Comedy at its funniest, the high school is "Switching Principals"
La Crescent High School students (from left) Jordan Humpal, Drew Willers and Jada Brunk rehearse for the upcoming comedy, "Switching Principals," being held March 16-18 at the La Crescent Fine Arts Center. (Henry-HCN)

If you're looking to laugh for 90 minutes straight, look no further than the La Crescent Fine Arts Center and the high school's production of "Switching Principals" March 16-18. The show's director, Sue La Crosse, said this play is bound to relieve guests of the winter doldrums.

The comedy takes place in a high school that is waiting for a new principal to arrive, whom no one has met. However, George and Mitch, two con men played by Jordan Humpal and Drew Willers, show up in school while trying to lay low after a car wreck that has police looking for them. The vice principal, played by Jada Brunk, sees the two men and figures the new principal and his secretary have arrived.

"These con men take on the role as principal and secretary because they're hiding from the law, but really start to make some good changes in the school," La Crosse said.

After finding out the new principal, played by Conor Ekstrom, won't arrive for a few days, the two make the most of their situation by double-talking and dodging their way past pushy school board members, a nosey security guard, and some overactive students.

"By the end, the "Switching Principals" is not only that they have switched principals, but there have also been some switches in the attitudes around the school," La Crosse said.

La Crosse said she chose this particular play because of the 22 speaking roles it calls for, which gives many students the chance to have a significant role in the show.

"There are just a whole bunch of interesting characters who appear, and that's why I chose it. It gives kids a fun opportunity to create characters," she said.

La Crosse, who directed last year's school musical "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," knew she wanted to select a comedy with a number of speaking roles, and after reading through 17 different shows, she decided on "Switching Principals."

"This one made me laugh from beginning to end," she said. "It is that funny."

The cast and crew, which has been rehearsing four days-a-week for the past seven weeks, include Nicole Nelson, Megan Schiebel, Marie Joly, Mike Davis, Peter Mueller, Tyler Brown, Courtney Houser, Vanessa Mauss, Cassy Graf, Samantha Gilbert, Kendra Siegersma, Erin Albrecht, Siobhan Burns, Nikki Johannes, Brianna Hanson, Sierra Schermerhorn, JohnaLee Strehl, Josh Woelper, Luke Lambert, Andy Krage, Carli Wilke, Sammy Brown, Sarah Langen and Greta Durst. Middle school students Aaron White and Annie Jackson are assisting the crew.

La Crosse expects everyone who sees the show to laugh all the way through, just as she did.

"They have to be prepared to laugh for an hour-and-a-half," she said. "If you need a relief from the wintertime blues, come and enjoy yourself."

Performances are Friday and Saturday, March 16 and 17 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 18 at 2:30 p.m. at the La Crescent Fine Arts Center.

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