St. Francis Summer Children’s Theater presents ‘Mulan Jr.’

Staff Writer
Since 2013, I have primarily covered the Anoka-Hennepin and Spring Lake Park school districts as well as the city of Spring Lake Park for ABC Newspapers.

Seventy-five students bring the legend of Mulan to life in St. Francis Summer Children’s Theater’s upcoming production.

Mulan, played by Elizabeth Vang, prepares to meet the matchmaker in St. Francis Children's Theater's upcoming production of "Mulan Jr.," on stage June 23-25. Photo by Jolie Olson
Mulan, played by Elizabeth Vang, prepares to meet the matchmaker in St. Francis Children’s Theater’s upcoming production of “Mulan Jr.,” on stage June 23-25. Photo by Jolie Olson

“Mulan Jr.” runs June 23-25 at St. Francis High School.

The show is based on the 1998 Disney movie and Robert D. San Souci’s story “Fa Mulan.”

It contains beloved songs from the motion picture, including “Reflection,” “I’ll Make a Man Out of You,” “A Girl Worth Fighting For” and more, as well as new musical numbers.

“Translating a cartoon film to the stage is a challenge,” director Glenn Morehouse Olson said.

Ten of Mulan’s ancestors help keep the story moving, serving as the show’s narrators.

Morehouse Olson describes the production as a story about “a young woman who risks everything for her family’s honor, for her country.”

The musical is set in China, which has been culturally interesting with St. Francis’ large Hmong population, Morehouse Olson said.

Runtime for “Mulan Jr.” is a little over an hour, designed with young audiences in mind.

The production features students in second grade through 12th grade. The past two years, Morehouse Olson has staged two productions in the summer – one for secondary students exclusively. This year, all students are working on the same show again, which has created “a really wonderful mentorship opportunity,” Morehouse Olson said.

Young thespians have only three weeks to pull the show together. Rehearsals began June 5.

“It’s a pretty intense process,” Morehouse Olson said, praising the young performers for their hard work.

She compares the experience to summer camp, as students meet peers from across the school district and reconnect on stage each year.

“It builds community,” she said, noting parents stepping up to build sets, sew costumes and more. “I look forward to it every year.”

Tickets are available online at www.seatyourself.biz/stfrancishs. Tickets purchased before Wednesday, June 21, are $5. After that date, tickets will increase to $8 for adults and $6 for students and seniors. Tickets will also be available at the door.

The curtain rises at 7 p.m. June 23 and 24, and a 2 p.m. matinee is planned for June 25.

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