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‘Yours truly, Tom Dooley’ starts Friday

By Lacy HIlliard
A new take on a classic tale of love, murder and scandal is set to hit the Heritage Hall stage beginning on October 3 at 7:00 p.m.
“Yours Truly, Tom Dooley” is a new spin on a local classic that is guaranteed to leave audiences pondering what really happened on that fateful day in May so many years ago; a day when a young girl lost her life and a beloved ‘ladies man’ became an outcast. Written by accomplished local author Patti Clark and adapted for the stage by Lisa Zeggert, “Yours Truly, Tom Dooley” is certain inspire countless Google searches about the man, the myth and the legend.
The legend of Tom Dooley is etched as deeply in Appalachian folklore as Daniel Boone and because the crime occurred in 1866, many of the details surrounding it have long been lost to tall tales and individual interpretations of the evidence.
The legend of Tom Dooley refers to the story of Tom Dula, a farm hand and Confederate soldier that found himself at the center of a murder scandal so rich that even the New York Times made their way to his tiny Appalachian town to report on the happenings. Though Tom Dula lived in Wilkes County, the story has a distinct and factual tie to Johnson County. When Dula was named as a suspect in the murder of his girlfriend Laura Foster, he fled to Trade, Tennessee and adopted the name Tom Hall. In Trade, Dula worked for Colonel James Grayson who later helped bring Dula to justice when he discovered his true identity.
Nearly everyone that knows Dula’s story has an opinion about what did and did not happen to Laura Foster. The courts, however, found Dula guilty of the murder of Laura Foster; a crime he was hanged for nearly two years after Foster’s death.
Johnson County Community Theatre (JCCT) veteran Derek Visser will bring Tom Dooley to life on the Heritage Hall stage. His starring role in Yours Truly, Tom Dooley follows his critically acclaimed portrayal of George Bailey in last winters JCCT performance of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Visser is certain to dazzle audiences once again in Yours Truly, Tom Dooley.
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