A tradition that lasts forever

FDSH’s 97th annual musical will be ‘Tuck Everlasting’

-Messenger photo by Britt Kudla
The cast of “Tuck Everlasting” strikes a pose at a recent rehearsal. This year’s Fort Dodge Senior High musical will be April 18-20 at Fort Dodge Middle School.

Eleven-year-old Winnie Foster was taking a stroll through the woods when she met Jesse Tuck.

Winnie and Tuck become friends and through their friendship, she finds out that Jesse and his family are keeping a secret and Winnie wants in on it.

Winnie then has the decision of being a part of the secret or not.

Fort Dodge Senior High will portray this scenario and give you the decision as they perform “Tuck Everlasting,” FDSH’s 97th annual musical.

Fort Dodge will give three performances. They will be at 7 p.m. on April 18 and April 19, and the finale will be at 2:30 p.m. on April 20 at the Fort Dodge Middle School.

-Messenger photo by Britt Kudla
Michael Wagner (Tuck) and Mina De Jong (Winnie Foster) practice their choreography for the Fort Dodge Senior High musical “Tuck Everlasting.”

The cost is $15 for adults and $8 for students. Tickets are available at www.showtix4u.com/event-details/81306.

“This is a musical adaptation from the book by Natalie Babbitt,” said Lindey Krug, who is the theatrical director of the musical. “It is a coming of age story of making decisions in life.”

“Tuck Everlasting” follows Fort Dodge’s award-winning performances of “Les Miserables” and “Footloose.”

“Each year we have to consider the other area organization’s productions, the FDSH productions from the previous few years, and look at ways to feature our current students,” said Matt Drees, who is the musical director of the musical. “In this case, coming off of ‘Les Miserables’ last year, we knew we wanted to do something lighter in nature, preferably more contemporary.

“After narrowing it down to a few options, ‘Tuck Everlasting’ seemed to really fit our kids and was a perfect contrast from ‘Footloose’ and ‘Les Miserables.’ ‘Footloose’ included a lot of dancing, where ‘Les Mis’ has almost none. ‘Tuck Everlasting’ allowed us to include the dancing portion into the show again and feature some of our most talented dancers more prominently.”

-Messenger photo by Britt Kudla
From left, Abraham Fisher, Michael Wagner, Manu Rodriquez and Jayden Lennon run through their lines for Fort Dodge Senior High's musical "Tuck Everlasting" recently at the Fort Dodge Middle School.

More than 80 Fort Dodge students will showcase their talents on stage and back as they share “Tuck Everlasting.”

It takes a lot of work with so many people involved to put a show on stage, but Krug is pleased with the early progress. With the show a week away, the early progress helped for the long-term goal.

“I’m really pleased with how far we came early,” Krug said. “We got everything choreographed and everything on stage (a month ago). We ran through the music and put the music together.

“Once we get on stage, the magic really starts to happen and come together.”

After last year’s award-winning show, the cast wants to continue the success of Fort Dodge’s musical performances.

-Messenger photo by Britt Kudla
Madison Sullivan, Chris Huselbus and Abbi Casciato practice choreography for a number in the Fort Dodge Senior High musical “Tuck Everlasting.”

“Last year we graduated a huge senior class, both in numbers and talent,” Drees said. “In order for any program to maintain success there has to be a collective belief in the ‘next man up’ mentality.”

This year’s cast has brought forth their talent and past success to another strong performance.

“We knew that we had remarkable performers, and we knew that we had a ninth-grade class coming in that has infused a huge amount of energy and talent into the program,” Drees said. “When you look at the accolades accumulated between All-State Music and All-State Speech from our students, it is remarkable.

“When you go down the list of our cast and look at who has been selected as an All-State musician, who has been selected as an All-State performer in speech, and who of those students were possibly recognized for both, you really start to get a sense of just how incredibly talented our students are at FDSH. It’s amazing what our students are capable of and it’s a privilege to continue to encourage and lead them.”

Michael Wagner will play the role of Jesse Tuck and Mina De Jong will play Winnie Foster. Members of the Tuck family will be played by Abraham Fisher (Miles Tuck), Manu Rodriguez (Mae Tuck), Jayden Lennon (Angus Tuck).

-Messenger photo by Britt Kudla
The Fort Dodge Senior High cast of "Tuck Everlasting" works on the choreography for one of the numbers in this year's musical.

Owen Hamlow will act out the role of the Man in the Yellow Suit. 

Other lead roles will be played by Sydney Gebers (Constable Joe), Omarion Myers-Zimmerman (Hugo), Chloe Balm (Betsy), Amelia Stephan (Nana) and Logan Hamilton (Carry).

There will also be a large ensemble of over 30 students. There are also cast members for the story of Winnie Foster, the carnival band and carnival roles.

“Tuck Everlasting” will have a strong musical element as well.

“The music of ‘Tuck Everlasting’ is very contemporary in style,” Drees said. “It doesn’t necessarily have that ‘classic Broadway’ feel, but it is super charming and very easy to listen to.

-Messenger photo by Britt Kudla
Mina DeJong, left, Chloe Balm and Amelia Stephan practice their lines for the Fort Dodge Senior High musical of "Tuck Everlasting."

“There is a villain character, but even his music is sort of rock and gospel inspired and not brooding and dark. The other music has a very light and upbeat feel to it.”

Putting together a musical takes a lot of talent and help, as well as volunteers to pull off the show.

“Our community is a fine arts community and it’s amazing what they do,” Krug said. “We have a tremendous amount of support. Our parents come out of the woodwork, from costuming and props to set construction.

“This musical couldn’t happen to the scale and level it does without them.”

This is Krug’s third year of directing the musical, and this year, the fans will have a chance to see one of the biggest sets on the stage.

“It’s important to understand that it’s not just about the actors,” Krug said. “The whole product is a slice of life and we get to be a part of the story for a couple of hours.

“It’s realistic and functional and we give students the most professional experience they can have.”

If you go

What: FDSH musical, “Tuck Everlasting”


7:00 p.m. Thursday, April 18

7:00 p.m. Friday, April 19

2:30 p.m. Saturday, April 20


Fort Dodge Middle School, 800 N. 32nd St.


$15 for adults; $8 for students

For tickets: www.showtix4u.com/event-details/81306

Cast List

Jesse Tuck — Michael Wagner

Winnie Foster — Mina De Jong

Miles Tuck — Abraham Fisher

Mae Tuck — Manu Rodriguez

Man In the Yellow Suit — Owen Hamlow

Angus Tuck — Jayden Lennon

Constable Joe — Sydney Gebers

Hugo — Omarion Myers-Zimmerman

Mother (Betsy) — Chloe Balm

Nana — Amelia Stephan

Carry — Logan Hamilton


Lilly Johnson, Madison Sullivan, Claire Thompson, Camden Doster,

Camila Lopes, Sol Birkey, Ella Champagne, Chris Hulsebus, Abbi Casciato, Kira Pearson, Nathan Bracey, Cortney Hoover, Madge Hensley,

Lacey Larson, Briley Singer, Lauren Patterson, Grant Behrens,

Micah Flaherty, Trice Jakeman, Tessa Carlson, Aidan Recker, Brady Major, Drake Wertz, Leif Hamilton, Makinley Nore, Nevaeh Caldeira,

Teagan Loots, Reigan Grossnickle, Natia Tsiteladze, Lexie McHone

The Story of Winnie Foster

Teenage Winnie — Lexie McHone

Middle-Aged Winnie — Abbi Casciato

Middle-Aged Hugo — Trice Jakeman

Old Winnie — Ella Champagne

Teenage Son — Drake Wertz

Teenage Girl — Lilly Johnson

Carnival Band

Trombone — Micah Flaherty

Trumpet — Lacey Larson

Tuba — Lauren Patterson

Drums — Madge Hensley

Cymbals — Leif Hamilton

Carnival Roles

Fortune Teller — Sol Birkey

Cotton Candy Vendor — Cortney Hoover

Strong Man — Grant Behrens

Bearded Lady — Claire Thompson

Lion Tamer — Brady Major

Stilts (the Clown) — Aidan Recker

Snake Charmer — Nevaeh Caldeira

Dancing Ensemble

Lexie McHone, Camden Doster, Briley Singer, Natia Tsiteladze,

Abbi Casciato, Makinley Nora, Madison Sullivan, Kira Pearson,

Nahila Bracey, Chris Hulsebus

-Messenger photo by Britt Kudla
Omarion Myers-Zimmerman (playing Hugo) rehearses for the Fort Dodge Senior High musical of "Tuck Everlasting."

-Messenger photo by Britt Kudla
Manu Rodriguez rehearses for the upcoming Fort Dodge Senior High musical "Tuck Everlasting" recently at Fort Dodge Middle School.


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