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Come see Arthur Miller’s classic play ‘The Crucible’ at Natchez Little Theatre

Greetings, Natchez and the Miss-Lou!

Natchez Little Theatre is proud to present on Nov.  8 – 11, Arthur Miller’s classic drama, “The Crucible,” at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday through Saturday with a final Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. at Natchez Little Theatre at 319 Linton Ave. at Maple Street.

The play was first performed at the Martin Beck Theatre on Broadway on Jan. 22, 1953, starring E. G. Marshall, Beatrice Straight and Madeleine Sherwood.  The production won the 1953 Tony Award for Best Play and became a classic.  It is regarded as a central work in the canon of American drama.

Miller wrote “The Crucible” when America was prosecuting alleged communists. Originating with a presidential executive order, the “red scare” became an obsession, ripping through all aspects of American life from the state department to Hollywood. It was a campaign of fear that turned people against each other, destroying lives, careers and friendships in its wake. Miller wrote that it “paralyzed a whole generation and in a short time dried up the habits of trust and toleration.”  Miller felt compelled to respond.  Worried about being identified as a “red” himself, he turned to the Salem witch trials of 1692 as an allegory.

Miller’s 17th-century Salem is a place rife with anxiety; it is a community in the midst of great change and flux, where social structures are weakening. Some parts of the community feel as if they are losing control — the world isn’t the same as it was. Licensed by a series of convenient lies, post-truths and alternative facts, long-held hatreds of neighbors are openly expressed and vengeance taken. Hysteria takes hold. The most vulnerable are targeted.

NLT’s local volunteer cast are incredible in their portrayal of the characters.  Playing the protagonist of the play is award-winning NLT veteran, Devin Arnold as John Proctor, and his wife, Elizbeth, is portrayed by NLT newcomer Devin Klugh.  The plays main antagonist is Abigail Williams, played by youth actress, Natalie Ainsworth of Ferriday.

The roles of the Rev. John Hale is portrayed by Tim Leak of Woodville and the Rev. Samuel Parris is played by Derek Saxon of Natchez, both are award-winning NLT actors.  Tituba, Parris’ slave from Barbados is portrayed by award-winning actress, Brittany Mitchell.  Award-winning youth actress, Addison Laird plays Mary Warren who is the Proctors’ servant.  The other youth actresses in the play that are a part of Abigail’s inner circle are Anabella Laird as Betty Parris, Jolee Dillard as Mercy Lewis, Kara and Tara Hinson as the Walcott twins and Adair Carey as Ruth Putnam.

The people of Salem are Giles Corey (Proctor’s best friend) played by Michael McCalip, Thomas and Ann Putnam (Salem’s wealthiest citizens) are played by Timothy Tanner and Susannah Burrell, Francis and Rebecca Nurse (Salem’s most respected citizens) portrayed by Mike Thomas and Rachel Lindsey, Sarah Good is played by award-winning actress Yvonne Murray and Giles’ wife, Martha Corey by Janet McNeely.

The remainder of this impressive cast are Stacey Carden as Deputy Governor Thomas Danforth, Micah Graves as Judge John Hathorne, Kenneth Dewitt as Marshal Herrick, and Robert Fornea in his NLT debut as Ezekiel Cheever, the clerk of Salem’s General Court. Most of the characters in this play were real and in Salem at the time of the trials, which makes this play even more poignant. The historical research that Arthur Miller did to accurately detail this period and the lives of those who lived is momentous and was a tremendous aid to the actors and myself, the director of this production.

My assistant director/costume creator is Judy Wiggins. I designed the sets, but they were built and painted by Devin Arnold, Stacey Carden, Devin Klugh, Derek Saxon and Timothy Tanner. This production has been a joy to work on with such dedicated talented people who have given so much time to make this show a success. I hope you will come and support Natchez Little Theatre, Mississippi’s oldest community theatre and a charitable non-profit volunteer organization as we near the conclusion of our 70th Season.

Tickets for “The Crucible” are $15 for non-members/sponsors of NLT and should be reserved by calling the theatre at 601.442.2233 or purchasing your tickets securely on-line at natcheztheatre.org.  Members and Sponsors should note that we will be voting for our 71st Season Board for 2019 at this production and season memberships/sponsorships and advertising are now available and on-sale at the theatre on our website.

We look forward to celebrating autumn with you at “The Crucible.”

Layne Taylor is NLT’s artistic and executive director and the director of “The Crucible.”

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