At the Phipps: Disney’s ‘Mulan Jr.’ begins on Feb. 14

Disney’s “Mulan Jr.” is at The Phipps Children’s Theater Feb. 14 through March 2. Pictured from left, Yao (Phillipe Thao) and Ling (Elijah Wood) congratulate Mulan (Kia Feia), disguised as a soldier, along with Captain Shang (Alex Hadlich). (Photo courtesy of The Phipps Center for the Arts)
Disney’s “Mulan Jr.” is at The Phipps Children’s Theater Feb. 14 through March 2. Pictured from left, Yao (Phillipe Thao) and Ling (Elijah Wood) congratulate Mulan (Kia Feia), disguised as a soldier, along with Captain Shang (Alex Hadlich). (Photo courtesy of The Phipps Center for the Arts)

Disney’s “Mulan Jr.,” based on the 1998 Disney film “Mulan” and the story “Fa Mulan” by Robert D. San Souci, will be performed by The Phipps Children’s Theater from Feb. 14 through March 2 at The Phipps Center for the Arts in Hudson, Wis.

The musical is set in ancient China. Defying the village matchmaker, Mulan takes up arms and disguises herself as a man in order to spare her father from having to serve in the army. The Huns have invaded her homeland, and it is up to the misfit Mulan and her mischievous sidekick, Mushu, to save the Emperor. Disney’s “Mulan Jr.” is a celebration of culture, honor, and the fighting spirit. The score includes favorites such as “Reflection,” “Honor to Us All” and “I’ll Make a Man Out of You.”

The cast features 36 actors from area high schools.

Music director Andrew A. Haase comments, “The music is fun, yet challenging. It truly brings out the best of each character and scene. The cast of ‘Mulan’ has been working very hard. They are dedicated to the art of great musical theater and have been providing their all at each and every rehearsal.”

Kia Feia of Hudson, who plays Mulan, is really enjoying her first production at The Phipps. She said she likes all the songs but finds “Keep ‘Em Guessing” particularly fun because it is a jazz number and, as a saxophone player, she loves jazz music. She also loves the song “Reflection” because she can relate to the message.

“Mulan is trying to figure herself out, where do I belong and how do I find out? It’s a question every teen asks.” Feia said. She also likes the message of “Written in Stone,” that it is time for Mulan to create her own destiny.

“I can really feel Mulan’s passion to prove herself,” Feia said.

Haase added that “Mulan” will be a new experience for Phipps’s audiences, “The students who play these roles are keeping this musical fresh and new with their own interpretations of these characters. Their creative spirit shines through their speech, dance, and singing.”

Choreographer Christina Leines likes the song and dance opportunities in the show.

“Our production has all of the familiar music that fans of the film will remember, as well as a few new songs,” she said. “One of my favorite new songs is sung by Mushu, the dragon, who is sent by Mulan’s ancestors to keep her safe on her journey. It’s big, showy, and full of energy, and sure to be a crowd pleaser.”

Leines summed up the appeal of “Mulan” for cast and audience: “I love the story of ‘Mulan’ because the heroine is a strong and capable young woman who is willing to stand up for what she feels is right and refuses to be stereotyped. What a great message to send to young women everywhere. ‘Mulan’ is a thrilling story filled with action, adventure, and beautiful music, and you won’t want to miss it performed by these talented young actors.”

Director John H. Potter, Haase and Leines previously staged Disney’s “The Little Mermaid Jr.” and “Willy Wonka, Jr.” for The Phipps Children’s Theater.

Performances will be given from Feb. 14 through March 2 on Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., as well as Sundays at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for students age 13 and older as well as seniors, and $15 for children age 12 and younger. The play is recommended for children age 4 and older.  Reservations may be made by contacting The Phipps ticket office at 715-386-8409 or at

Auditions for the comedy “The Fox on the Fairway” 

Auditions for “The Fox on the Fairway,” a comedy by Ken Ludwig, will be Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 17 and 18, at 7 p.m. with callbacks, if necessary, on Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. at The Phipps Center for the Arts in Hudson, Wis.

“The Fox on the Fairway” is a tribute to the great English farces of the 1930s and ‘40s.  It takes audiences on a hilarious romp, which begins at the Quail Valley Country Club as it prepares to take on archrival Crouching Squirrel in the Annual Inter-Club Golf Tournament. With a sizable wager at stake, the contest plays out amidst three different love affairs, a disappearing diamond, objectionable sweaters, and an exploding vase. The play is a madcap adventure about love, life, and man’s eternal love affair with golf.

Director Denise Baker is looking for actors to play the following roles:

• Justin: about 25, an offbeat, sweet, and anxious bundle of nerves

• Louise: about 23, good natured and a little ditzy

• Henry Bingham: mid-40s, executive director of the Quail Valley Country Club

• Pamela: about 39, beautiful, tanned, and very sophisticated

• Dickie Bell: mid-40s, executive director of the Crouching Squirrel Country Club

• Muriel: mid-40s, a woman with a strong personality, takes no guff from anyone

Rehearsals will be held Sunday through Thursday evenings and occasionally on Saturday mornings, beginning March 3. Eleven performances will be given from April 11 through May 4 on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., as well as Sundays at 2 p.m. (not April 20) on the main stage.

All auditioning should come prepared to read from the script, which will be available at 5 p.m. each evening. Those auditioning should also bring a photo and resume, if they have one, and a list of conflicts they may have during the rehearsal period.

This is Baker’s first time directing at The Phipps. Among the shows she has staged are “Suessical the Musical” for St. Croix Festival Theatre as well as “Steel Magnolias,” “South Pacific,” and “Nunsense” for Willow River Players. Baker is also a choreographer and actor in the Twin Cities area and a longtime member of the Lev Mailer Actors Studio.

For further information, contact the center at 715-386-2305.

 Stand-up comedy class starts on March 3

A stand-up comedy class will be offered by Scott Novotny on Mondays, March 3 – 24, 7-8:30 p.m., culminating in a special showcase on Tuesday, March 25 at 7:30 p.m. at The Phipps Center for the Arts in Hudson, Wis.

Novotny has been a professional comedian for more than  30 years. Besides numerous national television appearances, Novotny is also a former company member at Dudley Riggs’ Brave New Workshop, appeared at the Minnesota State Fair and The Corn Palace, is an award-winning writer, and was the founder and artistic director of The Comedy Cabaret, the first comedy club in Minnesota. He has also taught improvisation and stand-up comedy classes for over 30 years as well. Graduating from Gustavus Adolphus College, Novotny majored in theater/speech and English, and has directed and acted in numerous theatrical and film productions.

The fee is $115 and registrations may be made by mailing the fee to The Phipps Center, 109 Locust Street, Hudson, WI 54016. Enrollments may also be made by calling 715-386-2305 or going online and charging the fee to Visa, MasterCard, or Discover. A $5 processing fee will be charged to all phone, mail, and online orders.