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A play with a lot of heart

As the bad DJ might say, this winter's Rosemount High School play is one for the ladies.

Director Thom Hoffman said it was the large number of good roles for girls was one of the major factors in his decision to choose Cherie Bennett's John Lennon and Me. More than half the 13-member cast is female, and most are playing teenagers, something that isn't always easy to find.

One of those girls, Alex West, is on stage nearly the entire show. She plays Star, a girl with cystic fibrosis whose been sent to Heart House, a home for children with terminal diseases. West narrates the show, frequently stopping reality to speak directly to the audience, and uses her imagination to make the world around her more interesting.

Hoffman knew the show would demand a lot of whoever played Star and he said West has done a great job.

"She's been a dream," he said. "When you've got a student who comes in and she has 70 percent of the lines in the show and she's the first one off book, you've got a winner."

Star's new roommate is is Courtney (Heather Jackson) a pretty, popular cheerleader who at first has nothing in common with Star. The pair get to know each other, though, and ultimately learn a little something about life.

There is sadness in the show -- the average life expectancy for someone with cystic fibrosis is 25, though, as she points out early on, Star is anything but average -- but Hoffman said the show also has a good sense of humor.

"It has that real sense of sadness, but at the same time there's a lot of heart to it and that's because (Star) is such a smart aleck."

The rest of the cast is made up of Kayla Day, Stephen Sawyer, Katie Anderson, Courtney Marti, Krysta Hovendon, Zach Zaboj, Alyssa Weinstein, Cory McMenomy, Jesse Webb, Samantha Herrick and Alex Mattson.

John Lennon and me will be on stage at the RHS performing arts center 7 p.m. Feb. 19, 20 and 21, and at 2 p.m. Feb. 22. For tickets call 651-423-7540 or go to