Artists in Action: Winter to feature the magic of theater
Nov 03, 2013 | 3108 views |  0 comments | 84 84 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Strange, wonderful and wild things happen in the midst of everyday life in theater plots and fairy tale stories. And there are always unexpected delights.

In mystery dinner theater, the delight comes when the audience solves the case. In fairy tales, no matter how wicked the witch or dreaded the dragon, good always wins the day. Both forms of entertainment are in the works in Calhoun County. “Murder by the Book” by Mike Stedham, a dinner theater at Sacred Heart School, is scheduled for Nov.16, and Jacksonville Opera Theatre’s “The Frog Prince” is in rehearsal, but has been the performance has been postponed until Jan. 25.

Mystery features Sacred Heart students

The call again goes out for sleuths to solve a murder — the reward is a night of fun figuring out who on stage is the culprit.

“Murder by the Book,” the sixth play by Mike Stedham, takes place in a small Southern town, where Buggs’ Bed and Breakfast is the gathering place for a writers’ conference. The assembled authors are terribly jealous of Nate (played by Jake Edwards), who has a published novel to his credit, and not long after Constance (Maddy Gohlke), president of the writers’ conclave, calls the meeting to order, Nate is murdered. But instead of being horrified, the writers delight in solving the puzzle and are inspired by the crime to write a whodunit.

The inn seems like just the right place to get ideas for a mystery for another reason: The inn keeper’s husband, Charlie (Kirstie Salers), hasn’t been seen in town for years, but his name keeps coming up in the conversations ... Does he exist, or not?

The play was presented in March by the Junior League of Anniston/Calhoun County. But director and Sacred Heart drama teacher Jenny Noble believes it works well for high-school actors, too.

“The play combines the best in theater,” she said. “It’s both hilarious and suspenseful, and lots of fun to perform.”

The performance is at 6 p.m. in the fine arts room at Sacred Heart School at McClellan, and the public is invited to attend, says Noble. Tickets are $20 per person and include dinner. Stop by the school’s front office by Nov. 14 to purchase tickets.

‘The Frog Prince’ re-scheduled for January

With the skills of 12 students in elaborate costumes and original music by JSU music professor Dr. James Woodward, Jacksonville Opera Theatre will present “The Frog Prince,” a new musical, at Wallace Hall in Gadsden at 3 p.m. Jan. 25. It was previously scheduled for Nov. 8-9 in JSU’s Performance Center.

The script was written by Melanie Martin Long of Kennesaw State University in Georgia. The musical is based on her adaptation of the Grimm Brothers tale about a prince cursed by a witch to live as a frog. The only way for the spell to be broken, as the story goes, is for a princess to fall in love with him. The Prince is just about to run out of time when he meets a princess — and a spoiled one, at that. But his problems aren’t over yet.

“This is family entertainment,” said Woodward. “We look forward to children and adults seeing the production in January.”

Everyone in the cast sings, and an orchestra contributes to a blend of musical styles that includes classical, tango rhythms and ballads. Directed by Nathan Wight, the musical lasts about an hour. Worth waiting for is the frog’s transformation into a prince on stage — in an instant.

Let Knox deck your halls

Deck the outdoors in a bright, beautiful array of greenery, pine cones and a big red velvet bow. Knox volunteers will spread a little Christmas cheer by coming by your home to festoon a mailbox, lamp post or porch rail, for a price. Toni Christopher is chair of the project and orders for decorations are already coming in.

For information on prices or to order, contact Mandi King at 256-235-2553.
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