Musical comes to Dixie tomorrow

Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Tribune photos by Karen Hall The future brides, seated on the stage of the Dixie Theatre, have just been kidnapped by brothers desperate for female company at their farm in the Oregon wilderness.

By Karen Hall

Staff Writer

Marshall County students will be singing, dancing and acting their hearts out when "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" opens at the Dixie Theatre tomorrow night at 7 p.m.

The show will be repeated Friday, Saturday, Monday and Tuesday nights, and Sunday afternoon, so there's no excuse for not finding time to go see this outstanding production.

At the dress rehearsal Monday night, director Alva Cavnar complemented her cast.

"It was really smooth," she said. "The orchestra sounded so good."

The six-piece orchestra, under the direction of Elise Dumser, filled the little orchestra pit in front of the stage and produced an excellent accompaniment to the many songs and dance numbers.

There was to be one more practice before opening night, giving a chance to perfect the sound effects and get Julie Plott's dancers to be a little "softer on your feet." Cavnar cautioned her cast of high school and middle school students that "the curtain does not drown the sound" so they have to be quiet on stage waiting for the curtain to open. She also reminded them, "If you are on the stage - you are in character."

They've been rehearsing since the first week of January, said Alison Mulliniks, president of the theatre. Some parents were inside the theatre, taking pictures of the cast, but many more were parked on the square, as they have been on many nights since the beginning of the year, waiting to take their talented young people home.

Dayrin Jones plays Adam Pontipee, the first brother to get married, and Emma Butt is Milly, his bride. Their singing and acting is first class. Jones, especially, has a voice that deserves an audience beyond the confines of Marshall County.

"You didn't tell me you had brothers," exclaims Milly when Adam brings her home to his Oregon frontier cabin and introduces brothers Benjamin, Caleb, Daniel, Ephraim, Frank and Gideon.

Soon she is polishing their rough edges, getting them ready to court girls of their own, but a visit to town ends in a fight and they are no better off than before. The boys kidnap the girls and carry them back to their mountain home. An avalanche cuts off the pursuing townspeople, but it also cuts off access to the preacher they need to make their unions legal.

When spring comes, Milly has Adam's baby, and when the boys decide they should return the girls to town, the girls don't want to go. In the end, quarrels are made up, all the couples are legally married, and they live happily ever after.

Many people will remember the 1954 musical film of "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers," directed by Stanley Donen, with music by Saul Chaplin and Gene de Paul, and lyrics by Johnny Mercer. The script is based on the short story "The Sobbin' Women," by Stephen Vincent Benét, which was based in turn on the ancient Roman legend of the rape of the Sabine women. The film was a 1954 Oscar nominee for Best Picture, starring Howard Keel and Jane Powell, and was notable for its ambitious and unusual choreography.

In addition to Jones and Butt, the Lewisburg cast includes Bradford Pippen, Erik Martin, Austin Poarch, Chance Shrum, Robbie Karban, Jonathan Salinas, Alexia White, MeKell Sain, Sophia Smith, Hannah Cross, Cassidy Primm, Madison Newberry, O'Shay Foreman, Brett Poarch, Lee Hamilton, Pablo Salinas, Andrew Rogers, Laramie Plott, Mark Mitchell, Will Wallace, Peyton Brown, Adrienne Carden, Callie Johnson, Madeline Lewis, Cassye Marsh, Amy Perez, Sara Mitchell, Savannah Gipson, Tiffany Stanford, Brooklynn Brown, Jaime May, Gracie Butt, Lacey Hamilton, Jenna Edwards, and Laura Beth Brown.