Girl time includes, From left: Cecilia Rabaey of Minneota, Crystal Enga of Marshall, Alexis Christensen of Lake Benton, Jocelyn Klein of Tyler.

Footloose going on stage at Opera House

Kick off your Sunday shoes because Footloose: The Musical is coming to the Lake Benton Opera House. Minneota area students and residents are among the 40 individuals in the cast and ensemble for the musical that debuts July 26. “This is our first time doing this musical,” said Director Mark Wilmes.

“The audiences will get to see a fun show that has some really good music.” Minneota locals who will be performing in the musical will be: Cecilia Rabaey (who plays Urleen), Jacob Haen (Travis), Jackson Jeremiason (Jeter) and Chesney Panka (Lulu Warnicker), all of Minneota; and Emma Lipinski (Bickle), Ben Engels (a member of the ensemble), and Aubree Cheadle (Ethel McCormack), all of Ivanhoe.

Sara Engels of Ivanhoe is a member of the set crew. Auditions were held on June 3 and 5, and rehearsals began on June 10. Minneota High School graduate Sonya (Karels) LaTorre flew from her home in Sparta, NJ, on June 29 to assist with the choreography for the musical.

She returned to Sparta on July 7. “Sonya has served as our choreographer for the past several years and always brings creativity to our dance numbers,” said Wilmes.

“Crystal Enga of Marshall has done a great job of helping out after Sonya returned home.” “There is a lot of high-energy dancing that should be fun to watch. We have several experienced dancers in the ensemble who have worked very hard on learning the dance numbers.”

LaTorre, who has choreographed eight shows and performed in three shows at the Lake Benton Opera House, is currently working at an acting school called Acting Apart in Sparta, which is an acting school.

“I’m teaching and choreographing shows there,” she explained. “And I’m always auditioning and performing in New York City.” LaTorre said her reasons are two-fold for coming back to the Minneota and helping out at the Lake Benton Opera House. “It gives me a reason to come home and visit my mom and friends,” she said.

“And I really like working at the Opera House. It’s one of my favorite places in the world.”

Luke Biefeldt of Brookings, SD, plays the part of Ren that was popularized by Kevin Bacon in the Footloose movie that came out in 1984. “Luke has some remarkable skills for a teenager,” said Wilmes.

“The part of Ren is probably the most difficult part vocally that I’ve ever had to cast in my 20 years of directing.” Tom Schmitt of Porter will be taking on the role of Rev. Moore, the part played by John Lithgow in the film version.

“Tom does a great job of portraying Rev. Moore, who struggles with the loss of a son and the realization that he is losing his family by being overprotective and oppressive,” Wilmes noted.

Jocelyn Klein of Tyler plays the part of Ariel (played by Lori Singer in the movie). “(Jocelyn) is a great actress who has been appearing in Opera House shows for most of the last decade,” said Wilmes.

“We also have a talented six-piece band providing the accompaniment, led by pianist Lauren Johnson and director/percussionist Justin Condelli.”

Footloose will be performed July 26 and 27 and Aug. 2 and 3 at 7:30 p.m., July 28 and Aug. 4 at 2 p.m, and July 29 and Aug. 5 at 2 p.m.

Tickets can be ordered by visiting

Cast of Footloose

  • Ren McCormack – Luke Bielfeldt, Brookings, SD
  • Ariel Moore – Jocelyn Klein, Tyler
  • Ethel McCormack – Aubree Cheadle, Ivanhoe
  • Rev. Shaw Moore – Tom Schmitt, Porter
  • Vi Moore – Katie Roberts, Tyler
  • Rusty – Crystal Enga, Marshall
  • Wendy Jo – Alexis Christensen, Lake Benton
  • Urleen – Cecilia Rabaey, Minneota
  • Chuck Cranston – Ian Lundgren, Brookings, SD
  • Travis – Jacob Haen, Ghent
  • Mary – Mary Porter, Marshall
  • Willard Hewitt – Graham Petersen, Tyler
  • Jeter – Jackson Jeremiason, Minneota
  • Bickle – Emma Lipinski, Ivanhoe
  • Garvin – Noah Greer, Lake Benton
  • Lulu Warnicker – Chesney Panka, Minneota
  • Wes Warnicker – Taylor Holck, Ruthton
  • Coach Roger Dunbar – Taylor Engel, Marshall
  • Eleanor Dunbar- Channa McCurdy, Verdi
  • Principal Harry Clark – Deven Edinger, Lake Benton
  • Betty – Anika Finzen, Pipestone
  • Cop – Cameron Nelson, Tyler
  • Cowboy Bob – Adam Madsen, Tyler
  • Cowgirl – Gabby Thooft, Tyler
  • Ensemble Boy 1 (Footloose) – Luke Johnson, Tyler
  • Boy 2 (Footloose) – Arthur Finzen, Pipestone
  • Boy 3 (Footloose) – Amber Bakker, Ruthton
  • Lacey Barke – Arco
  • Cari Baune - Tyler
  • Sabel Christensen – Lake Benton
  • Carrie Enga - Marshall
  • Ben Engels - Ivanhoe
  • Ka Finzen - Pipestone
  • Ellie Frahm - Tyler
  • Jenna Hollien - Marshall
  • Holly Juutilainen - Marshall
  • Emma Kampmann – Elkton, SD
  • Annie Nichols - Tyler
  • Brianna Pattison – Lake Benton
  • Katana Schmidt – Hendricks
  • Director Mark Wilmes, Tyler
  • Band Piano – Lauren Johnson, Florence
  • Keyboards – Darla Biel, Brookings, SD
  • Keyboards – Taylor Engel, Marshall
  • Guitar – Jesse Linneman, Marshall
  • Drums – Adam Madsen, Tyler
  • Reeds – Robyn Condelli, Marshall
  • Percussion/Director Justin Condelli, Marshall


  • Nate Gates – Brookings, SD
  • Josh Reese – Tyler
  • Alan Riedel – Brookings, SD
  • Emma Gunnare – Tyler
  • Jodi Greer – Lake Benton


  • Sandy Hanson, Tyler

Set Manager

  • Sydney Johansen, Tyler

Set Crew

  • Sarah Engels – Ivanhoe
  • Ash Lindahl – Lake Benton
  • Kathy Holck - Ruthton
  • Lynn Carpenter – Lake Benton
  • Megan Grimsrud – Elkton, SD
Practicing a song from the musical were: Clockwise from top left: Jackson Jeremiason of Minneota, Jacob Haen of Minneota, Noah Greer of Lake Benton, Emma Lipinski of Ivanhoe (Minneota student). Special photo.

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