, Corbin, KY


April 20, 2012

Take a Bow

Weekend Production of "Little Women" final curtain call for seniors

CORBIN — By Jeff Noble/Staff Writer

This weekend’s performances of the musical “Little Women” by the Redhound Theatre of Corbin High School will be special in two ways.

First, it’s the final show for their current season, which has seen the group win accolades from their peers, “bravos” from their audiences and awards in state and regional competition.

After three shows last Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the musical based on the classic novel by Louisa May Alcott will be held over for this Thursday through Saturday, at the Betty Hamilton Center for the Performing Arts on the Corbin High School campus. It starts at 7 p.m. all three nights, and tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students.

Second, it’s a special moment for 11 Corbin High School seniors.

This Saturday’s performance will be their final one with the Redhound Theatre. Of those 11 students, nine of them have been with the theatre group throughout their high school days.

For Director Schann Mobley, those days of long rehearsals and hard work will culminate with a final curtain call Saturday night.

And she’s gonna miss ‘em.

“It’s a tradition here at Corbin High School for our seniors to have the final bow at curtain call. And those nine seniors who’ve been with us all four years are the majority of our company. They’ve carried us through the years. Many of them have been with me since I started teaching six years ago. They’re truly a super group. Truly awesome,” Mobley said backstage during a break Tuesday afternoon.

Those nine seniors she’s talking about are Martin Jones, Dakota Dean, Cayla Scott, Myranda Carpenter, Heidi Clark, Evan Baylor, Katie Noble, Taylor Moody and Caitlin Robinson. While Robinson is with the production crew as stage manager, the other eight will be on stage, performing in their roles one last time.

They and the other cast and crew members are closing out the season with another tradition — a musical adaptation of a book that’s a favorite of Mobley’s.

“I grew up with Louisa May Alcott’s story. Before writing ‘Little Women,’ she created fiction for years. ‘Little Women’ is a story based on her life, and became her greatest literary success. We always do musicals in the spring, and we were looking for singers and women to put in the spring show, plus we were looking for a show that we could do with the size of our group. When we heard ‘Little Women’ was made into a musical, I jumped on it,” she said.

After hearing the music, Mobley decided it was time for a road trip up I-75.

“We wanted to do it here with Redhound Theatre after listening to the songs. And last fall at Northern Kentucky University, the musical ‘Little Women’ was playing there. So we went to see it, and really liked it. When we started rehearsing for it this spring, we also saw how challenging it is. After going to Chattanooga in March to compete in the Southeastern regionals, and after doing four other shows this year, we had very little time to work on it,” she noted.

“Little Women” is the fifth show for the Redhound Theatre’s 2011-2012 season, the most ever done at Corbin High School. The season started with “Steel Magnolias,” and continued with “Paul’s Case,” “Madeline’s Christmas”  and “Star Spangled Girl” by Neil Simon.

One of those shows — “Paul’s Case” — brought the group some big honors in the Kentucky Theatre Association’s (KTA) State Festival 2011, held last November in Madisonville. In a field of 14 other high schools statewide, Corbin High’s group was crowned 2011 Kentucky Theatre State Champions. The cast and crew of “Paul’s Case” were given the Best Play 2011 Award, and Redhound Theatre also won three of the four awards for acting. For the second year in a row, Baylor was named Best Actor, and after being named to the All-Star Cast last year, Dean won Best Supporting Actress. Jones was named Best Supporting Actor and Noble was named to the All-Star Cast after winning Best Supporting Actress last year.

Last month, the troupe went down I-75 to Chattanooga, Tenn. for the Southeastern Theatre Conference. Again, “Paul’s Case” was performed, and Mobley said the students did an amazing job. The judges thought so, too, as both Baylor and Noble were named to the All-Star Cast.

Traditions have to be started — and nurtured — for them to continue. And for those being a part of it, a chance for them to leave a legacy for the next generation.

Mobley added that it’s already happening.

“The Eighth-Grade Drama Class at Corbin Middle School is doing a Sherlock Holmes mystery, ‘Sabotage at the Savoy,’ on May 8 at 8 p.m. Admission is free. It’s their first production with Redhound Theatre, and the eighth graders’ very own production. It’s a great way for us to develop and build the theatre program at Corbin.”

And for the current group of Redhound Theatre students, their traditions are coming to a proud finish.

“How was last weekend’s performances? It went really well. The audience really seemed to enjoy it. They laughed and they cried. And that’s a really good sign,” Mobley stated.

From all indications, that will happen again, starting tonight. And especially this Saturday night.

Mobley put it this way. “The show’s performance will be really difficult for me, because I’ve grown close to them and I love them very much. It’ll be tough, but I’m excited about their future. And I’m confident they’ve learned valuable lessons in theater that will carry them through their lives.”

In the program for “Little Women” that those attending will see and read, Mobley and the show’s music director, Candy Martin Jones, left a little note for the seniors.

“Should your success be a surprise? As freshmen, you accepted our greatest challenge... But that could not have prepared us for what was to come... All to become the most award-winnng theater class in CHS history, and the only KTA state winner from the mountains of Kentucky. You set a standard that will be tough to reach again — giving future generations a level to aspire to, and two directors more pride in students than they have ever known. You leave behind a legacy... You have taught two teachers more than they have taught you, and for that, and everything, we say thank you.”

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