Every other year, students from Holdingford Area Schools perform a musical for the general public; but this year, they are offering something a little different. On one of the nights, they will be having a dinner and a show to fundraise for the Fine Arts Now Club, which helps support music, arts, theatre, speech and more in the school.

“The idea of a dinner and a show came up last fall during one of our monthly FAN club meetings,” said Lisa Vouk, FAN club leader. “It was started by the choir director [Josh Smith] and we all started brainstorming about how we could make this work.”

The dinner and a show will be the club’s biggest public fundraiser for the year, and all who are involved in the school’s fine arts programs are optimistic it will be a success.

“We’ve never done anything like this before and we are hoping it is successful so that we can continue to do it with each future musical,” said Tara Wolford, Holdingford Area Schools general theatre director and language arts teacher. “Mr. Smith and I both think it’s a great opportunity.”

The FAN club helps support the school’s fine arts programs by raising funds and paying for various supplies, such as props, sets, costumes, scripts and musical accompaniment for theatre production, supplies for the art club and more.

“If it involves music, band, choir, speech, art, theatre – we try to help in any way that we can,” Vouk said. “These types of programs are wonderful for students, families and the community. So often you hear of fine arts budget cuts. I don’t know if that’s the case for our school, but I know that in a small school, every dollar counts and anything we can do to help supplement the school budgets to ensure that arts are still viable is important.”

This year’s production is “Seussical the Musical” based on the children’s stories of Dr. Seuss, created by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty. Characters in the musical include Horton the Elephant, The Cat in the Hat, Gertrude McFuzz, lazy Mayzie and Jojo.

Students grades 7-12 can participate in the musical and so far, the cast size is at 16.

“We have quite a small cast this year,” Wolford said. “The musical allows for a cast as large as 40 and we have slowly been building our cast up to 16.”

The small-but-mighty cast has been hard at work in rehearsals, and because of the snow days and early outs, the crew has been playing catch up. Rehearsal is Monday-Friday from 3:30-5:30 with full-cast practices Mondays and Thursdays, ensemble practice Tuesdays and lead practice on Wednesdays and Fridays. Rehearsals began Feb. 4 and will continue up until the big debut.

“The kids are excited, for sure, but their nerves are starting to show,” Wolford said. “They know we are behind schedule and worry that we won’t learn the songs or lines in time. However, they are all dedicated to creating a fabulous production. I know that they will come through and it will be a wonderful experience.”

The biggest challenge in rehearsal is the music, Wolford said. There are over 30 songs in the production that need to be memorized. Despite the challenge, Wolford is certain the students will pull off a stellar performance.

“These kids are working really hard to create a production that they are proud of,” she said. “They deserve to have sold out shows. Anyone who doesn’t purchase a ticket will definitely be missing out.”

The shows will be held Friday, March 29 at 7 p.m.; Saturday, March 30 at 2 p.m. and again at 7 p.m.; and Sunday, March 31 at 2 p.m. The dinner and a show will be held for one night only (Saturday, March 30). On that night, doors will open at 5 p.m., dinner will be at 5:30 p.m. and the show will begin at 7 p.m. There will also be a silent auction that night.

Saturday night’s dinner will be catered by Creative Catering in Rice and will include chicken Kiev, garlic mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables, spring mix salad with berries, bread rolls and dessert. Each table will have coffee and water, too.

Tickets for the dinner and a show must be purchased in advance. To purchase tickets, call the Holdingford High School District Office at 746-2221 and ask for Linda Zapzalka.