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Sharing the love of theater

FDSH’s DeJong, Wagner, Hamlow part of Triple Threat program

-Submitted photo
Fort Dodge’s Owen Hamlow performs at the Awards Showcase in the Des Moines Civic Center.

The Fort Dodge Senior High School theater program once again took center stage with its performances and talent for the adaptation of the musical “Tuck Everlasting.”

Recently, the Dodgers earned awards for their talents and three performers earned top honors as Triple Threat winners.

As a group “Tuck Everlasting” received an award for Outstanding Musical Theater Production.

Mina DeJong, Owen Hamlow, Manuela Rodriguez and Michael Wagner were named Outstanding Performers in a Lead Role.

Abraham Fisher and Omarion Myers-Zimmerman earned special recognition. The group also was honored for special recognition for community engagement.

-Submitted photo
Fort Dodge’s Michael Wagner (center of photo) performs with the entire group at the Des Moines Civic Center.

“Receiving an outstanding performance in a lead role is not an automatic invitation to be part of the Triple Threat program,” said Lindey Krug, who is the theatrical director of the musical. “This year our outstanding performers had to send in audition material.

“Mina, Owen and Michael were all selected to participate.”

DeJong, Wagner and Hamlow earned Triple Threat honors and performed during the Awards Showcase, celebrating students’ achievement at the Des Moines Civic Center at the end of May.

“Triple Threat was such a phenomenal experience,” Wagner said. “This year’s Triple Threat program consisted of the top 81 performers in Iowa. During this program, we worked with New York and Broadway professionals to put together a song medley that was performed at the Iowa High School Musical Theater Awards Showcase.”

Krug said the Dodgers were also given permission to send two performers to participate in either the opening or the finale of the night. Manuela Rodriguez and Jayden Lennon had the privilege of taking part in the final medley.

-Submitted photo
Fort Dodge’s Mina DeJong and Michael Wagner perform at the Awards Showcase in the Des Moines Civic Center.

“It is always so much fun watching my students perform,” Krug said. “There is something special about being able to see them on a larger stage, surrounded by people who are also extremely talented and knowing that they can hold their own.

“Michael, the lone senior, pays such close attention to detail that you know he’s gonna hit the nail on the head every single time. Mina carries herself with poise and grace. Owen’s stage presence is beyond. And they can all sing their faces off.”

The year culminates in a professionally produced Awards Showcase celebrating student achievement.

Participating musical productions receive a professional review. Panels of performing arts educators and professionals (adjudicators) attend exhibiting schools’ musicals and provide feedback on individual actors’ performances, orchestra, set, lighting, costumes and more. Teachers and students use these insights to make their next show even stronger. Schools participating year over year have seen dramatic transformations in skill, student enthusiasm, and community support.

“Being in Triple Threat not only helped me grow as a performer by working with professionals, but also helped me create friendships with talented people across the state,” DeJong said. “We got to work with coaches and improve our skills while also putting together a medley for the showcase.

“I’m very grateful for the opportunity to work with many talented individuals across Iowa.”

In his final musical at FDSH, Wagner enjoyed the experience.

Wagner enjoyed the opportunity to meet new people with the same interests.

“While I was there, I got to meet so many phenomenal people,” Wagner said. “On my first day of rehearsals, I was nervous that it was going to be a competition to show off who’s best — I was completely wrong.

“Through this program, I became friends with some of the nicest and most talented people I’ve ever met.”

The theme was musical theater and being surrounded by everyone who had the love for performing was a night to remember.

“Everyone there had a shared drive and love for musical theater,” Wagner said. “Whether they specialized in dancing, acting, or singing, everyone there had moments to shine and show their talent. While the practices were intensive, the faculty did an amazing job at making sure everyone was rested and having a good time.

“Overall, it was an amazing experience to perform with the highest caliber of performers in Iowa, and making friends that will last for a long time.”

Hamlow enjoyed being part of the event.

“The audition process for Triple Threat was very stressful, but so worth it in the end,” Hamlow said. “I am so grateful for the opportunity to perform with so many amazing high school performers.

“Seeing how quickly others were catching on to choreography, singing, and acting was a very inspiring experience.”

Hamlow, who has performed since he was a toddler, had a chance to be among some of the best on one of the biggest stages.

“I’ve been performing in musicals since I was in fourth grade and being able to perform on such a big stage with others who shared my love for theater was a dream come true,” Hamlow said. “I am extremely grateful for Mr. (Matt) Drees and Mrs. Krug for giving me the opportunity to perform and show what I can do.”

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