Northern Starz stages first young adult show

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.

Northern Starz Children’s Theatre is branching out to stage its first young adult performance Aug. 11-13.

“Ashland Falls” is a play within a play, part comedy, part thriller.

The story follows students rehearsing “Ashland Falls,” a play about a girl who died more than a century ago. When the director disappears, strange experiences unfold – an affair, murder and more.

“The whole second act – everything comes completely apart,” director Nikole Bohnsack said. “All the secrets come out.”

Bohnsack, of Ramsey, made her directorial debut in Northern Starz Student Directed Play Festival last summer. She directed the same play, “The Baloney, the Pickle, the Zombies and Other Things I Hide from My Mother,” at St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists before graduating this spring, this time with high school actors instead of middle school actors.

Fourteen actors play in “Ashland Falls,” most between the ages of 18 and 28, many older than Bohnsack.

“I thought it would be a lot trickier,” she said. But she asserted her authority day one, and the cast has come together as one “big theater family,” she said.

“The cast is just so creative,” Bohnsack said.

Initially 16 young adults signed on to the project, but only five showed up to audition.

The show was one day away from being canceled when additional actors were found and rehearsals could begin.

“They have been so committed when it was just thrown at them,” Bohnsack said.

Performances of “Ashland Falls” are at 7 p.m. Aug. 11 and 12 and 2 p.m. Aug. 12 and 13 at the Northern Starz Theatre, 5300 Alpine Drive, Ramsey.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for students and seniors 55 and older. They are available for purchase at www.northernstarz.com.

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