Keeping with tradition, The Pumphouse Players will kick off its 44th season with an offering from Pumphouse Junior. Opening July 20 at 7 p.m., "The Enchanted Bookshop" will be presented at The Legion Theatre, 114 W. Main St. in Cartersville.
"'The Enchanted Bookshop' brings literary characters to life for kids and audiences," said PHP President Laurel Ann Lowe, who also serves as the play's director and program director for Pumphouse Junior. "At Pumphouse Junior, we always try to add a little extra educational material to our show, whether that be about literature, mythology or something else entirely. We want our actors and audience members to leave having learned something.
"'The Enchanted Bookshop' is unique in that it makes room for 25-plus kids to be onstage in parts that have a rich life beyond this stage. We've already heard from some of our young actors that they've been doing their 'homework' to learn about characters, like Pollyanna, Robin Hood and Tom Sawyer," she said, referring to some of the characters that take shape in the A Likely Story bookshop. "Even Dorothy Gale makes an appearance. The familiar characters are fun to dive into for them. And, of course, there are some fun, new characters, as well."
Following the July 20 performance, "The Enchanted Bookshop" will continue July 21 at 3 and 7 p.m., and July 22 at 3 p.m.
"Pumphouse Junior is a name pilfered from a program that Pumphouse Players had years ago," Lowe said. "We revived the name for our new program as an homage to all the work of everyone that came before us, instilling a love of arts in our community's youth. This program, of which I am the program director, is a free children's theater initiative. Participants pay nothing to be involved, and they receive a free T-shirt and a summer full of fun memories putting a show together.
"I love watching them pull together as a cast and work hard to make it happen. This year's group was 'off-book' with all their lines memorized faster than any cast we've ever had, and it has been very fulfilling to see them take ownership of their roles and their show. As director of the play, I guide them and lead them in the right direction, but once we open on July 20, it's truly out of my hands and it becomes their show. It's going to be a great one."
The play's cast includes Trinity Haynes as Miss Margie; understudy Jessica Green as Miss Margie for July 22's matinee; Gwen Kalos as Bombalurina; Audrey Linek as Mom; Ethan Thompson as Timmy; Christian Cothran as Officer Ketchum; Christina Kalos as The Lady in Red; Kelby Black as Eddie; Aiden Haynes as Fingers; Cosette Wright as The Book Fairy; Jon Caruvana Jr. as Robin Hood; Nick Smith as Tom Sawyer; Aidan Churchill as Sherlock Holmes; Olivia McDonald as Heidi; Lauren McDaniel as Dorothy Gale; James Ramsey as Toto; Jayda Cothran as Pollyanna; Julia Caruvana as Long John Silver; Joshua Caruvana as Captain Flint; Barrett Stepp as Fagin; Vincent Ramsey as Dr. Dolittle; Bethany Batts as Queen of Hearts; ELaura Haynes as Wicked Witch; Jordyn Snow as Hopalong Cassidy; Justus Haynes as Frankenstein; Alice Kalos as Fairy; Kinsley Lawrence as Fairy; Avery Payne as Katniss Everdeen; Madi Woodward as Belle/Playing Card; and Mikaela Lawrence as Windy Halliday/Alice.
"I’ve sat in on some of the rehearsals while my husband designed the lighting for the show, and I’ve really enjoyed seeing what these kiddos can do," PHP Vice President April Y. Branham said. "There is a lot of talent on our little stage. I also have a soft spot for the storyline, as I’ve been a bibliophile, or 'book worm,' for as long as I can remember. The story is both funny and endearing, and the kiddos are sure to impress."
Tickets for "The Enchanted Bookshop" are $10 for general admission. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit http://pumphouseplayers.com or call 770-387-2610.