Musical entertains Natchez Little Theatre crowds for two weeks

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 6, 2010

NATCHEZ — Huck Finn is in town and ready to tell his story.

Natchez Little Theatre is now presenting its rendition of “Big River,” the musical adventures of Huck Finn on the Mississippi River. NLT does the musical biennially during Fall Pilgrimage.

Natchez Little Theatre is located at the corner of Linton Avenue and Maple Street.

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“Big River” tells the Mark Twain penned tales of Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer and Jim as they make their way down the Mississippi River. The musical is based on Twain’s novel “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” The production captures the life along the Mississippi River and sets it to music.

NLT Vice President of Productions Lynn Mann, is directing the show for the second time. Mann said the show is a fun, upbeat portrayal that audiences enjoy.

“We have really great talent on stage, and the music is really good,” Mann said. “It is hand-clapping and knee-slapping fun.”

Mann said thus far the tourist have outnumbered the locals in the audience, but said traditionally both crowds enjoy the show.

While the musical has been done four times now, Mann said it seems new each year because of the talent that takes the stage.

This year, few “Big River” veterans returned, Mann said.

“From year to year you don’t know who is going to come back,” Mann said. “This year has been fun because we didn’t have a lot of the same people come back so we are working with a good, new cast.”

Rudy Timm is playing the role of Huck Finn. He is new to the role but not new to the theater. He has been in 12 NLT productions over the years, most recently as Lumiere in “Beauty and the Beast.”

For this role Timm said he has to reach outside of his comfort zone to get into character.

“Huck Finn is nothing like me,” he said. “It would never occur to me to do the things he does. It is also unlike any role I’ve had here. Normally I’ve had roles that were more proper.”

But Timm said the new acting challenge is one he welcomed.

“I like the role,” he said. “I have enjoyed the work I’ve had to put in.”

Playing Huck Finn’s partner in mischief, Tom Sawyer, is Dwight Williams. Williams has acted in “Big River” previously, but this year is his first time to portray Tom Sawyer.

Williams said getting into character for the role wasn’t that difficult, as he sees a lot of Tom Sawyer in himself.

“Tom is a dreamer,” Williams said. “He knows what he wants, and he goes out of his way to have adventure.

“I see myself as a dreamer, too. I think we all have a bit of Tom in us.”

Williams is a veteran actor at NLT and said this play is particularly fun for audience members.

“I like doing things that are familiar to the audience,” Williams said. “They know the story, and that gives them the chance to see what we do and if it matches their interpretations.”

The cast hits the stage at 8 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays until Oct. 16. The musical will close with a 2 p.m. performance on Sunday, Oct. 17.

Tickets are $15 and can be reserved by calling 601-442-2233 or 1-877-440-2233 or online at