'Broadway' set to open this weekend at Dixie
"Broadway," a medley of musical shows, opens Thursday night in the Marshall County Community Theatre, offering an entertaining distraction from the Election Day blues on closing night for candidates' campaigns.
Rehearsals in the old Dixie movie house on Lewisburg's public square brought life back to the north side where director David Sanders has assembled a cast of more than 60 people for shows at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday.
Many of Lewisburg's best performers will present songs from "The Producers," "Spamalot," "Phantom of the Opera," "Rent," "Beauty and the Beast," "Hairspray," "Young Frankenstein," "Wicked," "Avenue Q," and "Next to Normal." The medley's musical directors are Elise Dumser and Debbie Logue. Choreography is by Julie Taylor Plott.
"It's an extravaganza of Broadway," says Nathan Dumser, an experienced thespian at the theatre. "The dancing is incredibly hard. You could be winded after a while."
Whipping his troupe into line last week, Sanders threatened, "I'm not coming opening night unless we've had a full rehearsal."
Keeping him away is as impossible as denying performer Sophie Smith's modesty when she describes herself as "just a singer/dancer" in "Broadway."
Finding a star in the show is as difficult as deciding which play is better, an issue discussed by Debbie Phelps during rehearsal last week.
"I don't like "Rent," but this is the best part," Phelps said.
"I don't like what Rent represents - the bohemian lifestyle - but the music is good," she said.
Then there's the epitome of ambition among the cast. Dayrin Jones, 15, a rising junior at Marshall County High School, auditioned July 17 for American Idol in Nashville where he sang "His Eye is on the Sparrow," a gospel hymn that addresses discouragement.
"They seemed to enjoy it, but said I'm not what they're looking for this summer," Jones said.
Jones, a baritone in the choir at True Vine Missionary Baptist Church in Columbia, waited 13 hours for his audition.
Meanwhile, Elaine Cagle, a familiar staffer at the community theatre, says she's "just a participant this time." That includes making posters for the play and enjoying the show.
"It's just a lot of fun to see how the parts come together," Cagle said of the many shows portrayed on the local stage.
So, from the frenetic mind of Mel Brooks, and his "Transylvania Mania," to Sanders' homage to Stephen Sondheim in celebration of the legend's 80th birthday, there's "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," "Sweeney Todd" and "Send in the Clowns," as well as a cast of dozens.
Cast members, staff and modest thespians include Harold August, Katelin Bailey, Charleigh Cagle, Elaine Cagle, Bill Carter, Monroe Carter, Alva Cavnar, Jennifer
Clement, Karla Cloutier, Luke Collins, Leah Cook, Betsy Craig, Hannah Cross, Elise Dumser, Evan Dumser, Lauren Dumser, Nathan Dumser, Jenna Edwards, Donald Faulkner, Patricia Faulkner, Rachel Faulkner, Rachel Graves, Ernie Hamilton, Barbara Hery, Jim Hery, Charles Hill, Ainsley Hulshof, Riley Humphrey, Tony Humphrey, Katie Jewell, Dayrin Jones, Kelsey Keny, Debbie Logue, Doug May, Robbie McDaniel, Karen McNutt, Allison Mulliniks, Kate Nash, Justin Neece, Ben Parks, Gene Douglas Parsons, Debbie Phelps, Kate Phelps, Annette Phillips, Nick Phillips, Cheyenne Plott, Cassidy Primm, David Sanders, Veronica Schultz, Sophie Smith, Pam Warhurst, Kyla Young and Victoria Young.