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Beam me up, Tinker Bell; Peter Pan children's theatre production wraps up for young area actors

Photo by Rachelle Klemme "Peter Pan" characters prepare to be "beamed up" to Neverland. From left, "John" played by Mitchel Haman, "Wendy" played by Hope Dumpprope, "Peter Pan" played by Kate Schmidt, "Tinker Bell" played by Tori Lee, "Nana" played by Holly Doty and "Michael" played by James Anderson.1 / 2
Home Dumpprope as "Wendy", left, fixes the shadow on "Peter Pan" played by Kate Schmidt.2 / 2

Prairie Fire Children's Theatre returned to Wadena with "Peter Pan", featuring 32 kids and two actor/directors.

Performances were held July 13-14 at Memorial Auditorium in Wadena. Before then, kids had about a week to memorize their lines and hone their acting skills.

Coordinator Kent Schmidt of Wadena said he had four kids in the play, so he decided it was time for him to get involved. His children have been acting in Prairie Fire for five years, and it was the first year for his youngest.

Schmidt said it was a positive experience for all the young actors involved.

"The kids had a really enjoyable time, and I think they enjoyed the directors immensely," he said.

Director Elizabeth Clevenger, who also played the Tiger Lily character and Mrs. Darling, said this version of "Peter Pan" is different from both the Disney movie and the original J.M. Barrie play.

"It is Prairie Fire's own take on Peter Pan," she said.

Director Devin Clevenger, who also played Captain Hook and Mr. Darling, said the play is more kid-friendly and made for the demographic they teach.

Other changes were made to the story: instead of flying, the kids are beamed like Star Trek to Neverland, and Tiger Lily is the leader of the Cleveland Indians baseball team.

Based in Barrett, Minn., Prairie Fire has become a yearly fixture in Wadena and other Minnesota towns.

Schmidt said "Cinderella" will be next year's Prairie Fire play in Wadena.