It’s almost ‘State Fair’ time

IT WAS A PLEASANT SURPRISE FOR Margy (Amelia Sahlstrom), Melissa (Kris Tiegs) and Abel (Ryan Juutilainen) Frake after learning Melissa won a prize at the state fair. Photo / Per Peterson

Excitement builds as community theater returns to Tracy stage for first time in a decade

The Fair is coming to Tracy. No, not that fair — “State Fair,” as in the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical which is Tracy’s first community theater presentation since “Annie” in 2009.

It’s a fun show,” said Erin Dahmes, who is directing the musical which opens at Tracy Area High School at 7 p.m. on Friday. “It’s a family-love-and-life kind of thing.”

“State Fair” is a story about the Frake family that makes plans to attend the Iowa State Fair in the summer of 1946. The parents — father, Abel and mother, Melissa — have their sights set on winning top honors with their prize boar and mincemeat and pickles, respectively. Their children, meanwhile, have their sights set on something far more personal.

“The daughter is at a point in her life where she’s not sure if she wants to marry her high school sweetheart, or if she wants something more with her life,” said Dahmes. “And her brother is in the same predicament with his high school girlfriend.”

See more in this week’s Headlight Herald.

ART IMITATES LIFE when Reuben and Amelia Sahlstrom take the stage during “State Fair” rehearsals. Reuben and Amelia are two of four Sahlstrom children who have roles in the upcoming Rodgers & Hammerstein musical, which will be performed Friday-Sunday at Tracy Area High School.

Siblings on stage

Sometimes, an actor’s versatility is tested, and they’re forced to go out of their range. For Amelia and Reuben Sahlstrom, they don’t have to “stretch” too much in their roles in the upcoming community theater performance of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “State Fair.”

Amelia and Reuben play the Frake kids, Wayne and Margy — the former who likes being on the farm, but falls in love with a worldly woman, the latter who wants to get off the farm and see the world.

“You get a lot of opposites with those two,” said ‘State Fair’ Director Erin Dahmes.

Dahmes said it’s easy to tell the Amelia and Reuben are real-life brother and sister.

“There’s a scene where he throws a fowl at her and he did the timing wrong in rehearsal and it was, like, click — she turns around and throws it back at him,” Dahms said. “I can tell the scenes they’re able to work on together at home so they have that advantage. They play off each other very well.”

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.