Stars of the stage
FDSH’s rendition of ‘Les Mis’ earns Outstanding Musical Performance
Editor’s note: A story on Fort Dodge’s Triple Threat awards will appear in Thursday’s Messenger.
By CHRIS JOHNSON
After last year’s musical “Footloose,” director Lindey Krug and choir director Matt Drees knew exactly what was next.
“Last year when Footloose ended, Mr. Drees and I were standing in the hallway at the middle school,” Krug said. “Everything had been loaded up and headed back to their original locations. I looked at him and said, ‘Do you know what I think we should do next year — ‘Les Miserables.’
“He smiled. I think we both knew at that moment, the breadth and depth of talent and dedication we have in the students in this program.”
Krug knew that Les Miserables would be a tough task to tackle, but with the talent in the Fort Dodge hallways, she was confident they could pull it off.
“We knew it would be a huge challenge to take on,” Krug said. “So we went back-and-forth over the course of the summer and fall with other possibilities.
“We just kept coming back to this particular show. We just felt that we had all of the pieces for this particular puzzle in place.”
After three standing-room-only performances at the Fort Dodge Middle School, FDSH earned a multitude of awards.
The Iowa High School Musical Theater Awards Program named FDSH’s showcase of “Les Miserables,” “Outstanding Musical Performance. This award is handed out to only 13 schools in the entire state.
Earning this award allows the entire cast to perform a short excerpt from their production at the awards showcase at the Des Moines Civic Center on June 1.
The Iowa High School Musical Theater Awards Showcase will be livestreamed at 7 p.m. on Iowa PBS.
PBS will also replay the show on Friday, July 14, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. as well as Sunday, July 16, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
“Again we received Outstanding Musical Performance,” Krug said. “We also received outstanding community engagement for the work a group of students did to add a philanthropic aspect in the production. Their goal was to raise funds and items for Lotus, which is a local shelter for women and their families.
“Our full ensemble won a special recognition award.”
Fort Dodge also earned some individual accolades as Triple Threat award winners.
“Four of our lead performers won outstanding performance and a principal,” Krug said. “The students include Aaron Amhof for his role as Jean Valjean, Brayden Schmieder for his role as Theinardier, Grace Casciato for her role as Fantine, and Mikeal Campbell for his role as Javart. “That just goes to show you how crazy amazing the students are. To get four outstanding performances, as well as a special recognition is pretty unique.
“Our full ensemble won a special recognition award, as well as Michael Wagner for his role as Enjolras.”
For Krug, the whole production was about the group coming together to put together a show everyone could be proud of.
“My job as theatrical director is to put together the set, costumes, props, hair and make-up, and actor direction,” Krug said. “For me, it means putting together a strong team of people that can dedicate their time and talents to assisting in that process. Our musical parents are bar none the most amazing people. They help construct the set, they gather the props, they gather the costumes. They provide meals for our kids during tech week.
“Mr. Drees is in charge of all of the vocal and music direction. With the help of Brian Robison and the pit orchestra. He also secured the lighting and sound technicians.”