VCSU Talent in Frost Fire Summer Theatre

Special to the Times-Record
Staff Writer

Valley City is well represented at Frost Fire Summer Theatre in Walhalla. This year’s musical in the Amphitheatre on the ski slope is Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

Based on the Coat of Many Colors story in the Book of Genesis, this upbeat family-appropriate musical features music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice. Directed by Heather Williams with choreography by Jackie O’Neil, this show is performed with a talented high-energy company of singer/dancer/actors.
Cast member Jacob Olson is from Valley City and recently earned a degree in Human Services at VCSU with a minor in Human Resources. He is known to local audiences for his VCSU Theatre roles which include Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors, King Louie in The Jungle Book, Jim in The Glass Menagerie, and most recently both Demetrius and Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Mariah Smith is a sophomore at VCSU from Fisher, Minn. An English Education major, she is minoring in both Theatre and ELL. Smith has played several roles at VCSU in the last two years, and is most often recognized for her work as Katy in the film Hel U and Laura in The Glass Menagerie.

Both Olson and Smith are ensemble members in the production, singing and dancing along with Musical Theatre students from universities around the area. VCSU Director of Theatre, Jenni Lou Russi, encourages students at the university to audition for summer theatre opportunities.

“This is the perfect time in their lives to have a summer job doing what they love to do! Once our students graduate they’ll have responsibilities that prevent them from taking these opportunities,” she said.

On a recent trip to Walhalla, Russi saw first-hand the benefits this show has on her students.

“I attend the Frost Fire shows each year. They have sold-out audiences with bus tours, great directors/choreographers, and the performers are disciplined, enthusiastic and talented. Performing with peers who have similar interests, learning from new directors, and working in front of large audiences provides a unique training ground for performers. Jacob and Mariah are doing great work with terrific people in a beautiful setting. What more could a young performer want? Audience members from Valley City can be proud of both Jacob and Laura. I hope people take a summer day-trip to see this show!" Russi said.

Located in Walhalla, N.D., Frost Fire Summer Theatre sits atop the ski slope in a picturesque setting. It’s a three-hour drive from Valley City, near Icelandic State Park. The season is near its end, with only three shows remaining: Saturday, July 25 at 6 p.m. and Sunday, July 26 and Wednesday, 29 at 2 p.m. Pre-show dinner service is available. More information can be found at: