Two sets of youngsters are part of 'Anne of Green Gables' at West T. Hill


Director Karen L. Logue has had her hands full the past several weeks as she juggled a 23-member cast and two sets of youngsters for the play "Anne of Green Gables." One set of kids surrounds an 8-year-old Anne (McKenzie Applegate of Versailles), while the other ages with Anne, played as a 16-year-old by Hannah Elliott of Harrodsburg.

"This gave us a better opportunity to involve more youngsters," says Logue.

"I am beginning to believe that any cast over five is a large cast," she adds wryly. "If I hadn't double-cast the children, I would be down to 16, which is still very large. At any rate, the only challenge is always space. This is a great bunch of people, who are very cooperative and very professional, which makes my job very easy. Our stage manager, Alice Berka, is the true organizer and she keeps track of everyone. Alice is truly the cement that keeps us all from coming unglued."


Stage adaption written in 1992

"Anne of Green Gables" is based on a fictional character from the books of L. Maud Montgomery, she explains. The stage adaptation was written by Sylvia Ashby in 1992.

"The novel, movie and television series, which was Canadian, were so popular and so successful, that naturally a stage play needed to be available to all of Anne's fans worldwide," Logue says. "Anne is a young orphan destined to live her life in and out of fostering homes until, by a fated mistake, old maid Marilla and her bachelor brother, Mathew, take her 'forever into their home called Green Gables,' a small farm on Prince Edward Island in Nova Scotia. But "forever" doesn't come without many ups and downs in the life of a child who is overly dramatic, overly enthusiastic and generally overly everything!

"Anne is a bundle of emotion, passion and kindness wrapped up in one small child. We then have the privilege of watching as the stage play takes her into young womanhood. We meet wonderful characters along the way, including the busybody neighbor Rachel, who Anne promptly and quickly alienates, as well as her 'bosom friend' Diana, who she mistakenly intoxicates with plum wine. We meet Anne's future love, the dashing Gilbert Blythe, and the overbearing Josie Pye, both fellow students. The entire play is interspersed with members of the Community of Avonlea in the early 1900s, where the tenor of life is slow and relationships are deep, true and loving."

McKenzie last was seen in "Fiddler on the Roof" at West T. Hill, and also appeared as a young Helen Keller in Ragged Edge Community Theater's production of "The Miracle Worker " in 2003.

"She is an incredible young actress and a joy to watch," Logue notes. "The only thing not natural about McKenzie for this role is her own beautiful white hair. But her devotion to the stage has taken care of that and she will indeed emulate our redheaded Anne!"

Hannah also was in "Fiddler" and played the young Louise in "Gypsy" a few years ago.

"This is her first large role and she is rising to the occasion," the director says. "Hannah has worked very hard to look past her quiet and shy personal qualities to branch out into Anne's traits. And unlike McKenzie, Hannah is a ... natural and beautiful redhead, so that transformation came easiest for her."

Anne has a number of important people in her life

Logue says Anne has a number of important people in her life, such as the spinster Marilla, played by WTHCT newcomer Jessica Ormsby, who most recently was seen in RECT's "Nunsense" a focal character in Anne's life. So is Marilla's brother, Mathew (played by veteran WTHCT performer Steve Sleeper, who is "just fresh from '12 Angry Jurors,' Logue says.

"This 'couple' has been together since their mother and father died many years prior and are certainly both set in their ways and used to being alone," she notes. "When Anne comes into their lives, the quiet they have enjoyed or endured is shattered in both good and bad ways. Marilla is the disciplinarian where Mathew is the spoiler. His heart is just melted by Anne in every way.

"The town busybody, Mrs. Rachel Lynde (played by veteran WTHCT Beth Marlowe, also last seen in '12 Angry Jurors') is always popping up for comedy relief. Older Diana, Anne's dearest friend, is played by Chelsey Wood (last seen in 'Little Women' at WTH) and her younger counterpart is Carrie Ellis, (a newcomer to the WTH stage, but active with Arts for Kids, ETC). Our older Gilbert is Daniel Bastin (last seen in 'Bah Humbug') and our younger Gilbert is newcomer Joseph Herndon."

A scene between Marilla and Anne stands out as one of many special instances in the show.

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