Minnehaha Academy’s first spring musical takes stage following explosion

Nearly five years after an explosion, and two since the beginning of the pandemic, songs from the musical "Amelie" are filling up the theater at Minnehaha Academy.

Songs from the musical "Amelie" are filling up the theater at Minnehaha Academy after years of silence.

A portion of the building was damaged in a massive gas explosion in August 2017 that killed two people. 

"Trying to piece together the arts for these kids for several years has been hard… these kids have been through a lot. All they want to do is just tell their story," director of theatre and film studies Nicholas Freeman told FOX 9. 

The rebuilding of the school was complete in 2019, but the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the process of getting back on stage even further. 

The spring show has given two of the main characters, Matia and Mayah Ruiters, the opportunity to bond both as actors and as sisters. 

"This is my favorite place to be and I love everyone who is a part of it, regardless of where we are. I just think it’s really special that we get to be in such a beautiful place with such great people," Mayah said. 

It’s also been a chance for further healing after the blast. Their mother worked at the school and was one of the nine people hurt in the explosion, suffering a traumatic brain injury. 

"We watched it on the news and it popped up," Matia said. 

"That was scary because our mom was there, so we were afraid," Mayah said. 

Bringing the music back has been a healing process for not only the actors, but for the community as a whole, who continue to rebuild together. 

"We need, our community needs bright moments. We need bright spots we need that healing process through storytelling," Freeman said. 

The show runs Thursday night through Saturday night.