Bottineau residents adding passion, talent to production
It’s around 10 p.m. as a rehearsal for the Village Arts production of “Les Miserables” dissipates.
Some of the cast members file out quickly to catch the evening news. Others make plans to meet with friends while some have aims to crawl directly into bed when they get home.
But four performers still have a nearly one-hour trek ahead of them.
The quartet of Bottineau residents, Swain Benson, Mitch Myhre, Jaque Marum and Marum’s daughter Aria, point to their passion for the musical as the reason they drive the extra 90 miles to practice each evening.
“It’s the love for Les Mis,” Myhre said. “If it was anything else, we probably wouldn’t make the trip every night, but we have a deep passion for Les Mis.”
“I put in a 50-hour week but every night I come down here. I could be tired, but we warm up and you hear one of those songs and you’re amped up and ready to go. You go home and crash and do it all over again.”
Benson said the late nights and daily trips are definitely worth the experience.
“The musical,” Benson said. “I’ve loved Les Mis every since I heard it in the mid 80s. When I heard Rugby was doing it, it’s the first time I’ve got out of Bottineau to do a show. When I heard it was Les Miserables, there really wasn’t much of a question.”
Marum, a Rugby native, has enjoyed working with many of the same people she shared the stage with growing up in the town.
“For me it’s just fun because I get to come back and there’s still many of the same people doing the shows,” Marum said. “It’s great, of course, working with Glory (Monson) and Deb (Jenkins), and (vocal music director) Craig (Wollenburg) was my first voice teacher. And of course getting to know new people. I always feel very connected to Rugby. It’s definitely my home town.”
The group has generally carpooled to the rehearsals.
“We have fun and share the expense,” Benson said. “It’s been nice. I knew Jaque was going to do it too, so it’s been nice to share the time, share the drive.”
Marum is playing the role of Cosette, with 9-year-old Aria playing young Cosette.
All three are veterans of Bottineau Community Theater and Benson, who will play the role of Javert, is chomping at the bit to get to the performances.
“It’s the reason you do it,” he said. “It’s fun to rehearse and all that but when the rubber meets the road is when you get in front of an audience.”
Myhre said the chance to perform in one of his favorite works on the stage is his motivation.
“I’m super grateful that you guys (in Rugby) did it so we have the chance to do it,” he said. “Just excited to be in it.”
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