Everlasting story premiers

By Nancy Zeman nzeman@prairiepress.net
Posted 12/2/19

A beloved children’s book will come alive on the stage of the Paris Center of Fine Arts Dec. 6-8 when Paris High School Drama presents the musical, “Tuck Everlasting.”

Two casts will perform …

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Everlasting story premiers


A beloved children’s book will come alive on the stage of the Paris Center of Fine Arts Dec. 6-8 when Paris High School Drama presents the musical, “Tuck Everlasting.”

Two casts will perform during the four shows presented at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are on sale in advance at www.pcofa.net or at the Prospect Bank.

“Tuck Everlasting” features a book by Tony Award nominee Claudia Shear and Tim Federle and is based on Natalie Babbitt's best-selling 1975 novel of the same name. Music is by Chris Miller, lyrics are by Nathan Tysen.

Paris High School Drama director Tanner Laughlin said drama students suggested the musical to him. He noted many of the students had read the book as part of the Accelerated Reader program at their schools. “We took a look at it and listened to the music and agreed it is a great choice,” Laughlin said.

The decision to double cast the production was an easy one, Laughlin said, noting the cast is composed of 10 characters, plus an ensemble cast. “We have so many talented students we wanted to give all of them an opportunity to shine,” Laughlin explained.

The double casting is a first for Laughlin and assistant director Agnes Wright, who are working their 10th show together. Cast one will perform at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, and 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7 while cast two will perform at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8.

The cast includes several students who will be making their debut on the PCOFA stage. “We couldn’t be happier with both casts who are bringing this musical to life,” he said.

“Tuck Everlasting” tells the story of a family who drink water from a magical spring and become immortal. When they encounter a young girl, Winnie Foster, who lives in their rural New England town, she becomes friends with one of the sons, who soon offers her the secret to everlasting life. Winnie must then decide if she wants to join her new friends in immortality, or if she will live out her normal life.

“Tuck Everlasting” premiered in Atlanta, Ga,, in 2015 and opened on Broadway in 2016. Despite closing after only 39 performances, it received positive reviews, especially praising the dazzling ballet” in the second act. Critics described the musical as a timelessstory of family, loss, friendship and love for the entire family.

Laughlin and Jane Smittkamp choreographed the show. “The students have really enjoyed the dance numbers,” he said.

One of the most beautiful parts of the show is the dance in the second act, the ensemble shows Winnie’s life.

Cast one members are Chase Hays, Jessie Tuck; Nathan York, Miles Tuck; Jordyn David, Mae Tuck; Raymond Lin, Angus Tuck; Shayleigh Cline, Winnie Foster; Katrina Strow, Betsy Foster; Maddy Duby, Nana Foster; Treston Jones, Man in the Yellow Suit; Lia Rigdon, Constable Joe; and Elizabeth Kennedy, Hugo. Ensemble members are Hailey Underwood, Lucy Lin, Daisy Cochran, Maelynn Redmon, Olivia Minge, Makayla Thomas, Saige Gladding, McKayla Brown, Zoey Parks, Hayden David, Ethan Vice and Mytchel Taylor.

Cast two members are Cole Myers, Jessie Tuck; Riley Griffin, Miles Tuck; Christiana Marlow, Mae Tuck; Terry Slayder, Angus Tuck; Olivia Theirl, Winnie Foster; Kadi Henry, Betsy Foster; Abby Andrews, Nana Foster; Max Moody, Man in the Yellow Suit; Dakota Brown, Constable Joe; and Will Templeton, Hugo. Ensemble members are Daegan Hood, Chance Westerfield, Caroline Martin, Keeley Whitehead, Rya Burks, Claire Young, Rebekah Alexander, Kendra Cartright, Victoria Bracken, Aubrey Huffman, Gillian Englum and Chase Ogle.