Heber Theatre to present Dracula, Baby

Carol Rolf/Contributing Writer Originally Published October 13, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated October 11, 2013 at 12:00 p.m.
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Carol Rolf/Contributing Photographer

The Heber Theatre will present the musical comedy Dracula, Baby at 7 p.m. Oct. 24, 26, 28 and 29 at The Pavilion in the Pines, 21 Park Road in Heber Springs. Cast members include, kneeling, from the left, John Goodard as Harry and Lauren Goodard as Renfield; middle row, from the left, Will Martz as Arthur, Carolyn Strickland as Van Helsing, Meleah Boyett as Dr. Seward, AzaLeah Bates as Lucy, Debbie Davis as a gypsy woman, Sara Kelly as the head nurse, Bethany Boyett as Sylvia and Chance Donaldson as Count Dracula; and back row, center, William Preston Painter IV as Frank.

HEBER SPRINGS — Just in time for Halloween, theater patrons will have a chance to visit Transylvania when the Heber Theatre presents Dracula, Baby on Oct. 24 and 26 and again Oct. 28 and 29.

The musical comedy in two acts will be presented at 7 each night at The Pavilion in the Pines, 21 Park Road west of Heber Springs on Arkansas 110 on property owned by St. Albert’s Catholic Church. The pavilion is covered, in case of rain.

Admission is “donation only.”

June Painter, co-founder of the Heber Theatre with her 18-year-old daughter, Chelsey Painter, said the community theater group is a “nonprofit charity help organization designed for the benefit of the entire community of Cleburne County.” Proceeds from the production will benefit the Arkansas Dream Center of Heber Springs, which helps feed children through its Adopt a Block project, and the Christian Health Center, which provides basic primary-care services for uninsured adults living in and around Cleburne County.

Painter said since its inception in January 2011, the Heber Theatre has raised approximately $16,000 for charities and nonprofit organizations in Cleburne County. In addition to the two charities already mentioned, other groups that have benefited from Heber Theatre productions include Court-Appointed Special Advocates of the 16th Judicial District, the Heber Springs Humane Society, Children in Arkansas Loved for a Lifetime (The CALL), Maggie’s Haven House (a women’s shelter to help victims of domestic abuse) and the Community School of Cleburne County.

“We invite the charities to our productions,” Painter said. “Before each performance, we give them an opportunity to talk about their charities, so this provides public awareness for them.”

Painter said that when her family moved to Heber Springs from Macon, Ga., daughter Chelsey, who had just entered Heber Springs High School as a 10th-grader, was anxious to get involved with a local community theater group because she had been active in theater in Georgia.

“But the one here was inactive,” June said. “Chelsey said, ‘Let’s start our own and do it for charity.’ That’s how it all began.”

June’s mother, Louise Huff, and aunt, Phyllis Stephens, were also instrumental in starting the Heber Theatre.

June encourages families to get involved in the organization.

“It makes memories for them,” she said.

For Dracula, Baby, she has enlisted her husband, Preston Painter III, and her 16-year-old twins, Preston Painter IV and Katty Painter. Her uncle, Kernoal Stephens, the husband of her Aunt Phyllis, also has a cameo appearance.

Chelsey does not appear in Dracula, Baby; she is a freshman at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, majoring in food science.

“She says she wants to continue helping children by making healthier food for them,” June said.

Director Kasey Goodard’s family is involved in Dracula, Baby as well. Her husband, John Goodard appears as Harry the werewolf, and her daughter, Lauren Goodard, plays Renfield, a patient.

Meleah Boyett and her daughter, Bethany, also have roles in the play. Meleah plays Dr. Seward, and Bethany plays Sylvia, a witch.

Sisters Taylor and Allie Bell are part of the cast. Taylor plays three characters, Camilla, Matron A and a monster, and Allie appears as a monster.

Dracula, Baby, the musical, is based on a book by Bruce Ronald and features lyrics by John Jakes and music by Claire Strauch.

Cast members include the following:

• Chance Donaldson plays Count Dracula.

• Meleah Boyett portrays Dr. Seward, who runs the sanitarium.

• Sara Kelly is the chief nurse.

• Lauren Goodard plays Renfield, a patient.

• AzaLeah Bates is Lucy, Seward’s ward.

• William “Will” Martz portrays Arthur, Lucy’s fiancé.

• Carolyn Strickland is Van Helsing, a professor.

• Preston Painter IV plays Frank, a monster.

• John Goodard is Harry, a werewolf.

• Bethany Boyett plays Sylvia, a witch.

• Taylor Bell portrays Camilla and Matron A.

• Tyler Barton is Andre.

• Jaden Jolley plays Matron B.

• Preston Painter III portrays a gypsy man.

• Debbie Davis plays a gypsy woman.

Appearing as monsters are Brady Thompson, Allie Bell, Jaden Jolley, Evan Hobgood, Alisha Henderson, Jaden Lester, Taylor Bell, Tyler Barton, Haylee King and Kailynn Cooper.

Appearing as barmaids are Katty Painter, Alisha Henderson and June Painter.

Audience characters are Louise Huff as the lampshade lady, Kernoal Stephens as Colonel Cavendish and Lois Carr as a mime.

Members of The Jitterboppers, a local dance group, will appear as dancers. Jennifer Oliver is the pianist for the show. Tyler Barton is in charge of sound; Alyssa Crocker, lights; and Louise Huff, Sandy Bennett and Alex Gibson, set. Choreography is by Sheila Cathey.

June Painter said there are 102 members of the Heber Theatre.

“But we’re always looking for new people,” she said. “If you don’t want to be on stage, there are other opportunities behind the scenes. There is no fee to join.”

For more information on the Heber Theater, call (501) 365-3250 or email hebertheatre@gmail.com.

Information is also available on the website www.hebertheatre.webs.com.

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