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ACCS student to steal Christmas on stage

NATCHEZ — Several Adams County Christian School students will bring a classic Dr. Seuss story to life Saturday.

The newly formed ACCS Drama Club is performing an adaptation of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” and the play’s lead, Michael Mascagni, is taking inspiration from actor Jim Carey’s Grinch, club sponsor Malori Giannaris said.

“The likeness of their mannerisms and movements are uncanny,” Giannaris said. “Michael keeps us all in a constant state of laughter. Michael was made for drama club.”

Giannaris said all of the students are standing out in the play.

“All of our actors and actresses deliver an unbelievable performance, and I could not be prouder for them,” she said. “They are all well beyond their years within their on-stage talents.”

The students have been working on the play since September. Giannaris said the play does have some differences from the movie, as some roles previously played by boys are now girl leads and some new roles were created to support the number of students who wanted to participate.

Giannaris said approximately 70 students, from fourth grade to 12th grade, auditioned for the play.

Lizzie Fife plays the character of Cindy Lou Who. Fife has experience in 18 plays at Natchez Little Theatre.

“She is an old soul with a passion for the stage, unsurpassed by any her age,” Giannaris said. “She has been one of the largest assets to drama club, by and far.”

The Mayor of Whoville is played by Dylan Brocato, who Giannaris said has a bold and outgoing personality.

“I knew from the moment I met him that he would excel on stage,” she said. “He doesn’t hold anything back, and he makes his character as big on stage as his personality is off-stage.”

Morgan King, who has not missed a practice, is playing Betty Lou Who. Other parts include Nicholas Mascagni, Michael’s brother, as Max the Dog, Katilyn McDaniel as the assistant to the mayor, Lawrence Hawkins as Lou Who and Bailee Ross as Susie Q Who.

Giannaris said she no play can be successful without the backstage crew.

“Backstage is a rather thankless job, and these kids have delivered beyond my wildest dreams,” she said. “They are the backbone of ACCS Drama Club.”

One person in particular is Maggie Mason, who is a special effects makeup artist, applying the prosthetic Who noses, Giannaris said.

“One of my favorite aspects of this production has been the addition of the ‘Who Noses,’” she said. “Her abilities are beyond impressive.”

Giannaris said the floor seating sold out for its Dec. 16 production long before the show, and she expects Saturday will sell out as well. Stadium seating is $7 and floor seating is $12.

Pre-bought floor seating reserves a spot closer to the stage. Contact Giannaris at m.giannaris@aol.com to pre-buy floor seats. Proceeds will benefit the club, which hopes to update its theater lighting and equipment, she said.

The performance will be at 6 p.m. Saturday at the ACCS gym. The doors open at 5 p.m., and Giannaris said Santa, Mrs. Claus and their helpers would be in attendance to take pictures.

Giannaris said attendance would help support the future of the arts in the community.

“With schools all over the country making constant cuts to art programs, ACCS has chosen to embrace it,” she said. “By supporting our winter production, you are making a conscious effort to support local art, and our kids need their passions and talents supported now more than ever.”

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