950s era, and the costumes.

Most of the cast members have had to twist their personalities a bit to fit their on-stage persona.

"I'm really wild and outgoing," Ortmeier said of her character. "Usually I'm a quiet person. To play her, I get to be loud and out there."

Sophomore Maggie Smith, said she also enjoys the opportunity to play someone else. Cast as Betty, she is "kind of dumb and annoying."

"Everyone just kind of shakes their head and rolls their eyes at me," she said.

Although she has a smaller role, she said she enjoys her funny one-liners.

Olson said he was impressed by the number of students who auditioned this year, and he looks forward to watching the students progress in next year's productions.