Beth Selinger grew up in New York and attended a performing arts school with aspirations of working in theater.
She moved from coast to coast following her dream, perfecting her talents by acting in plays and even in a movie, "Day of the Locust," in the 1970s.
At age 18 she was married and at age 21 she found herself widowed and pregnant with her first child. Her husband was a police officer in Phoenix who was killed in the line of duty, leaving his wife and unborn daughter alone.
Every time Selinger saw a patrol car driving down the road she got upset, overcome with emotion at the thought of losing her first true love.
"To the Castle" featured Jim Kingsley as the central character, the pig's sty warden. Kingsley, in his acting debut, looked on while the pigs snacked on corn.
"I had to get away from it all," she said.
So she packed her bags and moved to Michigan to be near friends.
Years later, Selinger found herself back in Phoenix where she met Dan Selinger. Dan, a Little Falls native, pestered Beth to go out with him until Beth finally gave in and agreed to challenge him in a pingpong tournament. And the rest was history.
In March the couple will celebrate their 21st wedding anniversary. Dan and Beth Selinger live in Randall and attend Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Baxter where Beth is continuing her passion for drama by starting a theater ministry.
The knights, although a little uncoordinated, raised their swords in defense of the castle. The knights were played by Dick Sundberg (left), Todd Holman and Hawk Hawkinson.
What started as directing a few scenes to accompany the pastor's liturgy has turned into a calling for Selinger. She started Acts of Faith, a drama group that performs vignettes for the church.
"(Acts of Faith) has been really successful ... the church seems excited about the idea of a theater ministry," Selinger said. "It helps bring the word to life."
Recently, Lord of Life Pastor Darrell Pedersen approached Selinger about broadening her ministry to larger productions and suggested having a dinner theater featuring the musical "To the Castle."
"To the Castle" is a musical about people's purpose in God's kingdom, Selinger said. The characters portray rich and poor people, ranging from royalty to pig sty wardens, who send the message that everyone has a special place in the world.
With the help of the church's music director, Selinger agreed to direct the production. She cast 22 people from Lord of Life and after six weeks of rehearsing they performed three shows in front of sell-out crowds.
"I was shocked at the response. I didn't know what to expect," Selinger said.
A fourth show was scheduled, but the Sunday night performance was canceled because of the snowstorm. To make up for the canceled performance, three more shows will be performed in January.
After more than 30 years of working in theater, Selinger feels she finally found her niche at Lord of Life.
"I'm able to give back to God what He gave to me," she said of using her talents to spread the word of God. "I feel so blessed to be given the opportunity."
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