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Laurel Little Theatre announces ‘Big Fish’ big cast

Laurel Little Theatre opens its 61st season with the new Broadway musical “BIG FISH” with performances on August 6-7-13-14 at 730pm and August 8 & 15 at 2pm.

The LLT reservation line is now open and answers 24hrs a day at 601.428.0140.
An added special “BIG FISH WITH BEN & ERIN” has been added for Thursday, August 12th at 6pm. 

This is a fundraiser for LLT’s Pinehurst Fund and will feature a meet & greet and photos with the Napiers, snacks, drinks and a performance of the musical.  Tickets for the fundraiser are $150 and limited to only 100.  Registration for it is done thru the theatre’s website:  LaurelLittleTheatre.com

The show is under the direction of LLT alumni Will Hodges and musical director Sue Bush.  Hodges is in law school at Mississippi College and Bush is co-director of music ministries at Laurel’s First Methodist Church.

Choreographer Coco Caldwell attended Jones College where she performed in choir and theatre, and sang with Jones OnStage.  She’s a recent USM graduate with a degree in entertainment industry management.

The musical version of “BIG FISH” is based on both the hit novel and the popular motion picture.  It’s the story of Edward Bloom – an Alabama man who thinks he’s the ‘big fish’ in town, known for all the tall tales he tells his son as he’s growing up.

Witches, Giants and a Mermaid all show up in his stories.  Mythical?  Or were they actually real people in his life?

His wife was always amused by his storytelling, but while his son might have been entertained by them as a little boy, he’s now grown up and about to have a child of his own – and he just wants to know the truth behind his dad’s epic tales.

Overflowing with heart and humor and a rich score full of beautiful songs, this will be a fantastical ‘whopper’ of a show the LLT audiences will long remember.

 “BIG FISH” is a show that reminds everyone why they love going to the theatre – for an experience that’s richer, funnier and more extraordinary than life itself.

The story shifts between two timelines.  In the present day, 60-year-old Edward faces his own mortality as his son Will prepares to become a father himself.  But then, in Edward’s past as a young man, his stories come to life on the stage.

The lead roles are played by two different actors – one for current day, and the younger version from decades earlier.

The huge cast is lead by LLT faves Jonathan McKenzie, Holly Wansley and Jay Baggett.

McKenzie plays ‘Edward Bloom.’  He’s well known in the area as the long time choir director at various schools and now as minister of music at Laurel’s Baptist Church.  At LLT, he’s well known for playing the title role in several productions of “Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” 

His own son, Ben McKenzie, is playing the same role of ‘Edward’ as a young man.  Ben McKenzie is appearing on the LLT stage with his Dad for the first time.  He’s a senior at Northeast Jones where he’s involved with show choir and the NEJ soccer team.

Playing Edward’s wife, ‘Sandra,’ is Holly Wansley.  Wansley has LLT credits in lead roles in “Joseph,” “9 To 5,” and “The Music Man.”  She’s locally known singing with several rock and R&B bands, and is the co-owner of the landscape business, The Habitual Gardener.

Playing the same role of a young ‘Sandra’ is Grace Travis.  She’s a junior at Laurel Christian High where she’s a state-ranked member of the speech and debate team.

‘Edward’s’ son, ‘Will,’ is cast with Jay Baggett.  This is his 30th year in LLT productions, most recently the ‘Old Man’ in “A Christmas Story.”  He’s a software training instructor from Collins.

The younger version of ‘Will’ is acted by Taylor Graham.  He’s a 7th grader at South Jones, where he plays soccer.  He’s also active in Boy Scouts, and played the lead role of ‘Ralphie’ in “A Christmas Story.”

‘Will’s’ wife ‘Josephine’ is played by Grace Wilson.  She’s an electrical engineering major at USM and is making her LLT debut.

Rounding out the lead roles is Landon Brewer in the part of ‘Edward’s’ grandson.  Brewer is a 4th grade student at Glade Elementary and recently handled his first LLT production in “Willy Wonka.”

Playing the supporting roles of the Giants, Witches and Circus performers in ‘Edward’s’ stories are LLT veteran actors Frankie Bennett, Randy Cooley, Natalie Evans, Dana Felder, Taylor McCraw, Marlie Mitchell, Savanna Newman, Carter Poister, Jamie Rambin and Zoe Vanderslice.

Newcomers making their LLT debuts in supporting roles are Christian Lucas, Tommy Smith and Tyrone Rogers.

Singing and acting in the parts of the Alabama townspeople are Mia Allison, Shiloh Allison, Debbie Brewer, Jackson Corley, Ethan Glenn, Jordan Hardy, Hannah May, Mary Beth May, Jessica McDougle, Juliana McDougle, Sammie Mitchell, Anna Myers, June Rogers, Kaye Rowell, James Van Fleet, Lee Waits, Matthew Webb and Andrew Wohlscheid.

The crew is headed by LLT alumni Christy Liverett and Sallie Mitchell as assistants to the director and stage manager, Jessica Shaidnagle.


Single tickets are available, but the best deal is LLT’s 4-Punch Season Tickets that saves up to 17%-24% of single ticket prices.  Just call in reservations and then the ticket purchase is completed at the door.

Performances are expected to sell out, so those reservations should be made in advance.  Send any questions to LLTLaurelMS@aol.com.

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