Artists in Action: Local performances will make spirits bright
Nov 17, 2013 | 1936 views |  0 comments | 68 68 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Start making plans to see CAST production “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” opening Dec. 5, and Tchaikovsky’s classic “The Nutcracker” presented by the Knox Concert Series on Dec. 8. Both shows bring a warm glow to the holidays and families will remember enjoy them together long after the Christmas presents are unwrapped and decorations put away.

On a more serious note, memorabilia on display at today’s reception following the German Italian Memorial Service at McClellan focuses on the artistic influence of the community of painters, musicians (with their own orchestra), metal workers and theater enthusiasts interned at the camp during World War II.

CAST play a touching and hilarious tale

“The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” by Barbara Robinson is about a couple trying their best to put on a church Christmas pageant against the biggest odds — the Herdman children. The Herdmans, a wild herd of six kids who steal, lie and smoke cigars, come to church because they heard refreshments were plentiful and then insist on getting the leading parts in the pageant.

Grace Bradley, played by Michelle Bain, is at her wits end, and it doesn’t help that the domineering Mrs. Armstrong (Debby Mathews) is trying to manage this pageant from her hospital bed, where she is suffering from a broken leg.

The Bradley family, the Herdmans, the Ladies’ Aid Society, the pastor, firemen and a slew of shepherds and angels bring a heartwarming message to life in this hour-long classic directed by Kim Dobbs.

While cast and crew are busy preparing for opening night, a hospital phone is still needed as a prop, if anyone has one to spare.

The play will run two weekends with the final performance Sunday, Dec. 15. Curtain times for the evening shows are 7:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. for the Sunday matinees. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students. For more information, call 256-820-CAST.

‘The Nutcracker’ is back for annual Knox show

The language of ballet speaks clearly of colorful, beloved characters in “The Nutcracker,” which Knox Concert Series presents for the 31st year Dec. 8 at 2 p.m. in the Anniston Performing Arts Center. The Alabama Ballet and 32 young area dancers will put forth a production that is not only an Anniston tradition, but a tradition worldwide well.

Dancers have been rehearsing since August, said dance coordinator Missy Beverly. “It’s an exceptional opportunity for them since they’ll be on stage with high professional dancers.”

Beverly got involved with the ballet after her mother-in-law, began taking Missy’s young daughters to the ballet. Several years later, after studying with Sheila Lindley of Lindley’s World of Performing Arts, Beverly was teaching dance at Faith Christian School in an afternoon program and was soon handling local auditions and preparing the young dancers for the production each year.

“It’s something that they look forward to,” she said. “This is the George Balanchine version and the choreography is excellent.”

According to letters from third graders who saw the ballet last year, the boys especially liked the fight scene. Also, the falling snow and the Candy Cane dancers were favorite aspects for most all students.

“It was cool and funny at the same time,” wrote one student. “I told my parents and they were so happy, ‘cause they saw this as kids,” wrote another young viewer.

The fight scene between the toy soldiers and mice is indeed dynamic. The candy cane scene is unique with its catchy music and dancers carrying hoops, costumed with striped attire and jingling bells, Beverly said. The one male dancer is very athletic and achieves high leaps, jumps and turns. “And then, there is the surprise element in the ‘Mother Ginger’ segment,” Beverly added.

Tickets at the door are $12 for children 12 years and under and $20 for adults. For complete ticket information, call Pam McKenzie at 256-832-4554.

German Italian POW memorial service

Today’s German Italian POW memorial service will follow the traditional format that has been held for almost four decades: JSU ROTC provides the color guard, civilian leaders speak, flags are placed on each grave, wreaths are laid and a reception follows.

Four of the POWs buried in the cemetery were at McClellan when the murals seen in Remington Hall were commissioned and completed in 1945. Biographies of these four, as well as other written materials and memorabilia, can be seen at a reception following the service.

The service will be held at the German Italian cemetery on Shipley Drive at noon followed by a reception at Monteith Amphitheater. The murals at Remington Hall will be open for viewing from after the service until 4 p.m.

Directional signs will be placed along the route to the cemetery. In case of inclement weather the event will be held at Monteith Amphitheater. Everyone is welcome. For additional information, contact Joan McKinney at 256-235-3995.
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