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Chipola College sets theatre season
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Chipola College sets theatre season

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Chipola College Theatre Director Raines Carr has selected his cast for “Hands on a Hardbody,” the first of six shows in the school’s upcoming theatre season.

Tickets for the musical go on sale Sept. 27 and the play runs from Oct. 14-17, with the last show being an afternoon matinee.

Professional actor Stephen Guarino, an Emmy nominee and Indie Series Award winner, is coming in as a guest actor and as a mentor to the rest of the cast, all at no cost the school. Guarino is a friend of Carr.

The local cast members are: James Kidd, Rafael Gell, Gabriel Tirado, Dorian Chancey, Chandler King, Elijah Wells, Bryce Etheridge, Anthony Severson, George Roulhac, Kayleigh Hall, Gweneth Davis, Lauren Chesnut, Emma Rines, Madison Smith, Victoria Kanes and Niya Bright.

Guarino plays the part of “Benny,” one of the contestants trying to win a vehicle by being the last to take his hand off the truck that’s up for giveaway. The show is based on a real-life contest put on by a vehicle dealership in Texas back in the 1990s.

Guarino played the part of Sully Patterson on Showtime’s series “I’m Dying Up Here” and had a recurring role as Derrick on ABC’s “Happy Endings.” That character also crossed over to NBC’s “Marry Me.” Guarino also played the role of Connor on ABC’s Dr. Ken. He was nominated for a Daytime Emmy for his work in “Eastsiders,” a Netflix series.

This year’s season at Chipola is an ambitious one: The program typically does three instead of six shows. Carr said he pushed for more, in part, because it gives his students more opportunities to hone their skills on stage and behind the scenes.

Two staged readings in the small experimental theater next to the main stage are part of the season this year, the first two major undertakings in that space. The first of those, “Alabama Rain,” is set for Nov. 4-5. The other, “Gee’s Bend,” is set for reading on March 31 and April 1 of 2022. See more on those below.

The second full show on the main stage is the Oscar Wilde’s comedy, “The Importance of Being Earnest.” It runs Feb. 24-27, 2022. Chipola Theatre summarized this and the other upcoming shows in a press release.

The Wilde comedy “is the story of two bachelors, John ‘Jack’ Worthing and Algernon ‘Algy’ Moncreiff, who create alter egos named Ernest to escape their tiresome lives,” the release states.

The children’s musical “Charlotte’s Web” will be staged May 12-13, 2022. In it, “an affectionate, sometimes bashful pig named Wilbur befriends a spider named Charlotte,” the release states.

The season continues with an opportunity for the community to participate in the new Chipola Shakespeare program in the “The Taming of the Shrew” from June 16-18, 2022. “A wandering braggart out to marry for money ends up with the shrewish daughter of a rich man, whom he must “tame” even as he falls for her,” the summary states.

The two staged readings were also summarized in the release.

“New to the Chipola Theatre lineup this year is the opportunity to experience two staged readings in the Experimental Theatre,” the release states. “‘Alabama Rain’ will be read Nov. 4-5. The show is a tale of five sisters living in a mythical southern town where it has not rained in 40 years,” it continues.

“Gee’s Bend,” to be read March 31 and April 1, “depicts the turbulent history of African-Americans in the 20th century by focusing on a single family in the real community of Gee’s Bend, AL, famous for the beautiful quilts created by the women there,” the summary continues.

Membership is now available in the ACT (Applauding Chipola Theatre) Fund which directly supports the Theatre program. ACT Fund season ticket levels are: Sponsor, $25 (2 tickets), Patron, $50 (4 tickets), Benefactor, $75 (6 tickets), Angel, $100 (8 tickets), and Corporate Angel, $300 (12 tickets). ACT members get early ticket redemption and other special benefits.

For information, call the Center for the Arts Box Office at 850-718-2420 or visit www.chipola.edu/boxoffice. Box Office hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday-Thursday and 9 a.m. to noon, Fridays. The box office is closed on college holidays.

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