As ‘Fern,’ Ellie Karasch gets to save ‘Wilbur’ the pig

by Dennis Dalman

After performing as a ghoul in “Tom Sawyer” and a giant gemstone in “Aladdin,” Ellie Karasch is happy to play a character named Fern Arable, a girl her own age who lives in the modern world.

Karasch is one of 11 Sartell residents who have roles in the GREAT Theatre production of the classic “Charlotte’s Web,” which opened March 1 and will run through March 10 at the Paramount Theatre in St. Cloud. There are 42 local people in the musical play.

“This show is really exciting and fun to be in,” Karasch said. “There’s a lot of comedy in it, too.”

This is Karasch’s second acting job for GREAT Theatre. Last November, she performed as one of the townspeople in “A Christmas Carol.” She fell in love with acting and theater when she was a third-grader with roles in “Aladdin” and “Tom Sawyer.”

Although math is the favorite subject for the Sartell Middle School sixth-grader, acting is definitely her favorite hobby.

“It takes time to learn my lines, but other people, like my mom, help me learn them,” Karasch said. “We’ve been practicing for about six weeks. I know from being in those other plays that I will be nervous probably for the first five minutes when the play opens, but after that it will be fine.”

The role of Fern Arable is one of the top three or four roles in “Charlotte’s Web.” Karasch has solo parts in three songs and sings along with the group in other songs.

“In the play, Fern stops her father, John Arable, from butchering the pig, Wilbur,” Karasch said.

Ellie is the daughter of Jay and Stacy Karasch. She has a younger brother and two younger sisters. All were in the audience when the play opened March 1.

Other Sartell residents who have roles in “Charlotte’s Web” are Carter Bright, a third grader; Mathieu Jobin, a fourth-grader; Jillian Lawson, a ninth-grader; Brooklyn Madden, an eighth-grader; Megan Mechelke, a 6th-grader; Anya Overlien, a fifth-grader; Amber Pietrowski, a 5th-grader, Ava Bea Radeke, a first-grader; Grace Radecke, a fourth-grader; and Axel Stephens, a preschooler.

The production

Show times for “Charlotte’s Web” are at 7 p.m. Friday, March 8; 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, March 9; and 2 p.m. Sunday, March 10.

The musical is directed by Jon Legg with help from music director Bobbi Foot, choreographer Megan Potter, costume designer Brigid Borka and set designer Michael Horejsi.

Songs in the play include “Eating,” “Who Says We Can’t Be Friends?,” and “Welcome to the Zuckerman Barn.”

The musical version of “Charlotte’s Web” is based on a novel by that name written by E.B. White and published to instant fame in 1952. It is the story of a pig named Wilbur and his friendship with a spider named Charlotte. The play is filled with colorful characters, both animal and human.

For ticket information, go online to or call the Paramount Theatre box office at 259-5463.

Dennis Dalman

Dennis Dalman

Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.
Dennis Dalman
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