VTG plans busy summer theater season

Published 3:06 pm Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Vicksburg Theatre Guild is filling its summer programming with auditions and shows, including the world’s longest running melodrama, “Gold in the Hills”.

The 30th season of Fairy Tale Theatre began rehearsals last week. The cast and crew are comprised entirely of youths between 7 and 18-years-old. The theatre will be presenting three different plays, two were written by a local writer Richard Van Den Akker. A high school student is stepping in as director for two of the shows.

“It’s a wonderful way for kids to develop theatre skills and really life skills to overcome your fear, stand up in front of a group of people and memorize lines,” theatre secretary Mike Calnan said.

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Fairy Tale Theatre performances will be June 25–28. The start time for Thursday through Saturday’s shows will be 7 p.m. with Sunday’s show beginning at 2p.m. Admission is $6 for adults and $4 for children 12 and under.

Auditions for The Music Man will be held July 11 and 12 at 2 p.m. each day.

The show is a musical but there are non-singing parts available as well as male and female dancers, singers, children and lead roles that need to be filled. Ballard said there is something for everyone.

“One of our goals for the theatre is to identify, promote and then present talent that’s already here in the community,” director and current guild president Paul Ballard said. “We frequently have newcomers to our stage as well as experienced thespians.”

The production will be performed the weekends of Sept. 11–13 and Sept. 18–20 at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays. The show is about a con artist who sets up a fundraiser to create a marching band in the hopes of skipping town with the money.

“It’s very much family-friendly entertainment,” Ballard said. “Certainly there’s humor and there are some familiar tunes. This is just one of the classics.”

People looking to get involved but don’t have the acting bug can use their talents in other area.

“We’re always looking for people to help out in other aspects of the production,” Ballard said. “For instance, costuming, make-up and artwork for the set.”

Gold in the Hills continues its unprecedented 79th season in Vicksburg.

Walter Johnston, assistant producer, is an example of how this show transcends generations by becoming a family tradition with his father, brother, nephew and kids being involved with the show over the years.

“I’ve been on the theatre board for a number of years, I’ve served as president for two terms in the 80s and I’m presently the assistant producer of Gold in the Hills,” Johnston said.

John Hesselberg is the other assistant producer of the ever-rotating cast in the classic good vs. evil melodrama.

The show will be performed July 10-11, 17-18 and 24-25 at 7:30 p.m. each night. Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for children 12 and under.

The 80th anniversary will be March 28, 2016.

John Hesselberg will also be directing Sherlock Holms and the Case of the Jersey Lily coming to the theater in November. Auditions for this show will be held Sept. 19 at 2 p.m. and Sept. 21 at 6 p.m. They are looking for three adult women and eight adult men to fill the roles.

Audience members looking for a deal can become a member of the guild. Special early-bird rates are good through July 31. For more information on different kinds of membership and prices visit vicksburgtheatreguild.com, email vicksburg.theatre@gmail.com or call 601-636-0471.