Tuscaloosa thespians benefit from community theater

Tuscaloosa thespians benefit from community theater

For the Tuscaloosa’s Actor’s Charitable Theatre’s upcoming production of “The Addams Family” the cast of the show is learning how to visually transform into the ghoulish-looking members of the classic cartoon family. Courtesy of Joey Lay

Margaret Wilbourne

“Remember, this is stage makeup, not movie makeup,” he says.

In preparation for the theater’s upcoming production of “The Addams Family,” the cast of the show is learning how to visually transform into the ghoulish-looking members of the classic cartoon family.

Emily Odom, a junior majoring in music education, is playing one of the ancestors in the upcoming musical. She said she auditioned for a part in the musical in August because she was excited to get back into theater.

“It seemed [like a] really cool production,” Odom said. “I liked how the proceeds [from the shows] go to charity.”

The Actor’s Charitable Theatre, started by Lay in 2008, stands out from other community theater programs because it is more than just an outlet for thespians. Each year the theater hosts a fundraiser show with its proceeds donated to charity. All ACT productions donate money to a partner charity from candidates who apply online.

“The charity focus became our niche. It really helped reach a ton of people,” Lay said.

While the Addams Family musical, ACT’s 21st production, will most likely stand as the group’s annual fundraiser, a typical “season” for ACT includes three to four musicals, with each one donating to a chosen charity.

Beyond its philanthropic focus, Lay said the ACT is the definition of what it is to be a community theatrical group.

“We’re truly a community theater in the sense that the cast, everybody helps out with the set, with the costumes, with the makeup,” Lay said.

Brittany Bailey, a junior majoring in history, is able to add a different set of skills to the mix with the ACT’s community approach. She will touch-up makeup throughout each showing of the Addams Family musical.

“I love doing makeup, and I thought it would be fun to get involved,” she said. “Mr. Lay is very flexible, and you can always find a way to [help out].”

ACT’s casual take on theater appealed to Odom, who was involved in theater in high school. She said it was nice to find a group where she could get involved again without being overwhelmed.

“It’s definitely so easy and laid back,” she said. “It’s not like I have to live and breathe theater, instead it’s just a hobby.”

Odom said becoming involved with ACT was conducive to keeping a student schedule thanks to the quick pace of a community theater, where rehearsals last for only two to three weeks. The cast learns, on average, one scene per night.

Odom also said she enjoys the diversity of ACT’s casts, where she has been able to meet others of every age who share her love for theater.

“We’ve casted actors and actresses from age six through 60,” Lay said. “[That includes students], doctors, lawyers, we have a little bit of everybody.”

Those interested in getting involved with ACT should visit the group’s website, theactonline.com, where applications and auditions are posted. The Addams Family musical will run Oct. 24 through 27 at the Bama Theatre.