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MURDOCK – Audiences watching Elmwood-Murdock’s one-act play will have a golden ticket to one of the most famous chocolate factories in the world.

Elmwood-Murdock students will be performing “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” for audiences over the next several weeks. The play follows a similar storyline to the popular Roald Dahl novel about Charlie Bucket, Willy Wonka and Oompa Loompas.

Director Keri Hogue said she has been pleased with the work ethic and dedication displayed by the Knights this school year. Students began auditioning for parts in the production in August and started rehearsals in early September.

“The kids this year have been great,” Hogue said. “It’s been a lot of fun seeing how much they’ve grown over the past couple of months. This is a play that’s allowed them to expand their talents and be a part of something that’s really neat for everyone.”

Hogue said the group is following the motto of “Community, Commitment and Character” this season. She said those three traits have been key to the success of the program.

“This is my largest group this year with 40 kids, and we have 12 seniors this year, which is fantastic,” Hogue said. “This really is one big family, and I think that community environment is something that helps them be committed to what we’re doing and show good character in everything they do.”

Seniors involved in the production include Abraham Vidaurre, Molly Feile, Noah Willey, Alyssa Closner, Chloe Hosier, Constence Baker, Ethan Clements, Sydney Anderson, Lauren Justesen, Abby Shannon, Vanessa Callaway, Kylee Wilson and Jade Hernandez-Maddux.

Rylee Hogue, Sergio Rikli, Maggie Richter, Gus Pope, Noah Arent, Justin Wolph, Mallory Pavlik, Rylan Packett and Darienne Doll are juniors, and Tessa Robertson, Riley Rose, Rylan Meyer, Sophie Frank, Nate Lockman, Harlee Wilson, Jack Deibert, Tucker Oehlerking, Kaitlynn Ashlock, Sela Rikli and Claire Ernst are sophomores.

Haylee Josoff, Angela Brockhoff and Karly Anderson are freshmen in this year’s play. Middle school students Lily Pope, Ava Kennedy and Averi Hogue are also helping with backstage duties.

The students deliver the story of how Charlie Bucket wins a golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Charlie and Grandpa Joe travel to the factory and meet four other pairs of children and adults who have captured tickets. They take many adventures through the factory and learn life lessons from their experiences.

The 30-minute production includes 26 sound effects, multiple lighting cues and several set design changes. Hogue said seamstress Tami Pleiss gave the show additional life with her work on costumes. The wardrobes transformed E-M teenagers into elderly couples, hard-working squirrels and colorful Oompa Loompas.

“Tami Pleiss is amazing,” Hogue said. “The work that she did for this show was spectacular. I want to make sure she gets mentioned because she has done so much for us. She really does deserve to be recognized.”

Elmwood-Murdock began the one-act season Nov. 9 with a trip to the York Invite. The Knights received fourth place in overall team standings and won the Best Technical Design honor in their division.

Elmwood-Murdock held a public performance last weekend and took part in the East Central Nebraska Conference Meet on Tuesday afternoon. The Knights earned third place at the ECNC event and had four students receive honors. Rylee Hogue earned the Best Actress Award and Molly Feile, Abraham Vidaurre and Gus Pope all earned ECNC Acting Awards.

The team’s schedule will include a competition at Lincoln High School on Nov. 26 and a performance at Elmwood-Murdock Elementary School on Dec. 2. E-M will compete in the District C2-1 Meet at Palmyra on Dec. 4. Archbishop Bergan, Cedar Bluffs, Humboldt-Table Rock-Steinauer, Palmyra, Pawnee City, Southern and Weeping Water will join the Knights at districts.

The district winner will earn a trip to the Class C-2 State Meet at the Johnny Carson Theatre in Norfolk. Class C-2 state action will take place on Dec. 12.

Hogue said she is excited about the chance for the Knights to showcase their work at many different venues.

“I want to give these kids as many opportunities to shine as possible,” Hogue said. “Some schools have just a public performance and that’s it, but these kids have done such a good job with this and have worked a long time on it. I want to make sure they get rewarded for that work by being able to go to a lot of different places.”

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