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Madhatters' latest offering opening Nov. 12

Photo by Rachelle Klemme During a rehearsal, Emma Mehl walks across the stage surrounded by other Madhatters actors (clockwise from left) Henry Fitzsimmons, Lisa Holm, Gavin Kiser, Anita Small, Kate Schmidt and Logan Wegschied.

The latest Madhatters production is a play about a play -- with a dash of holiday spirit.

"The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" is a popular 1972 book by Barbara Robinson which has been adapted for stage and television over the years.

"It's a story of Christmas and the birth of Jesus, and how a family who has not been aware or known the teachings, comes to the understanding of what it's all about," director Sherry Linnes said.

The performance will take place at the Wadena Evangelical Church on the weekends of Nov. 12-14 and Nov. 19-21. The Friday and Saturday showings are at 7 p.m., and the Sunday shows are 2 p.m. matinees. Admission is $7.

Because of changes with the school brought on by the tornado, their usual venue, Memorial Auditorium, is less available, she said.

"We can seat about 200 people in each performance," Linnes said.

The cast is mostly made up of kids from age 5 to middle school with a handful of adults thrown in the mix.

"We have a lot of talented young people," Linnes said, adding that they are from the Sebeka and Verndale areas as well as the county seat.

"It's not just Wadena kids. It is area kids who are working very hard and having a lot of fun," she said.

Linnes, who grew up with Madhatters, said that she went through an interview process for the role of the director.

"You have to have a vision of what you see for the play, where it will go, and hope that your vision works for those that pick it. This is my very first directing job," she said. "I've worked years behind the scenes and on stage learning what a director does."

She added that the assistant director, Susan Mohs, has directed many Madhatters plays and has been her mentor in the process.

"Our goal is always to bring something new and fun," Linnes said. "Our goal is to entertain everybody and make them laugh and remember the reason that we celebrate Christmas."