Down Art Avenue: Jacksonville State grads share their abilities
by Hervey Folsom
Special to The Star
Oct 01, 2013 | 1078 views |  0 comments | 34 34 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Laughter and learning. Two Jacksonville State University graduates share their ability this fall to create these values. And what greater assets can be provided in today’s living? Mike Stedham’s gift to write mystery/comedy plays continues, as seen in the next Junior League dinner theater production, “Dyed Blonde” and it motivates us to solve the mystery. Pat Hagan’s postcard collection of this area, including Jacksonville scenes, sparks our curiosity about the university town’s history; it’s an inspiration to explore more about early facts.

Stedham, a JSU graduate, has now written his seventh mystery play and he hopes seven is a lucky number with audiences appeal.

In Chinese culture, the number seven has another meaning: good relationships. But in “Dyed Blonde” this remains to be seen. The women are having a hard time liking each other.

The play will be at the Anniston Country Club Oct. 24 and 25 with a silent auction at 6:30 p.m. followed by dinner and the show. Tickets are $50 per person.

Linda Lee, Shannon Bolton and Lana Hurst from Jacksonville captured for roles in this production. Lee is Dr. Jameson, the drama teacher from a nearby college, Hurst is Detective Beckett, and Bolton is Cherie, one of the party guests.

Stedham feels good, he said, about this all-female cast (including the rookie police officers) and the visual, action-packed humor the women depict as the puzzle unfolds. The girls at NJ’s Halloween party are having horribly bad luck, it seems: they have all chosen the same costume. They appear, all at once, as Marilyn Monroe. Creative schemes follow in order to win the costume prize (for $300) in any way possible. But is it worth a murder?

“There are some really good lines in this, it’s a funny show” Stedham said, “And the actors are enjoying themselves in the process.” And another interesting feature: The party guests’ names represent name roles that Monroe played in her career.

For tickets (they are going fast, so buy them as soon as possible) and more information, visit Stedham is reaching more and more audiences with his plays. He is glad to report that Sacred Heart High School will present “Murder by the Book” Nov. 16 at 7 p.m.

Pat Hagan’s post cards

Pat Hagan graduated from JSU in 1969 in Business Administration, but his field now in retirement might as well be communication. He communicates an interest in area history with his post cards that deals with venues. He lived in Anniston in a different time, he said, and saw some of the special sights that now are only pictured in the history books, such as “Calhoun County Memories”, published by The Anniston Star. He is a contributor, one of many, that sent in photos and a few postcard copies to this book of early Anniston’s landscape and story.

Hagan, now an Atlanta resident, is an eye –witness to the 1950s and 1960s in Anniston: He saw movies at Noble Theatre, which was originally the Opera House, and he passed by the elegant First Presbyterian Church on Quintard Avenue many times before it was torn down. “Yes, Anniston was a different place then,” he recalled, appreciating people and places he remembers.

People, in fact, are the centerpieces for some of his post cards because a card could be made from a photograph of one person, or a group. “There was a man on Noble Street that would snap your picture. You could go back in a few hours, then you could get the photographed card,” Hagan recalls. The messages on the cards were interesting, too but there was little room for long handwritten sentiments.

“We’re going to be shipped out tomorrow,” one card says. “Thanks for the cigars,” another communicates, “But how is Howard?” These are the mysteries, Hagan said. “It makes you wonder what’s behind the messages.”

“Calhoun County Memories” is a pictorial history of the town and can be purchased in the Anniston Star lobby.
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