This fall, CAST season subscribers are in for a season of comedy, drama, music, romance and imagination. Viewers will witness a wide range of moments in theater. Directors, choreographers and music directors from recent productions decided on plays and musicals, most of them classics, that can share talented actors, interesting plots and the work of many hands in stagecraft with the community.
From the world of high society, to a make-believe candy factory, to a friendship with an invisible rabbit, to a Southern family that must survive its grief, these stage works hold a mirror to the issues of today. In fact, we recognize ourselves in these situations as our life’s journey continues. The works instruct as they tell their stories. But always, they entertain.
With the dates of the productions to be announced later, here is CAST’s line-up for the 2018-19 season:
• “My Fair Lady” by Lerner and Loewe. Hailed on Broadway as magnificent musical theater with a glorious score and large-scale success, both critically and financially. The characters and songs are unforgettable. Eliza Doolittle’s songs are expertly tailored to her changing character, from the Cockney “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly” to the angry “Just You Wait” to the polished celebration of “I Could Have Danced All Night” and finally to the independent declaration “Without You.” Two other favorites are “Get Me to the Church on Time” and, sung by Professor Higgins, “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face.”
• “Steel Magnolias,” a drama revolving around a strong bond of friendship among six Southern women and how they help one of the six survive the heartache of her daughter’s death.
• “Willie Wonka Jr.,” presented by CAST Kidz. A mysterious candy manufacturer holds a contest by hiding golden tickets in five of his candy bars. The ticket finders will have a free tour of his candy factory. Four out of the five winners are brats; Charlie, accompanied by his grandfather, is a likable, good boy. A colorful production with a more than one moral.
• “A Raisin in the Sun,” a drama for Black History Month about human aspiration, relationships, bonds and conflicts between old ways and new. It portrays a few weeks in the life of the Youngers, an African-American family living on the South Side of Chicago in the 1950s. The Youngers are about to receive an insurance check for $10,000 from the deceased Mr. Younger’s life insurance policy. Each of the adults has an idea of what to do with the money. The Youngers clash over their ideas, but eventually move out of their apartment into a better dwelling and vow to stick together as a family. Even so, the future seems slightly dangerous.
Mike Stedham, who is directing CAST’s “My Fair Lady,” studied “A Raisin in the Sun” in class when at Jacksonville State University. “It is hugely influential,” he said.
The play’s title is a reference to a poem by Langston Hughes: “What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?”
• “The Lion King Jr.” by CAST Kidz. Offering a musical education in performing to kids involved, it is about a young lion prince in Africa who is destined to become king.
• “Harvey,” a classic written in 1945, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning play. To Elwood P. Dowd, man’s best friend is not a dog but a 6-foot-tall rabbit. Harvey the rabbit is imaginary (or is he real?) and is always by Dowd’s side — and must be included in all of Dowd’s sister Veta’s social gatherings. This is too much for Veta. To avoid embarrassment for her family and especially for her young daughter, Myrtle Mae, Veta decides to have Dowd committed to a sanitarium.
• “Mama Mia” is a modern musical classic about a wedding that is about to take place. Sophie’s dream is to be led down the aisle by her father. But her mother, Donna, brought her up as a single parent and Sophie doesn’t know who her father is. She has thumbed through her mother’s diary and discovered that three men were involved in Donna’s life before her birth. She invites these three men to the wedding, hoping to find an answer to her question.
In other CAST news, the community theater’s annual Randy Awards are being planned with Emily Duncan as coordinator. Watch for an update in a near-future column. Art camps are on the calendar, too, in conjunction with JSU’s theater camps.
Etowah Youth Orchestras new season
The live performance moments continue with Etowah Youth Orchestras concerts for next season. They include the EYO Fall Formal Concert on Nov. 4 at 2 p.m., the EYO Rock & Roll Christmas Concert on Dec. 15 at 7 p.m., and the EYO Spring Formal Concert on May 5, 2019, at 2 p.m.
All of these concerts will be held at the Wallace Hall Fine Arts Center on the campus of Gadsden State Community College.
Also, the Symphony in the Schools Concert is planned for Jan. 25, at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. The 1 p.m. performance will be at Ivalee Elementary School in Attalla.
Hervey Folsom writes about the local arts scene every Sunday. Contact her at email@example.com.