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Tom Sawyer opens Friday at the Prizery
SoVaNow.com / November 14, 2012
“Ain’t Life Good”; the grammar might be a little off, but the sentiment is perfect. That is also the concept of Halifax County Little Theatre’s fall musical, “Tom Sawyer,” based on the Mark Twain classic and written by Ken Ludwig and Don Schlitz, two of Broadway’s best known writers.
The atmosphere in the Prizery’s Chastain Theater is definitely alive with the joy of music, dance, and fabulous story telling. Heading up the lively cast is first time director, Andy Rice. For several years, Andy has been working with theatre programs with the Prizery and HCLT, but this is the first time he has taken the reins of a total production.
Andy says that he was drawn to this production because it offers so many positive aspects for audiences. “There are toe tapping music, rousing dance numbers; and tender, tense, and dramatic moments. And a great story from Mark Twain.” He loves that the writers were able to create such a wonderful mix of modern music and presentation while remaining true to Twain’s material. The show features stories of first love, adventure, friendship, and family values, yet creates a serious dramatic plot centered on the villainous Injun Joe and a hidden treasure.
The cast is working hard to bring all the luster of a fine production to opening night. Rice admits being overwhelmed at times with the sheer amount of work it takes to see that all aspects of a production are coming together to create a complete performance.
Rice has insured that things will be ready on opening night by surrounding himself with experienced workers. Serving as stage managers are Ben Berneche and Robin Thompson, with Catherine Glass as producer. All have a long history of back stage experience that is needed in a large production.
Based on the energy level of the cast during rehearsals, audiences should leave the theatre with a melody in their heads and a genuine feeling of joy in their hearts. The musicians, singers, dancers, and actors have created a very exciting visual presentation. Rice indicates that he was pleased to find so many talented individuals in the area that have been so willing to give of their time to make this show special. He says he loves the tender moments of the show, such as when Aunt Polly sings a lullaby to Tom after he has a nightmare. He especially has worked to have the scene of the young people trapped in a cave with the murderous Joe as dramatic as possible.
The actors truly shine in this presentation as does the music created for it. Everyone who attends is sure to agree that this is a true American Classic told in the finest modern fashion.
If you are feeling a little worn out from political fatigue or simply want to forget the problems of the world for a few hours, make plans to attend “Tom Sawyer,” opening Friday, Nov. 16, at 7:30 p.m. Additional shows are set for Nov. 17, 23, 24, and 30, and Dec. 1, at 7:30 p.m. In addition, two matinee performances are set for Nov. 18 and 25 at 3 p.m.
Individual show tickets and season memberships are on sale now at the Prizery box office, at 572-8339, and groups of 15 or more can get group rates. Bring your whole family during the Thanksgiving weekend and witness all of the action. Andy and the cast have prepared something special for the holiday season. You too will be singing, “Ain’t Life Good.”
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