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One-woman play 'Hephzibeth' at ITOW Museum Sunday

Brainerd Lakes-area actress Lauren Nickisch will present her one-woman play, "Hephzibeth, Woman of Iron" this Sunday, July 25 at 7 p.m. in Perham's ITOW Veterans Museum.

Written by Nickisch, the play is based upon the life of a northern Minnesota pioneer woman named Hephzibeth Jewett Merritt.

In the fall of 1856, Hephzibeth arrived at the head of the Great Lakes, pioneering the forested wilderness with her husband and eight boys. Together, they helped to shape what eventually became the city of Duluth. Her sons sealed the fate of northern Minnesota with their discovery of the Mesabi Iron Range, and it is in the troubled times following this discovery that "Hephzibeth, Woman of Iron" takes place.

On the day her sons lose the Mesabi to John D. Rockefeller, Hephzibeth, matriarch of the family at the age of 84, tries to shore up the spirits of her granddaughter, Ruth. She shares stories of her youth and her struggles of the early days in Oneota (now West Duluth), hoping to help Ruth through this time of crisis.

Hephzibeth recounts a midnight cutter ride across the ice of St. Louis Bay to assist a sick neighbor many miles away. She tells of the impact Indians had on her life and how death affected her family. As the discovery of the iron on the Mesabi is woven into her tale, the audience discovers the strength and courage that is Hephzibeth Merritt.

Lauren Nickisch is a professional actress, playright and music educator from the Brainerd Lakes area. Performing in over seventy productions her favorite roles include Mother Superior in "Nunsense," Mama Rose in "Gypsy," and Miss Hannigan in "Annie."

The ITOW Veterans Museum is located at 805 West Main in Perham. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. For reservations, call 218-346-7678.