“Dear Edwina Jr.” is coming to the Litchfield High School Little Theater this month. With special arrangements with Music Theatre International, New York, the junior performance will run from April 19 to April 22.

The musical, created by Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich in the 1990s, is directed by Mary Hansen and musical director Sara Dollerschell.

“Dear Edwina” focuses on 13-year-old Edwina Spoonapple of Paw Paw, Michigan, who struggles with confidence against her talented siblings. With only one set arrangement during the junior performance, Edwina hosts a weekly mini-musical out of her garage, giving advice to neighborhood children who write in their woes to Edwina. The advice she gives comes through in song and dance with the help of her friends.

According to Dollerschell, the play’s subject matter about middle school students has made it a great choice for the predominantly middle school-aged cast.

“Dear Edwina” has only a handful of high school students in the cast this time. Beatrice Handlin, a ninth-grader, stars as the main character, and senior Austin Lease performs in one of his final performances before graduating high school. For both of them, junior productions have become something that they love doing.

“It’s kind of different,” Lease said about being the only senior performer, surrounded by mostly younger thespians. “I am enjoying the show so far. Just like with any show, it’s really nice seeing that process of starting off from just a script and some music and see it build into an actual show where everyone takes on their character.”

Handlin, originally from St. Louis, has done every junior performance possible since her move to Litchfield.

“So far it’s going pretty good,” Handlin said. “I’ve had a ton of really awesome experiences and met so many new faces this year; it’s been great.

Both Lease and Handlin said that the next few steps in preparing for the upcoming performance are just smoothing out its smaller details.

Molly O'Connor is a reporter who earned her B.A. from Winona State University.

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