Cokato actor is back on stage at the Children’s Theatre

May 5, 2008

By Linda Scherer
Staff Writer

Todd Boger of Cokato is back on stage at the Children’s Theatre in Minneapolis.

He is performing in the play, “The Magic Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle,” which opened, April 25, and will run until the middle of June – a total of 80 performances.

By Boger’s count, this is his 26th play in his acting career which began in third grade.

While his classmates are trying to get their school courses completed before graduation Friday, May 23, Boger is on stage doing what he loves best – acting. He finished his major high school courses in February and has all of the credits he needs to graduate.

After four auditions beginning in June, Boger received the news in August that he was to play the part of nine-year-old Dick Thompson.

According to Boger, the theater gives the performers lots of notice to plan a year ahead so there are no scheduling conflicts once rehearsals begin.

Graduation this year was made possible for Boger because he was given enough time to work with Holy Trinity School to get the credits he needed for graduation before rehearsals started March 25.

He began taking his required classes online through a learning center in Cokato in October.

“I am at Holy Trinity very little now – about once a week. My teachers have been really great about it. I only have to do my electives – band, choir, and art.” Boger said. “One of my friends, who I have been in a couple of shows with, was not able to work ahead and has to graduate a year later.”

Rehearsals are six days a week. When the technical rehearsals began April 16, rehearsals were still six days a week, but went from six hours every day to 10 hour days.

“The Magic Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle,” is a musical and Boger is very excited about the opportunity to sing and dance “with some really fun songs.” He has been taking vocal lessons for about four years and ballet, jazz, and tap classes in Maple Grove for about six months.

He also sounds very impressed with the play itself.

“There are lots of really cool magic tricks and special effects. The set is amazing and the costumes and numbers are really cool,” Boger said.

The Play, “The Magic Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle,” was written in the 1940s by author Betty MacDonald. It revolves around Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle who lives in an upside down house with her pirate-husband.

She brings out the best in kids and grown-ups too. She is a wizard who has been dispensing her unique form of family problem-solving for decades.

“Dick Thompson (Todd Boger) doesn’t believe in any of the magic that Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle brings to these kids,” Boger said.

His favorite scene is in Act II after intermission. The kids are at Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle’s house and they are all depressed because it is raining and they can’t play outside.

“There is a song called Dreams where Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle tells us what dreams are. It is where my character is getting closer to believing in magic but then pulls back. I don’t want to give anything away, but the show has a happy ending,” Boger said.

Boger’s first professional play was the “Little Princess.” The play was in St. Cloud at the Paramount Theatre.

He was only in third grade at the time and describes the experience as a family show.

His parents, Paul and Barb Boger, had both done theater before.

“Because I couldn’t drive and my parents would have to drive me to rehearsal every single day, and performances, too, they decided to try out for parts, too,” Todd said.

His brother, Steve (a 2006 HT graduate), also got a part in the show.

“I did three shows in St. Cloud. Three of them my mom was in, my dad was in two, and Steve was in two,” Todd said.

While performing at the Children’s Theatre, he will sometimes stay overnight at his aunt’s in Minneapolis. It makes it easier to get to the theater and get ready for his part.

“When we get to the theater, we start physical and vocal warm-ups and we get into our costumes. Then there is makeup and wigs,” Todd said. “Everyone says I look like a miniature Elvis because I have this wig that is slicked back.”

The wig takes a long time because the actor’s hair has to be tucked back and then a nylon wig cap is put on. The wig is attached to the cap.

“The wig is glued to your face. They don’t take any chances having the wig come off when you’re dancing,” Todd said.

Although Todd is very busy in his current play, he has been making plans for his future.

After graduation, he is thinking about taking one year off to work at the Children’s Theatre doing an internship and possibly other various theaters.

“My passion for theater has grown since I was in ninth grade,” Todd said. “From there on, I have known what I need to do. I could find another job but I would never be as happy as I am doing this. I need to do this for a living. I won’t give up on my dreams.”

After his one year internship, he is planning to move down to Chicago with friends and go to college. His major? Theater, of course!

Tickets are available for The Magic Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle

The play began April 22 and will run until Sunday, June 15. Performances vary weekly, as well as Ticket prices.

If you are interested in attending, call The Children’s Theatre Company at (612) 874-0400 or e-mail at info@childrenstheatre.org.

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