- Last Updated on 07:32 AM 06/22/12
- BY Special to the Gazette
Chris Jones, artistic director at The Prizery and director of Summer Theatre Celebration’s three shows, has assembled a varied and talented cast to once again entertain theatre patrons over the summer.
With the professional actors being chosen from the Southeastern Theatre Conference professional auditions, Jones held an open call audition to choose local talent to complete the casting.
In addition to the previously announced profession cast, the local cast includes Gracie Berneche, Dylan Berry, Michael Berry, Anna Bishop, Sarah Brogden, Elisabeth Brogden, Shane Brogden, Gracie Coe, Mary Coe, Joy Coe, Morgan Epperson, Stephanie Flowers, Caleb Flowers, Erin Glass, Madelyn Haskett, Daniel Haskett, Courtlyn Hawkins, Abby Hill, Katie Holland, Megan Irby, Christpher Long, Shanay Massimi, Mary McLaughlin, Victoria Montes-Bradley, Gavin Oaks, Kara Oaks, Mason Powell, Hunter Powell, Christian Roach, Lily Savage, Abby Schleiffer, Colby Seamons, Mikaela Skelton, Emily Slayton, Evan Snead, Lydia Snead, Henry Stevens, Shoshana Stowe, Ade Tate and Katherine White.
The local cast is a diverse mixture of people. Some have vast theatre experience, while others are appearing on stage for the first time; some are very young, and some are adults. They also hail from all over the region.
Many have appeared in previous Summer Theatre Celebration productions and cite those experiences as major motivation to continue acting. A few even aspire to become theatre professionals in the future.
Mikeala Skelton, assuming the role of Druzilla in Cinderella, credits The Prizery’s Summer Theatre Celebration with giving her the opportunity to experience professional theatre from the inside.
“I never had the opportunity to participate in a full-blown musical until I joined the cast of Annie as Duffy two summers ago. Last summer Elizabeth Telford and Nick Albrecht were both so kind to me. I usually ended up in the middle of the two groups and it was Elizabeth and Nick who made me feel like one of the professionals. They included me and encouraged me, Nick making me laugh and Elizabeth giving me hugs and comfort. I’m going to miss them both this summer, but I’m very excited to meet the new cast members coming in,” Skelton said.
Lydia Snead, cast as Grandma in Cinderella, is also quick to point out the value of her experiences in last year’s productions of “The Sound of Music” and “Suessical the Musical.”
“I learned very much from the professionals and came out of my shell a bit more as an actress. Without the experience, I think it’s safe to say that I wouldn’t be as comfortable onstage as I am today,” Snead said.
While not everyone intends to become a professional actor, many still cherish their time on stage and look forward to another great summer at The Prizery.
Emily Slayton, cast as a daughter in Cinderella, fondly remembers her experience in “The Sound of Music.”
“I became great friends with Cat Wheelehan, LaShonda Brown, and Brittani Copeland. At first I was nervous because I had missed the first 2 weeks of rehearsal, didn’t know any of the Latin, and was not very confident in my singing. But when we all sang together, they encouraged me to speak up and sing louder. I never felt left out. I felt like I was part of the group,” Slayton said.
Many of the other members of the local cast also expressed excitement to be included this summer.
Evan Snead said, “The best thing about being included in Summer Theatre Celebration is meeting new people and making friends.”
Erin Glass is looking forward to her role as the bad girl in Cinderella, “I am planning to explore some of my true feelings with this character! I love everything about being on stage and in the lights.”
When asked about the blending of professional and local actors, Jones quickly points out that the paramount reason is to build a ‘theatrical community’ where our young, local talent can be fostered and taught by the professionals, “Our local actors gain so much from working with the professionals every summer and that education isn’t limited to their on stage performances. They are learning to be more professional in every aspect of the theatrical production process—getting an education that many don’t get until much later in life. It really is impossible to measure the benefit this provides our youth.”
The Red, White & Blue Fundraising Gala performances are July 5 and 6 at 7:30 p.m. and July 7 at 3 p.m.
Performances of “Godspell” are July 12, 13, 19, 20, 21 at 7:30 p.m. and July 14, 15, 18, 21 at 3 p.m.
Tickets for all shows are on sale now and are available at The Prizery Box Office at 700 Bruce St., South Boston, by phone at 434-572-8339 and online at www.prizery.com.