By ALICIA EBAUGH
Meet Anne Shirley, the red-headed, tart-tongued orphan girl of “Anne of Green Gables,” brought to life at Footlight Theatre this holiday season.
Performance dates are Dec. 5-7 and Dec. 11-14. The play, “Anne of Green Gables,” adapted by Sylvia Ashby, highlights key pieces of the story by Lucy Maud Montgomery that has become a classic beloved by children and adults worldwide.
As the show opens, 12-year-old Anne Shirley, played by Molly Dashiell of Valparaiso, clutches all her “worldly goods and chattels” in a beat-up suitcase and waits for a ride to her new home – the first place she may really belong. Shy, quiet bachelor Matthew Cuthbert played by Ken Siegfried of Michigan City arrives to find what will soon be termed “a fine kettle of fish” by his starchy sister, Marilla played by Deb Dashiell: Instead of the boy they asked for from the orphanage, it’s clearly a girl who waits for him at the train station.
Throughout the play, Anne finds her place in the world and in the Cuthberts’ hearts. This tale of a new family has been a favorite for many years with the Dashiells, who have four members of their family starring in this production.
The family connections don’t stop there. In making his directorial debut with “Anne of Green Gables,” Director Eric Helmken is following in the footsteps of his late father, Ed Helmken, who was president of Footlight Players for eight years and inducted into the theater’s Hall of Fame.
Also starring in this production are Aaron Collings, Brandon Dudley, Kristina Heuck, Bobbi Lauritsen, David Mikolajczyk, Julia Miller, Colin Nittner, Stacy Osborn, Katarzyna Wanner and Sarah Wermuth.
Tickets to “Anne of Green Gables” are $12 for adults – $10 on Thursdays – for ages 12 and under. Curtain is at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays.
Doors open 45 minutes prior to curtain. Reservations will be held until 15 minutes prior to curtain unless secured by the presentation of a Footlight Season Gift Card or by prior payment in full.
Reservations are recommended and may be made by calling (219) 874-4035 or at www.footlightplayers.org. A 2-for-1 coupon is available for opening night on the website.
Footlight will also play host to a one-man retelling of “A Christmas Carol” by Grant Fitch, a professional storyteller and award-winning regional actor, at 6:30 pm Dec. 7. In 90 minutes, he plays all the characters you’re familiar with, and some you may have never seen – more than 30 in all, each one distinct in this fast-paced adaptation.
All tickets are $10.
The theater will be collecting non-perishable foods for a local food pantry during these productions, so please bring items to donate.
Footlight Theatre is located at 1705 Franklin St.