Three Seniors Highlight WBC Spring Theatre Production

WALNUT RIDGE, Ark. – The comedy “Harvey,” being performed at Williams Baptist College April 20-21, will be the final curtain call for three seniors in the WBC theatre program.

Ethan Risley, a finance major from Farmington, Ark., will be featured in the lead role of Edwood P. Dowd.

According to Melinda Williams, director of the play, Risley has not only appeared in several past WBC productions, but has also been a four-year member of The Cast, the traveling drama ministry team from Williams.

“Ethan has had to share the spotlight in past productions, but this is his first time to be the sole lead,” stated Williams.

“I’ve had a great time participating in the productions and have made tons of friends along the way.  It truly is like a family backstage,” Risley said.

Kayla Songer, a psychology major from Malvern, Ark., will play the part of Betty Chumley.  She also shared Risley’s sentiments: “Being in a play develops a family and I love the atmosphere that goes with it.”

Songer has only been involved in the program for the last two years of her college career, and has also been a part of The Cast.  She played a significant role in “Our Town” last fall as Mrs. Gibbs.

“Kayla came to us a little late, but has made a huge impact in a short time,” Williams said.

Andrew McDaniel, a Christian ministries major from Jessieville, Ark., is also a four-year member of the program and The Cast.  According to Williams, he has been vital both on and off the stage.

“I grew to depend on Andrew a lot.  He is both a talented actor and technician,” Williams said.

Facing the upcoming final production, McDaniel reflected on his time at Williams: “The play is me grasping at memories, because once I leave, that’s all I have left,” McDaniel said.  He plays the part of Dr. Lyman Sanderson in “Harvey.”

“Harvey,” a Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy by Mary Chase, is the story of a perfect gentleman, Dowd, and his best friend, Harvey — a pooka, who is a six-foot tall, invisible rabbit. When Elwood begins introducing Harvey around town, his embarrassed sister, Veta Louise, and her daughter, Myrtle Mae, determine to commit Elwood to a sanitarium. A mistake is made, however, and Veta is committed rather than Elwood. Eventually, the mistake is realized, and a frantic search begins for Elwood and the invisible pooka, which ends with Elwood appearing, voluntarily, at the sanitarium.

Bethany Dorton of Judsonia, Ark., and Makenzie Free of Beebe, Ark., will be appearing as Dowd’s sister and niece.  For the staff at the sanitarium, Brittany Jo Wilson of Doniphan, Mo,, will be playing Nurse Ruth Kelly; Jace Tyler of Lepanto, Ark., as Dr. William Chumley; and Ryan Drendel of North Aurora, Ill,, as Duane Wilson, an attendant.  Rounding out the cast will be Regan Hodges of Jonesboro, Ark., as E.J. Lofgren, a cab driver; and Maggie Morgan of Mammoth Spring, Ark., as Mrs. Ethel Chauvenet.

“Harvey” will begin at 7:30 p.m. April 20 & 21 in WBC’s Old Chapel.  Admission for the production is $3 for students and senior citizens and $5 general admission.

Featured photo: WBC theatre program seniors acting in their final school production are (l to r): Ethan Risley, Kayla Songer, and Andrew McDaniel.

by Grace Stolz, Williams Baptist College Coordinator of Public Relations

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