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The Mexico Ledger - Mexico, MO
  • Local actors performing 'The Choice'

  • At Presser Performing Arts Center
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  • Weeks and weeks of practice paid off Thursday night as the cast of the dramatic Easter musical "The Choice" opened with their first night performance.
    More performances are slated for tonight and Saturday at 7 p.m., with a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m.
    Show attendees will have options when purchasing their tickets. For those reserving seats, premium reserved seating is $25 for adults and $15 for children 12 and younger. Tickets are available online at www.presserpac.com, and can be purchased one hour prior to curtain call at the Box Office, or by calling (573) 581-5592.
    For customer convenience, the Box Office will be open Friday, from noon to 5 p.m. General admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and younger.
    "The Choice" portrays events that unfolded during the rule of Tiberius Caesar in the seaside city of Capernaum, where a young Roman centurion, Marcus, falls in love with a beautiful Jewish girl, Hannah. She is a follower of Jesus, the radical teacher from Nazareth. As Marcus becomes fatefully intertwined in the tumultuous events leading to the execution of Jesus, he weighs the words and example of Christ against the wealth and power of the world. In the balance hangs … "The Choice."
    This being the second year for the Easter musical, local director David Pickering said he thought this time would be much easier. "Boy was I wrong" he told The Mexico Ledger. The production of the first Easter Musical was presented two years ago by PPAC.
    "Our cast and crew is made up of a few veterans and many that have never participated in any theater or musical production," Pickering said. "Challenges came one right after the other. However, the cast and crew have met and overcome each one with determination to make this production wonderful. I really feel that this has made us much better."
    For first-time viewers of the play, Pickering said the storyline is a little different than the traditional Easter musical.
    "I love stretching folks beyond what they feel are their limits. I chose this work because I felt that the characters would be ones the audience members could relate to, and that they might see themselves feeling some of the struggles and emotions," he said. "I know the audience will be surprised at how well their friends and family will be able to act."
    "Friends, this is not a play where folks who love theatre come to quench their thirst for live entertainment. This is a testimony, where the faith community of Mexico and the surrounding areas have come together to share the love of God with you in a unique way. My prayer is that this presentation is as moving and life-changing to the cast and crew as it is for those who come to experience it," Pickering said.
    Page 2 of 2 - He added: "Yes, we are acting and we are using the illusion of theatre. But, we really do believe it."
    Pickering said the music that his 31-member choir will present is very beautiful, with such song titles as "Could He Be The One?," "By Faith" and "Here He Comes!" to name a few.
    "We are a smaller choir, but we have some mighty big voices," he said.
    The wardrobe this year is also wonderful. During a dress rehearsal Monday night, the colors displayed were vibrant, bringing even more life to the character portrayals.
    "We have definitely kicked it up several notches. Evelyn Zidick has made some wonderful period clothing. She does a tremendous amount of research and hand makes the costumes to be as authentic a possible. Seeing her work in itself is worth the price of admission," Pickering said.
    Pickering said the second time around as director has been "very fun."
    "I owe so many thanks and give so much credit to the wonderful crew that helps direct the musical. I learned a long time ago in theatre that the best way to be successful is to surround yourself with good people," Pickering said. "I look forward to opening night (and the weekend performance) when as director all my work will be done and I get to sit back and watch."
    The 27-member cast consists of: Roger Brailler, Loralee Hays, Steve Tanner, Vanessa Brink, David Wilkins, Bruce Kasubke, Daniel Taylor, Kelvin Brown, Bill Gleeson, Mike Briggs, Kenny Nelson, Ted Gastler, Gracelyn Penn, Michael Jennings, Sarah Gleeson, Albert Long, Nathan Fleming, Eric Fleming, Christian Sumner, Bob Hanke, Louis Schmidt, Jim Scott, Larry Kimbell, Matt Penn, Bethany Taylor, Amelia Taylor and Kamden Ekern.
    Choir members are: Vanessa Brink, Patricia Burke, Mike Conner, Thomas Eggering, Regina Eicher, Lori Fleming, Roberta Fox, Hailey Gastler, Miriam Gleeson, Sarah Gleeson, Valerie Houke, Elizabeth Kasubke, Mary Ann Kasubke, Sarah Kasubke, Larry Kessler, Bonnie Kimbell, Josh Lauer, Kathryn Lehnen, Albert J. Long, Dorothy Newman, Gracelyn Penn, Shawna Penn, Gail Pickering, Dana Reynard, Steve Tanner, Mary Tanner, Emma Tracy, Hannah Tracy, Megan Tracy, Larry Williams and KylieAnn Yeast.
    Crew members are: Lois Brace, Valerie Houke, Michael Jennings, Barbara Green, Dana Reynard, Mary Ann Kasubke, Evelyn Zidick, Catherine Quinlan, Jacob Lauer, Tracey Berry, Craig Brace, Russ Haerer, Valerie Houke, Martin Keller, David Crawford, Paul Jones, Mexico Mayor Ron Loesch, Lura Williams, Sandy Benn, Liz Washer, Lennette Brown, Steve and Sue Hagan, Tom Richards and Nathan Fleming.
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