Shakertown Revisited reprisal cast tryouts begin tonight

Posted on May 8, 2017 10:38 AM

In honor of the 225th anniversary of Logan County, the Russellville Arts Council will be having a revival of the popular musical drama “Shakertown Revisited” this summer, June 29and 30 and July 1 at the spacious deGraffenried Auditorium at Russellville High School.

The original play was crafted and directed by Western Kentucky professor Dr. Russell Miller, who crafted an outdoor musical which inspired a generation of young actors from Warren, Logan, and Simpson counties for around 20 years of productions. Ruth Morriss of Russellville was the music director and Russellville attorney Granville Clark the narrator.

Director Larry Vaught says, “This ‘symphonic drama’ recounts the Great Revival of the 1800s, starting at the Gaspar River which attracted the Shaker group to our area.  Through music, dance, and narrative, our actors will be showing the growth of the group as well as the struggles which the Civil War, the rise of urbanism, and economics had on this movement, which echoes even today in the lives of the present generation of ‘millennials’.”

Auditions will be held for actors, from high school to “mature actors” as we populate Shakertown with a varied cast to recreate the Shaker Elders, Eldresses and leaders within the Shaker community.  In addition there are many parts for  citizens ranging from President Jackson, Civil war Soldiers, “citizens of the world”…as well as a chorus of young dancers and chorus to set the musical backdrop reflecting the Great Revival through the “Golden Age of the 1900’s”.

Vaught has been director of several community productions with groups such as MCTI, the Russellville Arts Council, and Glema Mahr Arts Center. Recently retired choral director from Christian County High School Steve Sansom will be musical director.  Choreographer for the production will be Kelly Lewis.

Auditions are set to be performed at Russellville High School in deGraffenried Auditorium on today, Monday, May 8, starting at 6 p.m.  A second audition will take place at Western Kentucky University on Thursday, May 11, starting at 6 p.m. in Room 105 in Gordon Wilson Hall.  A final audition opportunity will take place at the Fourth Street Theater in Russellville on Saturday, May 13, at 10 a.m.  

Vaught says, “A read-through of the play will take place at Shakertown on Tuesday, May 16 as we begin rehearsals which will be held at Russellville High School on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings for lead roles. (Chorus parts and secondary parts might not have as many rehearsals).”

For those who are auditioning for a chorus role, you  should be prepared to share your singing and dancing ability with a brief song and dance routine. Those who wish to have a lead acting role should prepare a brief monologue to demonstrate their range of expression.

Those who audition will also read portions of the play and will learn the Shaker tune “Simple Gifts”.

For more information, please email the director at or call 270-977-5823.

In the cast photo above from the 1970s, some shown are Mary Ann Emberger Thompson, Muriel Granderson Hawks, Jane Dowden Anthony, Joe Emberger, Eddie Mallory, Bill Goodwin, Prather and Mary Price, Mrs. Noble Craig, Patricia Darlene Gfeller Payeur, Carolyn Wilson Mallory,  Steve Williamson, Carol Guion Switzer, Kenny Sadler, Ray Clark, Tom Williams, Doug Howlett, Bonnie Cunigan Jung, Rose Wheat, Emma Jane Price, Dean Howlett, Dickie Cox, Cathy Wilkins Ackerman, Ann Threlkeld Shifflett, Vickie Corum Pryor, Debbie Hayes, Gailian Roberson, Eugene Reynolds, Marica Luckett DeArmond, John DeArmond, David Dorris and Aleica Reynolds Rogers. 

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