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April 30, 2014
Dan Wahl named Wilder Pageant director
After serving the past few years as director, Bill Richards steps down
|Dan Wahl |
|Tom Merchant photo|
WESTBROOK, Minnesota (STPNS) -- Walnut grove — After the last pageant season the Wilder Pageant Committee was faced with the task of naming a new director after Bill Richards resigned the post after serving the past few years. Richard felt it was time for him to take a break.
After consideration the committee offered the job to former Walnut Grove graduate Dan Wahl who is currently teaching ESL at Tracy Area High School.
While Wahl was born in Slayton, he grew up mostly in the Walnut Grove area and graduated from Walnut Grove High School in 1984. Wahl received his Bachelors degree from SMSU in Creative Writing, He then got his Masters in Creative Writing from MSU. He is currently working on his Secondary Language Arts degree at SWU.
Wahl’s interest in the Wilder Pageant goes back to the first performance in the high school gym in 1978. He was just 13 years old at the time and noted, “I was just getting interested in doing my own creative thing,” he said. He recalls marveling at how the staging was done, expanding it beyond the regular stage — today he says, it is much the same with the current staging at the pageant site.
Wahl mentioned that he had seen the pageant many times over the course of the past years. He had never had a part in the pageant until last year when he handled the chores of Lighting Tech, which was his first real big connection. However Wahl is no stranger to the stage having participating in several small productions.
People locally might remember him for his part playing Tevye, the lead in Westbrook’s community production of Fiddler on the Roof several years ago.
Wahl says, what’s nice about directing the pageant is it is not a one person show. “I am awed by all the volunteer work that goes into the pageant.”
Wahl noted, Bill Richards, Erin Richards and Errol Steffen all have a lot of experience to draw from. These people have a lot of experience in pulling this off — “it isn’t just me by a long shot!”
Auditions were fantastic, there was a good turnout for both days, about 55 people tried out for parts, including a number of youngsters. Wahl said, “we had some new people try out and in one case an entire family that had not been in the production before. We have a new Reverend Alden, and Doc Hoyt this year,” he said.
Even though some of the parts are small in status, Wahl says, every role is important, the production needs everybody to make it work.
Wahl has concluded casting the parts, and the cast list will be printed at the end of this story.
May 3 the cast will gather for cast pictures at the pageant site. On June 9 the cast will begin blocking in the Walnut Grove gym.
His assistant, Erin Richards, has a few years of assisting with the production, and Wahl is happy to be able to tap from her experience. Richards is really into genealogy and is checking out original family names of some of the characters in local cemeteries. There has been a lot of focus the past few years on making the pageant as historically accurate as possible.
Wahl says he feels his growing up as a native of the prairie gives him a better perspective to direct the pageant.
He is looking forward to the challenge of getting this production to the same level as in past years.
In the past Bill Richards has really set the stage and high standards for the production. “I am hopeful that I can approach the same level of competence in producing this year’s production,” Wahl said.
He also emphasized how all of the volunteers that help with everything from tickets sales, to stage hands are very important to the success of the pageant.
“I am really excited about getting to work with the cast in June,” he said.
Wahl currently lives in Walnut Grove with his wife Sara, He has three grown children from his previous marriage. Son Ezekial Blue and twin daughters Sirocco Gold, and Savanna Silver.
2014 Wilder Cast list
Heidi Morgan - Old Laura Ingalls
Errol Steffen - Mr. Charles Ingalls
Kari Vaupel - Mrs. Caroline Ingalls
Hallie Landuyt - Carrie Ingalls
Tara Roberts - Laura Ingalls
Lynnea Asp - Mary Ingalls
Daryl Hrdlicka - Dr. Robert Hoyt
Teri Herder-Blahnik - Mrs. Myra Hoyt
Nicole Baker - Jesse Hoyt
Jake Hicks - Country Doctor’s Assistant
Nancy Weinzetl - Aunt Docia Forbes
(first Bedal family)
Bryan Haen - Mr. Elias Bedal
Wendy Rogotzke - Mrs. Maria Bedal
Jayden Haen - Marshall Bedal
Daniel Haen - James Bedal
Adam Hicks - Sylvester Bedal
Mallorie Hicks - Lucy Bedal
Mariah Hicks - Clara Bedal
Matt Coleman - Mr. Eleck Nelson
Cindy Prins - Mrs. Olena Nelson
Kaylee Prins - Mary Nelson
Daniel DeSmith - Hjalmer Nelson
Andrew Blahnik - Frederick Nelson
Miranda Ankrum - Julia Nelson
Alexandra Kielas - Anna Nelson
Brittney Brommel - Mathilda Nelson
Carter Prins - Samuel Nelson
Corey Prins - Reverend Alden
Haaken Asp - Johnny Johnson
Logan Weinzetl - Clarence Spurr
Kyle Asp - Mr. James Kennedy
Jodi Haen - Mrs. Margaret Kennedy
Jack Hrdlicka - Edwin Kennedy
Mercedies Hicks - Anna Kennedy
Mariah Soleta - Catherine Kennedy
Kianna Prins - Christy Kennedy
Kaylee Campbell - Elizabeth Kennedy
Alex Hrdlicka - Daniel Kennedy
Stacy Hanson - Nettie Kennedy
Makenna Takle - Cassie Kennedy
Samantha "Sami" Ward - Alexander “Sandy” Kennedy
Thomas Knudson - Mr. William Oleson
Julie Danielowski - Mrs. Margaret Oleson
Lauren Frommelt - Nellie Oleson
Orion Knakmuhs - Willie Oleson
Jake Hicks - Mr. Hanson
Beth Ann Danielowski - Mrs. Hanson
Tiffany Holmes - Mrs. Mary Steadman
Lowell Highby - Mr. Amasa Tower
Nancy Weinzetl - Mrs. Julie Tower
Norma Raymond - Mrs. Luperla Ensign
Eva Smith - Carrie Ensign
Callie Smith - Anna Ensign
Madelynne Hicks - Lily Ensign
(2nd Bedal family)
Nathan Olsem - Mr. Lafayette Bedal
Beth Ann Danielowski - Mrs. Bedal
Cora Ourada - Eva Bedal
Danika Radke - Grace Bedal
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