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SPOTLIGHT ON THE ARTS | Event Center and The Hallelujah Girls

I seem to have been on a little vacation from journalism, but I’m back. A city committee has recently reconvened whose mission it is “to provide a recommendation to City Council for the consideration of potential capital improvement projects that would be funded under the current property tax millage obligation.”

There have been some projects that are gaining attention. I would like to know what the interest is in an Events Center. This would be a venue where trade shows, weddings, reunions, art shows, business meetings and trainings, and musical, artistic and dramatic performances that don’t require a space as large as the Maumelle High auditorium could be held. Other revenue producing events could be held there as well. It would have a small theater in it for small dramatic events. I can already here the questions like “Why can’t we use the Maumelle High School auditorium?” For one it is too large and secondly, it serves the school first and therefore other groups have to work around a school schedule.

If you would like to weigh in on this subject, please email the committee at BondTaskForceCommittee@maumelle.org.

The Hallelujah Girls

October 25-27, 2013 and November 1-3, 2013

www.maumelleplayers.org

So now that we’ve finished with that topic, I would like to introduce you to the cast of The Maumelle Players’ upcoming production of The Hallelujah Girls. The Maumelle Players have found a new home at Little Scholars Academy at 10910 Maumelle Blvd at the corner of the boulevard and Counts Massie Road.

The first show in the new theater is The Hallelujah Girls – a Jones Hope Wooten comedy. The story centers around five feisty females who decide to shake up their lives. Meeting regularly at the church-turned-day-spa, this group of friends discusses the recent death of a friend, lost love, family dysfunction and look for ways to save the day spa, SPA-DEE-DAH, from the grasp of a town snob who will stop at nothing to take it over.

Sugar Lee Thompkins, the owner of SPA-DEE-DAH is played by Jeannie Belew. When not acting with The Maumelle Players, she owns and operates Spashwear, a swimwear store on the boulevard. This is her 3rd production with The Players. Sugar Lee is wanting to live her dreams now instead of waiting for that elusive ship of good fortune to come sailing her way. In the process of living her dreams, an old boyfriend from high school, Bobby Dwayne Dillahunt, is hired to help her finish a few things at the spa. The lost high school romance and the tension it brings, makes some interesting situations for Sugar Lee and Bobby Dwayne. Bobby Dwayne is played by Mike Crosson a veteran of the Maumelle stage. He has been in many productions and also helps build sets.

Carlene Travis, played by Lynne Hicks, is the glue that holds the group together. While being labeled The Black Widow of Eden Falls (3 dead husbands), she is the leader among her friends and helps bring them together to support Sugar Lee’s dream of owning a spa. Come see “The Hallelujah Girls” and find out if Carlene can find love again.

Porter Padget, played by Chuck Starratt, is a love interest of Carlene. He is an affable character who adds a little extra humor to the situations faced by The Hallelujah Girls. This is Chuck’s 3rd performance with The Players and he enjoys the change of pace from his regular job as a Little Rock police officer.

Mavis Flowers is played by Denise Loken, a longtime resident of Maumelle. She also serves as the board treasurer. Mavis is the brusque, but likeable character in the group. She spends her time wondering why she ever got married in the first place and thinks about how to plot her own demise (and make it look like an accident) or perhaps her husband’s demise.

Nita Mooney is play by another newcomer to The Maumelle Players, Amanda Michel. Nita is the simple, country woman who spends her time enabling her 27 year old deadbeat son. As a result, she lives her life out in the plots of numerous romance novels that she is quick to quote as her friends experience challenges in their relationships. Amanda feels like this character is seen in too many real life situations. She especially likes that Nita’s friends are able to have patience with her enabling behavior and help her through it so she can live her own life.

Crystal Hart is played by a debutante to the Maumelle stage, but certainly not a debutante to the theater. Stefanie Johnston has performed in various theaters and has had many parts in musicals. Her character takes regular Christmas songs and turns them into her own “Crystal Carols” as she celebrates each major (and some not-so-major) holidays dressed in full costume. Her songs add a different element to this production.

And lastly comes the antagonist, Bunny Sutherland, played by Rachel McDonald. Having to break from her real-life friendly personality, Rachel has to become the snobbish, self-centered and egotistical Bunny Sutherland, the self-proclaimed “Citizen of the Year” of Eden Falls. She will stop at nothing to steal Sugar Lee’s SPA-DEE-DAH to turn it into a museum with Bunny’s name on it, of course. Bunny and Sugar Lee have feuded since high school and Bunny continues her underhanded ways to try to get the best of Sugar Lee and her friends.

So some to our new theater on the boulevard at Little Scholars Academy at the corner of the boulevard and Counts Massie Road. Tickets are available online at www.maumelleplayers.org or at the Maumelle Senior Wellness Center at 550 Edgewood Drive.

With a new theater comes new expenses. There is much we need to do to get it turned into a theater, so please feel free to go to our website and make a small donation online. The Maumelle Players is a 501c3 and you will get a tax deduction for your donation. Check us out at www.maumelleplayers.org.

Mark your calendars

Maumelle Photography Club meets at 6:30 at the Maumelle Library. Dates for meeting are as follows: October (1st Monday), November (1st Monday). The Photography Club fills the display cases at the library with different themed photographs each month. Join them and display your best photographs.

Georgia’s Aspiring Artists – This is a group that meets weekly at the Maumelle Senior Wellness Center. Look for their Facebook page by that name. You can contact the Maumelle Senior Wellness Center for more information. 550 Edgewood, Maumelle, AR. 501-851-2500.

As usual, I need all the artists in Maumelle to get in touch with me so I can write about you (or your neighbor). Building an arts community is a challenging task. Coming together in this column is certainly a great way to start.

Let us know about your event or organization so we can give it a place in a Spotlight on the Arts feature story or calendar. Contact me at maumellearts@gmail.com.

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