Sheridan actress having fun in the Children’s Theatre

Carol Rolf/Contributing Writer Published January 23, 2014 at 12:00 a.m.
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PHOTO BY: Rusty Hubbard

Moriah Patterson of Sheridan rehearses her part as a bovine in the Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre production of Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type.

Cows that talk? Cows that type? Expect to see just that on the stage of the Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre in Little Rock.

Sheridan actress Moriah Patterson is cast as Cow 1 in the Children’s Theatre’s upcoming production of Clack, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type. The play is under the direction of Bradley Anderson of Little Rock, artistic director for the Children’s Theatre, and is adapted by George Howe and James E. Crote from Doreen Cronin’s Caldecott Honor Book with illustrations by Betsey Lewin.

The show opens at 7 p.m. Friday and continues with matinees at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Additional shows are scheduled for the same times on the weekends of Jan. 31-Feb. 2 and Feb. 7-9. General admissions tickets are $12.50 for children and adults, and $10 for Arkansas Arts Center members.

“I’m having such fun,” Patterson said. “It’s a kooky play. It’s about cows that type.”

During the play, the cows write Farmer Brown a letter: “Dear Farmer Brown, The barn is very cold at night. We’d like some electric blankets. Sincerely, The Cows.”

“The whole play revolves around the cows that just want to be warm and Farmer Brown, who is a stubborn old man who doesn’t believe cows can talk, much less type,” Patterson said with a laugh.

A hen and a duck get in on the action, making demands as well. The farm animals engage in peaceful protests to improve their working conditions. Negotiation and compromise lead to a happy ending.

Patterson is also the choreographer for Clack, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type.

Patterson, who is 23 and the only child of Tucker and Laura Patterson of Sheridan, has been in several plays at the Children’s Theatre, including The Sorcerer’s Apprentice in October and The Velveteen Rabbit, which was part of the Children’s Theatre on Tour, in December. She will appear in The Boy Who Cried Wolf in March.

Since October, Patterson has been employed on a contract basis with the Children’s Theatre.

“I never expected be able to pay my rent and do theater,” she said, noting that she moved to Little Rock in October to live on her own. “This job has been such a blessing.

“Mom and Dad were worried when I told them I wanted to major in musical theater,” she said. “They wondered how I would make a living. I got my education, and here I am.

“I did my student teaching at Parkview [Arts and Science Magnet High School in Little Rock],” she said. “I loved it. I probably will be a teacher in the future, but for now, while I am young, I hope to be able to travel and do musical theater. My mom told me, ‘This is your time to travel, to go places. You have no roots, yet. Go where you want to go.’”

A 2008 graduate of Sheridan High School, Patterson graduated summa cum laude from Ouachita Baptist University in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in musical theater and secondary education.

While in high school, she was the drum major for the band and was involved in the drama department’s productions. She took dance lessons at Sue’s Studio of Dance, where she now teaches.

“Anything artsy, I did,” she said.

She was involved in all of the musicals that were presented at OBU during the four years she was there.

“I was involved in every aspect of it,” she said. “The professors there let you be as involved as you wanted to be. They were really accommodating.

“I even took a class in directing,” Patterson said. “I was able to direct a one-act.”

Patterson said she always wanted to be in theater.

“I was in musicals in church and in elementary school,” she said. “That continued through junior high and high school and then into community theater. I’ve been doing it all my life.

“It began with my Nana (the late Nancy Hayley of Des Arc). She only had three VHS tapes, and they were all musicals, including Singing in the Rain and Guys and Dolls. She was the first one to instill in me a love of singing and musicals. Bursting into song seemed normal to her, and to me.”

Patterson is also the granddaughter of Rodger and Linda Patterson and the late Herval Hayley, all of Des Arc.

The Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre is at Ninth and Commerce streets in Little Rock. For tickets to Clack, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type or for more information, call (501) 372-4000 or visit arkansasartscenter.org.

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