Artists in Action: Fall festivities abound in Calhoun County
Oct 06, 2013 | 3046 views |  0 comments | 39 39 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The wonder and enchantment of the scenic beauty of autumn — and the magic of the stage — are the rewards for a little travel in our part of the state this month. And that’s no wonder since the destinations are CharACTers Children’s Theatre in Gadsden today and next weekend, and JSU’s Little River Canyon Center in Fort Payne next Saturday. Both are hosting events that show off unique visual beauty in their own ways.

‘Aladdin Jr.’ today and next weekend

CharACTers Children’s Theatre and Gadsden State present this magical musical at Wallace Fine Arts Center today at 2:30 p.m. and Friday through Sunday next weekend. Based on the 1992 Disney film with all of the familiar characters — the sultan, the princess, the genie, the magician and, of course, Aladdin and his amazing lamp — it’s filled with singing, dancing, magic carpet rides and a tuneful Academy Award-winning score that helped make it a favorite with kids of all ages.

“Over 90 cast members are working to make this a delightful show,” said Cody Carlton, founder of the theater. The show is directed by Santana McKinney-Carlton and the music is by Kay Bagwell of Alexandria. The cast list includes actors from Anniston, Heflin, Jacksonville, Ohatchee and Oxford.

The evening performances next Friday and Saturday are at 7:30 p.m. and the matinee next Sunday is at 2:30 p.m. Ticket prices are $8 for children, students and seniors, and $10 for adults. Tickets may be purchased online at or in person at Hardin Center for the Arts in downtown Gadsden, by phone at 256 543-ARTS or at the box office one hour prior to the performance.

Rendezvous at the Rim at Little River Canyon Oct.12

If you are a nature lover, make your way to Fort Payne next Saturday for a day of guided walks, folk and blues music, a photography hike with former Kodak executive John Dersham, storytelling with JSU Field School Assistant Director Renee Morrison, a fly fishing demonstration by JSU biologist Chris Murdock, food and more. The second annual Canyon Half Marathon and Rendezvous at the Rim will keep outdoor enthusiasts busy from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“Here you will see plants and animals native only to this area,” said Dersham, president of the Friends of the Preserve Little River Canyon. “And the river runs north to south on top of Lookout Mountain, which is unusual in itself. In fact, the canyon was carved by the river.”

The event is hosted by JSU’s Little River Canyon Center and the Little River National Preserve. Participation is free, but donations will be accepted. For more information, email or call 256-845-3548.

Allow for an hour and a half drive from Anniston. From Noccalula Falls in Gadsden, take Lookout Mountain Parkway and follow it north. Turn right on Alabama 35 and watch for the Canyon Center sign.

Tony and Emmy winners we know

Annistonians have rubbed shoulders with two men highly honored by the entertainment industry recently. Martin L. Platt, who was artistic director of Anniston Little Theatre starting in 1971 and then founder of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival here in Anniston, won a Tony Award June 9 as a producer of Best Play winner “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” by Christopher Durang. The Tony Awards, which pay tribute to excellence on Broadway, were broadcast live from Radio City Music Hall June 9.

Platt, a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, has produced and directed in New York, London, Vienna, Austria and Seville, Spain, over the last 40 years, according to Internet sources.

In other celebrity news, Tony Hale, who married Annistonian Martel Thompson in 2003, won Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy for his role in the HBO series “Veep,” starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, at the Emmy Awards Sept. 22. It is his first Emmy nomination and first win to date.

Hale, who is Annistonian Farley Fink’s brother-in-law, stays in touch with friends in Anniston, visiting Martel’s family each summer. He is best known for his role in the Fox comedy series “Arrested Development.”

Now, according to Fink, the Hale home has two Emmys to display — Martel is also an Emmy Award-winning makeup artist. The couple resides in Los Angeles.
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