POCAHONTAS, Ark. – Growing up in a theatre can be a kid’s dream.
Such was the childhood of two acting cousins – Leah Evers and Katie Bourgeret Caldwell -who will share the stage as the adult leads in the Imperial Dinner Theatre’s upcoming production of “Annie” (sponsored by Bella Piazza).
Evers is the manager of Verizon Wireless and lives in Pocahontas with her two children, who are also active at the Studio for the Arts which is the nonprofit that owns the Imperial. Caldwell hails from St. Louis where she grew up, but now resides in Pocahontas and works for Wayne’s Electric.
Evers, who plays a mean Miss Hannigan, is the daughter of Andee Evers, CEO of The Studio.
“I’ve never known anything different,” she says, “We all had the biggest playpen a kid could ever have.”
Although she says she is overwhelmed, excited, tired and happy all at once, Evers says she is loving doing scenes with her cousin Katie.
“My biggest challenge is the laugh I do as Hannigan,” she said. “It makes my head throb and makes everyone else on the stage bust out laughing. We are having a great time together.”
Caldwell spent many a summer at the Studio camps. She credits her mother with keeping the theater bug alive in her as they would sing Broadway shows non-stop in the car on trips. She plays Grace Ferrell, the beautiful, refined secretary of wealthy Oliver Warlocks, the exact opposite of Hannigan.
“The Imperial is an amazing place to be and something I’m proud to be a part of,” she said, “I love watching the younger generation and the way The Imperial experience helps to shape us all as people.”
Caldwell praised her fellow young cast members for being so professional under such demands.
“I watch all these kids in the show who are so passionate about their acting, and think back to all the kids who have gotten to experience theater because of the Studio,” said Evers, “It’s amazing the impact over 30 years… I’m not that old, though.”
Caldwell is also the owner and trainer of Ellie, the B-yorkie who plays the dog “Sandy” in the show.
“She’s a little small to play a dog on the streets, but don’t tell her that,” says Caldwell, “She thinks she’s a Great Dane.”
Though the magic of bacon, Ellie has learned her tricks and cues, even running up Grace Ferrell’s leg for her curtain call.
Dates of the show are April 22, 23, 28, 29, 30, May 5, 6, 7.
Tickets are available online now at imperial.wellattended.com or by calling 870-892-0030.
Dinner and show tickets are $26.95 (general public), $23.95 (students). Show only tickets are $15.00 (general public), $12.00 (students). On weekdays and Saturdays, dinner is served at 6:30 and show time is 7:30. On Sundays, dinner is served at 1:00 and show time is 2:00.
FEATURED PHOTO: Cousins Katie Bourgeret Caldwell and Leah Evers share the stage as the two supporting leads in “Annie” opening April 22 at the Imperial Dinner Theatre.
Special to NEA Report, by Andee Evers