WHERE COULD SHE BE?: Avery Wilson, Lakein Bell and Scotty Hamilton, left to right, rehearse a scene from the upcoming Southwestern Schools production of “Miss Nelson Is Missing!” at Southwestern Elementary School on Tuesday. The play will be presented Saturday at the school. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
WHERE COULD SHE BE?: Avery Wilson, Lakein Bell and Scotty Hamilton, left to right, rehearse a scene from the upcoming Southwestern Schools production of “Miss Nelson Is Missing!” at Southwestern Elementary School on Tuesday. The play will be presented Saturday at the school. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
The newly reformed Southwestern Schools drama department will hold a one-time public showing of its spring comedy production.

"Miss Nelson is Missing!" will be performed for third-graders at Southwestern Elementary School today before the public performances on Saturday at 5 p.m.

The play is based on a children's book.

Nikki Hollis is restarting the new program and hopes this first play is a building block into regular performances.

"We chose this play because we wanted to produce something relatively simple and fun. Because it has been so long since Southwestern has presented a full-length play, we had to choose something that younger and more inexperienced actors could perform. It is a good play to use as a first step," Hollis said.

The play will feature students from elementary school through high school. The age differences, Hollis said, presented a few challenges.

"There are some challenges involved in having such an age range, but it helps having such great students in the cast. The older cast members are ready to help the younger ones, and they help each other, too."

"Miss Nelson is Missing!" is about a teacher who can't keep control of her classroom because she is too nice. But when she disappears, her replacement is the hard-as-nails, substitute teacher Viola Swamp. With the big test approaching, the students suddenly realize how much they miss Miss Nelson.

The cast includes: Coragen Stevens as Miss Nelson/Miss Swamp; Elizabeth Moreland as Principal Humleker; Matt Hedges as Detective McSmogg; Scotty Hamilton as Raymond; Katie Desch as Phoebe; Avery Wilson as George Jorgenson Jr.; Ashley Carter as Lavita; Lakein Bell as Mouse/Morris; and Gabriel Smith as Elvis.

Tickets are $5 for adults and $2 for those 18 and younger with a valid school ID. The play will be shown in Southwestern Elementary School's cafeteria.