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Editorial: High school theater makes a return to Washington Auditorium

Lead Summary

Over the course of the last several weeks much has been written and said, and deservedly so, about the success of Ely’s high school volleyball team.
The Timberwolves’ first-ever trip to the state tournament was something to talk about, and take photos about, and write about. Ely put itself on the state’s volleyball map with a run that included an unbeaten regular season, a dominant blitz through the section playoffs and a state tournament performance that showed there’s some pretty good volleyball played in the northeastern part of the state.
With a win and two competitive defeats, Ely took sixth in the state in Class A and wrapped up a year that won’t soon be forgotten about.
It’s clear that Ely has had quite the year in high school athletics, not only with the volleyball team but with a cross country team that went to state as well.
Yet one only needed to stop at Washington Auditorium last weekend to see that Ely’s high school talent goes beyond the athletic fields, courts and swimming pools.
Ely’s high school fall musical production of “The Addams Family” was superb and followed in a long line of fine arts success inside the school walls.
Over the course of two weekend nights and a Sunday afternoon, hundreds came to Ely’s Washington Auditorium to take in the show. Because of a Covid-19 cancellation in 2020 and then because of the school’s construction project last year, this marked the first time since 2019 that the auditorium was used for the musical.
The cast, crew, directors and musical accompanists made up for lost time, putting on a show that schools or communities far larger than Ely would be impressed with and proud of.
The musical also introduced Ely audiences to a new group of talent - a group that has honed its craft since September - in the same manner of those athletes on Ely’s teams.
A couple of seniors and veterans of Ely productions, Gabriel Mann and Juliet Stouffer, were tremendous in their roles as Gomez and Morticia Addams from the TV favorite of the 1960s. They combined acting skills with singing to light up the auditorium stage.
Talented Chambriel Adams, who could take her passion for music to Carnegie Hall, broke out in song in her role as Wednesday and fans of Uncle Fester from a half-century ago were sure to get a kick out of the performance by Ruby Milton in the same role in Ely’s production.
Those were just a few of the budding thespians and singers on stage. Hats off to them all, as well as director Mike Rouse and all of his staff, for bringing theater back to Washington Auditorium.
In fact, it looked much like 2019 as crowds returned and smiles were abundant - despite chilly temperatures outside.
Speaking of chilly, that plays a part in the school theater’s next production. As written about previously, Ely was the only school in Minnesota to get the rights to put on “Frozen” and plans are already underway for the 2023-24 musical -which may be delayed until January to take advantage of the season.
It has already been a memorable year for Ely sports, but the Addams Family showed that young talent in town is abundant. We’re looking forward to the next show.

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