Artists in Action: To act or not to act, either way you’re in the right place
by Hervey Folsom
Special to The Star
May 19, 2013 | 4417 views |  0 comments | 271 271 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Jacksonville Opera Theatre of Jacksonville State University presents 'Mikado' June 7-9 at Gadsden State Community College. Submitted photo
The Jacksonville Opera Theatre of Jacksonville State University presents 'Mikado' June 7-9 at Gadsden State Community College. Submitted photo
Whether you prefer to be a viewer or a performer in entertainment-rich Calhoun County, there are events and opportunities to keep you busy this month.

“The Mikado,” Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta by the Jacksonville Opera Theater, opens June 7 and auditions for the next CAST season are June 8 and 10. Meanwhile, a changing photo exhibit project is underway at the Public Library of Anniston-Calhoun County that provides glimpses into the history of downtown Anniston.

‘The Mikado’ on sale now

“The Mikado,” written in 1885, is not only an enchanting work, it is one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s masterpieces, according to the text “Opera” by Herbert Kupferberg. The Jacksonville Opera Theatre of Jacksonville State University presents the show June 7 at 7:30 p.m., June 8 at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and June 9 at 2:30 p.m. at Wallace Hall of Gadsden State Community College.

The production is more a musical than an operetta, said Dr. Nathan Wight, artistic director of JOT. It will be presented in partnership with the Etowah Youth Orchestra with Kenneth Bodiford conducting.

“The Mikado” is largely fictional — set in Japan, the story reflects Japanese culture, style and government in a picturesque setting. The JOT production claims a large cast and lots of humor. The Emperor of Japan, or “The Mikado,” is portrayed by Jarrod Lee, guest artist and JSU alumnus from Washington, D.C.

One of the beauties of a college production of Gilbert and Sullivan is the opportunity to update the libretto’s lyrics with contemporary references and topical humor. “The Mikado” pokes fun at JSU and at society, in general, said Teresa Stricklin, assistant director of JOT.

“Yes, we’ve been known for our departures from the lines,” says Wight. With that in mind, he adds, don’t be surprised when Ko-Ko, the Lord High Executioner of the town of Titipu, begins to sing that the person “showing mental deficiency from the university’s music department and the adviser to President Meehan” are on his list of future executions.

The revamped lyrics in this production don’t stop there. Viewers are treated to a chorus of car companies — Suzuki, Mitsubishi, Toyota, Honda and the like — and mentions of Snooki, texting, piercings and even the Tea Party.

Stricklin invites audiences to “come join us for an evening of side-splitting humor with a Japanese flair!”

Tickets are $12 for students and $20 for adults. Purchase tickets online at or call for tickets at Wallace Hall Ticket Center, 256-543-ARTS.

Auditions for CAST’s next season

To be a part of the merriment and mystery at CAST Theatre next season, come to tryouts Saturday, June 8, at 3 p.m. and Monday, June 10, at 7 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall of First Presbyterian Church in Anniston.

Two musicals and two plays, all light fare, are on the 2013-14 ticket, and all ages and levels of acting, dancing and singing experience are welcome.

The scheduled performance are:

• “Guys and Dolls” — a Broadway musical that premiered in 1950, Sept. 12 -22.

• “A Christmas Story” — Ralphie must convince his parents, teachers and Santa that a Red Ryder BB gun is the perfect Christmas gift, Dec. 5 -15.

• “The 39 Steps” — Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller with a comic touch, Feb. 6-16, 2014.

• “9 to 5: The Musical” — It is based on the 1980 film with music and lyrics by Dolly Parton, April 24-May 4, 2014.

Season tickets are $50 for adults and $25 for students. If you purchase your season ticket by May 31, you’ll be entered in a drawing to receive reserved seating for next year. For more information, CAST’s website is or contact the CAST office at 256-820-CAST.

New photo exhibit at library

A new photo display by the Friends of the Library depicts life in the Model City in the 1920s and 1930s. The six photos, displayed in ornate frames that fit the fashion of the times, can be seen near the entrance of the Alabama Room.

The exhibit is in honor of the group’s past president, Virginia Emerson Hopkins.

It’s interesting to see The Ritz Theatre, in the 1300 block of Noble Street, back then. Also pictured are the first location of Sears Roebuck & Company, also on Noble Street; Buck’s Place, where tires were sold on West 10th Street; the Dixie Stage Lines at 1207 Noble; the old Coca-Cola Bottling Plant at 400 Noble; and Noble Theatre, which was first used as the Opera House.
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