Darrell Farmer is a local actor returning to the stage this weekend in CAST’s production of “Mamma Mia” at the JSU Theatre at McClellan, 100 Gamecock Drive in Anniston. He plays Harry Bright, a wealthy Englishman who is one of three men who are potentially the biological father of Sophie Sheridan. “Mamma Mia” runs tonight-Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors/military and $10 for students. Tonight is pay-what-you-can night. Tickets can be bought at the door or online at CastAlabama.com.
How did you get into acting? When my family moved to Hokes Bluff in 1979, I started out in the junior high drama club. I was in the eighth grade, and my teacher was Mrs. Debbie Landers. I remember a play she wrote based off of the TV series “Dallas” back when JR was shot. We performed it for competitions and won first place. I was “Baby Don” and had to play in a playpen. I think I was the one who shot my dad “RJ.” After the ninth grade, I started focusing more on my grades, and left the drama club.
Tell us about your first performance after school. A friend of mine asked me for help with their community theater group in a musical called “Oklahoma.” Theatre of Gadsden became the stepping stone that I was looking for. I got to play a dual role in my first show as a cowboy and farmer. It was a lot of fun, and at each rehearsal, the director started giving me more lines and more things to do.
Give us an overview of “Mamma Mia.” “Mamma Mia” is a story based off of the timeless hit songs from the music group ABBA. It is about a young woman’s search for her birth father, which takes place on a Greek island paradise. On the eve before her wedding, her three potential fathers from her mother’s past show up to the island they all last visited 21 years ago. The songs from ABBA propel this tale of love, laughter and friendship into an unforgettable show with big dance numbers and some very touching scenes. Bring some tissues!
Tell us about your role, Harry Bright. Harry Bright is a very wealthy banker from England who had a spontaneous love affair with Donna Sheridan — played by my very dearest friend Juli Christensen — and could possibly be the biological father to Sophie Sheridan. He has a big secret he reveals at the wedding. Harry sings, plays guitar and dances very well. It has been a challenge for me personally to learn to play the guitar, and this is my first time to sing in a standout role, but I certainly love speaking with a British accent.
How did you become involved with CAST? My good friend from Theatre of Gadsden told me about CAST and said I should audition for them. I was cast in the ensemble role of “Caveman Ancestor” as well as “DEATH” in “The Addams Family Musical.” Since then, I have been in “Baskerville” (for which I won a Randy Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Play), “Young Frankenstein,” “Arsenic and Old Lace” (in which I won another Randy Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play), “The Wiz” and recently “A Raisin in the Sun.”
Tell us about other projects you are involved in. “On Places Thin” is an indie film by Gathering Stones Production that was filmed in Alabama. It is a sci-fi thriller in which I play a refugee warrior named Ian Magnus. Not too much I can say about it at this time due to it still being in production, but I believe it will be released this year or maybe 2020.
I have done two television commercials.
I have also done background acting for a feature film called “Hour of Lead” in which I got pulled to “feature background” and got to work in a few scenes with the three lead actors of the movie. All three were really great to work with, as well as the director who was also in the movie.
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