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Three young directors debut their work at Goodhue County Fair

ZUMBROTA — Between showing animals and showing people where to go from the Goodhue County Fair information booth, the 4-H Arts-In musical play participants will show off what they can do on their own.

Over the years the 4-H program coordinator has worked with the Arts-In participants to help develop a new show each year, which has become a popular attraction at the Goodhue County Fair, which runs today through Sunday. This year three young adults took the concept and ran with it. For the first time, Arts-In was written, directed and produced entirely by long-time Arts-In participants.

"We all started out as performers, worked our way up to youth directors, then the full role of directors," said Isaiah Custer, 20, who is co-directing the performance with Amelia Brooks, 17, and Alycia Wojahn, 19.

The 30-minute musical play "Broadway Star," was written by Brooks about a reality television show for people aiming to be cast in a new Broadway musical, but things start mysteriously going wrong.

To learn the song-filled script, the 21-member cast, which ranges from students in fifth grade up to their first year in college, rehearsed for a week in July.


"It's an awesome experience," Custer said. "You learn an immense amount about performing, blocking scenes, how to cheat out toward the audience, how to back away from the microphone when performing, and auditioning."

Custer, who is a student at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa, said Arts-In is what pushed him to become a theater major.

Brooks and Wojahn also raved about the experience and noted that it's open to everyone, not just 4-H members.

Since the grueling week of rehearsal, the group has continued to perform the show at nursing homes throughout the county.

Now the group will perform the original show twice a day Wednesday through Sunday on the 4-H stage, which this year is a professional stage rather than the trusses and plywood or just the ground that they performed on before, they said.

The music for the show is provided by a four-person band.

"It's really different than anything else here at the fair," Custer said.

Hoping to make the student written and directed show a tradition, this year's co-directors said they are planning to pass on what they learned through the experience onto three performers who will take up the charge.

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