Musical theater lovers are invited to take a trip back in comic strip time as a group of young performers bring the antics of Dogpatch, Ark. to life on the Pasco Middle School stage.
Arts in Motion’s production of the musical comedy “Li’l Abner” begins its run Nov. 8, featuring a cast of student performers from all over central and eastern Pasco County.
Inspired by Al Capp’s famous comic strip that was syndicated throughout the United States from 1934 to 1977, the musical comedy is focused on the lives of Li’l Abner Yokum, Daisy Mae Scragg Yokum, and other residents of the fictional mountain town of Dogpatch.
Two Pasco teens are sharing the responsibility of portraying Daisy Mae in the Arts in Motion production. Kailey Holyoke, 16, a junior at Wiregrass Ranch High School, and Melanie Kender, 17, a junior at Pasco High School, will take turns on the stage during the show’s two-week run.
Sharing a leading role can be tricky, the girls said. But, split time in the spotlight does have its perks.
“We help each other learn lines and get to work on teamwork skills,” Holyoke said.
“When you share a lead role, you get different perspectives,” Kender added.
Theater is a passion for both girls. Holyoke, who has been performing with Arts In Motion off and on since she was in elementary school, hopes to pursue the arts as a career.
Kender began working with the nonprofit youth community theater group in 2009, and has been involved in every production ever since. She hopes to become a linguist down the road, but says theater will remain a part of her life.
As for “Li’l Abner,” both girls say the show is a “must-see.”
“It’s fabulous,” Holyoke said. “It’s a really fun show. It’s catchy and it has really great dance numbers.”
Director Capria Pichette agrees, and points out those who attend the show not only get to enjoy live theater, but they gain an additional benefit as well.
“It’s a great way to support your local community as well as support children and the arts,” she said.
Arts in Motion provides students in kindergarten through 12th grade an opportunity to learn about the performing arts. Its mission is to make sure youngsters have access to the educational opportunities theater can provide, said the group’s president, Patti Corjay.
The nonprofit got its start back in 1995 as public schools began to cut arts funding. Since it’s geared toward theater education, Arts in Motion makes sure every child who auditions for a production receives a role, Corjay said.
Donations, sponsors, ticket sales and a small fee charged for participation funds the group. Children whose families cannot afford the fees are provided with scholarships.
The next production for Arts in Motion is “High School Musical,” with auditions for the spring show set to begin in January, Corjay said.
For more information on how to join Arts in Motion, and how adults can support the mission, visit the group’s website at ArtsInMotionPasco.com. The group stages two productions each year, one in the spring and the other in the fall.
If you go
Arts in Motion will present ‘Li’l Abner’ at Pasco Middle School, 37350 Florida Ave., Dade City.
Shows are at 7 p.m. on Nov. 8, Nov. 9, Nov. 15 and Nov. 16, and at 2 p.m. on Nov. 10 and Nov. 17.
Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for senior citizens, and $7 for students.
For tickets and more information, visit ArtsInMotionPasco.com.
By Sherri Lonon