Saturday, April 16, 2011

Terrific Opening Night!

A packed house at the Vanity Theater gave the cast of the Sugar Creek Players' production of To Kill a Mockingbird a warm reception, and in turn, the cast turned in a terrific opening night performance Friday.

Only a stalled train blocking the tracks in downtown Crawfordsville could slow the start of our show. But even starting a few minutes late, Niki Hutson (Jean Louise), Sammie Amidon (Scout), and the entire cast got off to a fast start and never looked back.

Having rehearsed the show for so long, all of us involved had grown accustomed to the dialogue, and so when the audience laughed or applauded, it caught us a bit off guard. But the energy from the audience was passed directly to the actors and the show was a remarkable success.

For people like Debbie Reed, Alex Livengood, Matt Mayberry, and many other cast members stepping on stage for the first time (in some cases the VERY first time and in others a VERY long time), the butterflies quickly flew off and each delivered memorable performances.

It's hard to single out just a few of the 27 actors in the show; I couldn't be more proud of all of them. I take my hat off for Sammie, Conner Smith, and Trey Rogers — ages 11-13. They're Vanity veterans who have combined for about 20 theatrical roles, but acting in an all-adult play with such serious, heavy themes, they shined brightly. The began rehearsals in the library at Wabash College back in February, and that hard work really paid off.

Sue Rubner — one of the sweetest women I've met in years — transforms herself into Mrs. Dubose, who is one of the angriest, bitter women I've met in years. What a performance!

And while Clayton Mikesell has only one line — "Miss Jean Louise, will you take me home?" — he certain sold the part and was one of the most talked-about actors after the show.

Anchoring it all was Damon Lincourt's incredible performance as Atticus, razor-sharp from start to finish. After the show, he looked positively drained. But I stole a glimpse of him in the lobby after most of the crowd had left. There he was, standing with children Victoria and Ben, smiling. And so were the kids, whose pride in their father was clearly evident.

Tickets are still available for Saturday night's performance, as well as Sunday's matinee and all three shows next weekend. Call 765-362-7077 to reserve your seats now.

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