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story.lead_photo.caption The Theatre for Young Audience Series organized by the Texarkana Regional Arts and Humanities Council presents "Miss Nelson Has a Field Day" Wednesday at the Perot Theatre. (Submitted photo)

TEXARKANA, Texas — See how the Smedley Tornadoes school football team turns it around with a performance of "Miss Nelson Has a Field Day" Wednesday at the Perot Theatre.

Part of the Theatre for Young Audience Series organized by the Texarkana Regional Arts and Humanities Council, "Miss Nelson Has a Field Day" shows at 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

Local school districts are signed up to see the show, but the public can buy tickets, too. Tickets are expected to be available for both shows, which are geared to students in kindergarten through 4th grade.

Alisha Tarbill, TRAHC's TYA coordinator and education coordinator, explains that the play is based on a book of the same name by Harry Allard and James Marshall. Elementary school students often read it. This adaptation, which comes to town via the Dallas Children's Theater's national tour, is a musical.

"It will be a lot of fun, singing and entertaining humor to bring out the story points," Tarbill said, adding, "The story is going to focus a lot on teamwork and attitude, discipline — how that can change the outcome of what you're trying to do."

Such lessons are useful for the Smedley Tornadoes team because they've never won a game — "or even scored a single point in a game," Tarbill said. "The team is, of course, downtrodden, has lost confidence and pretty much just given up on themselves completely."

Viola Swamp, dubbed "the meanest substitute in the whole world" by students, becomes the coach and takes over the football team. She's Miss Nelson's alter ego. "She uses her stern disciplinary ways to kind of instill a different set of skills," Tarbill said. The students are shown how hard work and determination can accomplish things.

"By the end of the story, they turn everything around and they manage to win the biggest game of the year after having never even scored a point," Tarbill said. "It's a fun, engaging show. It's going to have a lot of humor."

Along with the fun, the musical teaches something to the students. Last year, Dallas Children's Theater brought "Diary of a Worm, a Spider & a Fly" to the Perot.

The playwright and composer, Joan Cushing, is the same for this book adaptation. This musical is a sequel to "Miss Nelson is Missing."

(Admission: $7. To buy tickets, contact Alisha Tarbill, TYA coordinator and education assistant, at 903-792-8681 or [email protected] Tickets can also be purchased at the Perot box office on the day of the show. More info: TRAHC.org.)

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