The awards night will be at the Anniston Museum of Natural History beginning at 6:30 p.m.
The event, in memory of CAST founder Randy Hall, allows a celebration — one more time — to display the year’s talent, enjoy the laughs, remember the favorite songs and reflect on the dramatic stories told.
It is a time of rewards. It is a time to recognize volunteers who helped deliver the playwrights’ words from the page to the stage, based on the Tony Awards. It is a time of thanking them for their work and commitment. It is also a time to be entertained by a medley of short scenes, directed by Kim Dobbs, which are representative of the musicals and plays CAST just presented. CAST Kidz will also perform an act, “Under the Sea,” from the musical The Little Mermaid.
Dinner, catered by Classic on Noble, is at 7 p.m. The cost is $25 per ticket. Reservations must be made by June 20 by calling CAST at 256-820-CAST, or via the CAST website (www.castalabama.com) or by filling out and mailing in the notice in the last CAST newsletter. CAST’s mailing address is CAST Inc. P.O. Box 185, Anniston, AL 36202. Also, see CAST on Facebook. The appropriate dress is semi-formal to formal wear.
A raffle will be held for small items and a silent auction for larger ones.
Kimberly Davenport is serving as event chairperson, and Jon Garlick will be master of ceremony.
The past season’s shows were Grease, Miracle on 34th Street, Dearly Departed and Boomers. True to tradition, there were goals to meet — against the odds — in each production.
There were so many people in Grease that it was difficult to gather the entire group in one room all at the same time to rehearse, the artistic director said.
In December, Miracle on 34th Street, with both adult and child actors, was a delight to audiences. But the 34 different scenes that had to be quickly changed required manpower and some swift moving.
In Boomers, a musical revue of the 1950s and 1960s, the blending of voices was a must, but the hardest goal met was casting the Aretha Franklin role. After three attempts in casting from within the community, Atlanta actress and singer Valerie Payton was selected by Dobbs.
Trophies bearing the comedy and tragedy masks are called “Randys” in honor of Hall, the CAST founder and also a journalist and arts critic for The Star.
Printed interviews with Hall reveal that writing plays came natural for him. A conversation with the playwright by Montgomery freelance writer Sunshine Huff (who wrote for First Draft, the journal of the Alabama Writers’ Forum) was reprinted in The Star Aug. 20, 1988, with First Draft’s permission. According to this printed interview, Randy Hall wanted to write for the theater since he was 12. He saw his first play when Town & Gown Theatre of Birmingham toured The Man Who Came to Dinner. Later, he fell in love with musical theater when seeing his next play, The Boyfriend, also by Town & Gown.
That’s when Hall’s interest in writing plays began, and, fortunately for our area, he actively developed his interest.
He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from the University of Alabama. The writer later found the course of study on playwriting he preferred at Temple University in Philadelphia. Hall returned to Anniston and had at least seven plays produced in this area, some of which have been presented around the country: Arts& Leisure, Human Interest, Grover, Chopin Live, The Widow’s Best Friend, (twice in Anniston) Black Warrior, and Heartaches: The Unauthorized Biography of Patsy Cline.
The evening’s fanfare builds toward a crescendo when the Edel Ayers Award, an engraved silver bowl, will be presented. It is given to the individual who has gone far beyond the regular duties in making the shows happen.
Mrs. Ayers is fondly remembered for organizing the first Little Theatre in Anniston, with the help of the Players’ Guild, a group of residents actively interested in theater. The curtain rose “hopefully” as the history states, on the first play, The Dover Road, in 1927 at the old Anniston High School. And, according to records, “the house was packed.” Records state that the community theater movement here was established at this time.
CAST is keeping Mrs. Ayers’ and Hall’s ambitious spirit alive, but the theater needs support from the community. Come and learn more about the medium of dramatic arts and the fun it can be by attending the Randy Awards.