By Lacy Hilliard
Spring programming is in full swing at Heritage Hall and as the sound of April showers dancing atop tin roofs can be heard in weathered barns throughout the county, Johnson County Community Theatre will be busy creating a different kind of sound laughter.
This weekend, April 4-6 and next weekend, April 11-12, Johnson County Community Theatre will take on the Mary Chase classic, Harvey. Debuting on a Broadway stage in 1944: Harvey, an eccentric comedy of errors, closed in 1949 after 1,777 performances. Just a year later, the legendary Jimmy Stewart revived Harvey in the form of an unforgettable screenplay.
Former Johnson County Community Theatre President and veteran stage actor Ray Branch will play the lead role of Elwood P. Dowd. Through Branch is well seasoned to the Heritage Hall stage; playing a role in which a 6 ½ foot invisible rabbit is your best friend is not without its challenges. The most challenging part is having an invisible partner that you cant ignore, said Branch. But though his challenge may be great, Branch went on to say, This cast is great. Ive been in several productions with all them and it makes it easier knowing that you can have confidence in your fellow cast members. If Director Judy Walshs comments about Branch are any indication of his future performance, expect nothing short of amazing; Ray Branch is just the epitome. I think he channels Jimmy Stewart.
Director Judy Walsh is also no stranger to the Heritage Hall stage and she didnt let her Director status stop her from making an appearance in the JCCT production of Harvey. Walsh plays the role of Veta Louise Simmons Elwoods socialite sister who is painfully ashamed of him and attempts to have him committed to spare her daughter Myrtle Mae (Dorinda Walters) the embarrassment. The combination of Judy Walsh and Dorinda Walters is never anything short of spectacularly hilarious and they are certain to delight audiences in Harvey.
Joining Branch, Walsh, and Walters are Jacqueline Mann as Mrs. Ethel Chauvenet, Brooklynne Dune as Ruth Kelly, RN, Carl Michael Howard as Duane Wilson, Derek Dickson as Lyman Sanderson, MD, Dean Whitworth as William R. Chumley, MD, Kathleen Henderson as Betty Chumley, Michael Eggers as Judge Omar Gafney, and David Wilson as E.J. Lofgren.
The crew of volunteers that make these performances possible include Dean Henderson (Stage Manager), Kathy Terrill (backstage), Lyn Walker (photography), Richard Walsh, BJ Lakatos and Fred Norris (set design and construction), Kathleen Henderson (costumes and props) and Bob Morrison, Andy Zeggert and Chase McGlamery (sound and lights.)
Johnson County Community Theatre is always looking for talented individuals throughout the community to take part in their productions. In late June, JCCT will perform Blithe Spirit. If youre interested in being a part of a Johnson County Community Theatre performance, watch for audition announcements in The Tomahawks Community Calendar. Current JCCT President Michael Eggers welcomes the community to take part in both monthly meetings as well as upcoming performances. Community Theatre gives me the opportunity to do what I love, said Eggers and its clear that JCCT members work hard to translate their love of theater to audiences.
Community Theatre gives adults and sometimes children the opportunity to have a creative outlet to showcase their talents. It is perhaps a little known fact that Johnson County Community Theatre was founded in back in 1985. After a long period of dormancy, the opening of Heritage Hall and community leaders such as Evelyn Cook bred new life into the program. To support this time honored Johnson County tradition and preserve it for years to come, consider attending a Johnson County Community Theatre performance. Its guaranteed to be an enjoyable evening.
By Lacy Hilliard