“The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” is considered to be one of America’s greatest books by today’s scholars, and James Rana’s world premiere adaptation beautifully captures the humor and heartache in this tale of a boy running away from an abusive father and a slave running away for fear of being sold to a plantation further south.
The award winning Equity professional East Lynne Theater Company presents Mark Twain’s epic adventure on the Mississippi River from July 29 through September 5, Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8:30p.m. There is an opportunity to meet the cast, playwright, and crew at an after-show party on Wednesday, July 29, at The Washington Inn, 801 Washington Street, at no additional cost.
Playing the role of Huck is Evan Smilyk, who played young Don Diego in last season’s “Zorro!,” also adapted by James Rana. When attending West Cape May Elementary School and ELTC’s Student Summer Workshop, he performed a dozen other roles under the direction of Gayle Stahlhuth or Sally Bingham. Leon Morgan, playing Jim, has performed and in several independent films, in NYC productions and is currently studying improv and sketch writing at the Upright Citizens Brigade in Manhattan. He was in ELTC’s NJ premiere of “Lost on the Natchez Trace” written by Jan Buttram, artistic director of NYC’s Abingdon Theatre, with co-stars Tom Byrn, currently playing the 16th President in “Mr. Lincoln” and Stephanie Garrett, one of ELTC’s popular “Tales of the Victorian” storytellers.
Those taking on many roles are Beckley Andrews, Samuel Douglas Clark, Marcia Sofley and Thomas Raniszewski.
Last season at ELTC, Beckley and Sam starred in the two-hander “The First Fifty Years”. Beckley’s credits include a national tour of “Grease” with Frankie Avalon, New York City Opera’s “Cendrillon,” and Broadway’s “Gypsy” starring Patti LuPone. Sam recently appeared in television’s “Forever.” In his native Australia, he performed in national tours, films, on television, and was in the Queensland premiere of “The Lieutenant of Inishmore.”
This is Marcia’s first show at ELTC. She performs with Improvisational Repertory Theatre in NYC, with regional theaters, and has toured nationally in shows including “Seussical” and “A Christmas Carol.” On television, she’s been featured in shows on ID, The History Channel and LMN.
Thomas has been performing with ELTC since “Rain” in 2005. He was in “The Twentieth-Century Way” in Philadelphia, and ELTC’s production of “Why Marry?” in Cape May, as well as the staged reading at The Players Club in NYC.
Mark Twain (1881-1910) was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens, near Hannibal, MO, soon after the closest approach to Earth of Halley’s Comet, and died one day after Halley’s return. Aside from “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), his other works include “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” (1876), “The Prince and the Pauper” (1881), and “Life on the Mississippi” (1883).
Performances are at the historic First Presbyterian Church, 500 Hughes St., Cape May, where ELTC is in residence. Tickets are $30 for general admission, $25 for seniors (62 and over), and $15 for full-time students, those in the military and veterans. Ages 12 and under are free. All tickets are available for purchase with credit card, cash or personal check at the box office when there is a performance, through ELTC’s website, www.eastlynnetheater.org, by phone, 609-884-5898, e-mail email@example.com.
Every opening night this season is dedicated to the memory of someone the cultural community lost during the past year – and who had an impact on ELTC. Opening night of “Huckleberry Finn” is dedicated to the memory of Bruce (1923-2014) and Corinne Minnix (1924-2013). Bruce was Mayor of Cape May while directing soap operas in NYC. He performed in ELTC’s production of “The New York Idea” and directed “Rain.”
Thirty-five years ago, when Warren Kliewer founded ELTC, it was the first Equity professional theater in the country dedicated to preserving and presenting American plays from the past that resonate with today’s audiences, as well as new works dealing with American history and literature.
Being a non-profit, there are many organizations and individuals who have helped the company throughout the years, both financially and with in-kind donations of goods and services. Season partners for 2015 are Curran Investment Management, Aleathea’s Restaurant, The Henry Sawyer Inn, and The Washington Inn.