AFAA's 'Anne' opens tonight in Eagle River
Actor Stephen Lochner believes the upcoming Alaska Fine Arts Academy production of “Anne of Green Gables” is a must-see.
“It’s a delightful experience for the audience,” said Lochner, 15, during a break from rehearsals at the Eagle River theater. “It’s a classic literature book come to life.”
Lochner is one of nine locals cast in the production, which opens tonight (May 17) and runs Thursday through Saturday this weekend and next. Shows start each night at 7 p.m., with tickets costing $8-14.
Director Annia Wynham said she chose the play (written by R.N. Sandberg) because the story will be familiar to fans of both the book by Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery and the made-for-television movies based on the book about a headstrong orphan girl from Nova Scotia who goes to live with a brother and sister on their farm on Prince Edward Island.
“Name recognition is really important for a small theater,” Wynham said.
Cassidy Kays, 12, plays the role of Anne, whose bright red hair is central to the play’s plot. Kays was one of three redheads to audition for the role.
Kays said she’s only been in two plays before, so when she learned she’d been picked to play the lead, she said she was overjoyed.
“I like ran around the house screaming,” she said during a backstage interview.
Wynham said Kays has handled the big role (Anne is featured in almost every scene) like a pro.
“She knows everybody’s lines,” Wynham said.
Overall, Wynham said she’s been thrilled with how the mostly adult cast has worked together.
“I’m very lucky with my casting,” she said.
The cast has been rehearsing for the show for more than two months, and Wynham said she thinks theater-goers are in for a treat.
“It’s a really feel-good play,” she said.
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