Hickory – Mr. Tumnus, Mr. Beaver and Mrs. Beaver are the first of the fantasy characters from the land of Narnia who appear in the story. In the Hickory Community Theatre’s upcoming production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, these roles are played by a trio of talented community actors, Diane Keady Albers, Lucas Kelly and Ryan Sanford.
Kelly is Mr. Tumnus, the fawn who greets young Lucy when she first steps through the wardrobe into Narnia. Kelly is a senior at Fred T. Foard High School and native of Newton, NC. His previous stage roles include Raoul in Phantom of the Opera at Fred T. Foard, Huck Finn in Big River at The Green Room and The Wolf/Prince Charming in Into the Woods at CAST. His theatre experience extends to play writing, winning the Best Playwright Award from the North Carolina Theatre Conference in 2015. When asked why he chose to audition for Mr. Tumnus, he said “I like the lightness and depth of the role, it’s a childhood favorite and I thought it would be fun.”
In addition to playing Mr. Beaver, Sanford also has the role of The Professor in the play. A native of Sanford, FL who moved to Hickory seven years ago to study at Lenoir-Rhyne University, he is the Director of Investor/Shareholder Development at the Catawba County Chamber of Commerce. His last role at HCT was King Triton in The Little Mermaid in September 2014 and followed that by playing Shermy in A Charlie Brown Christmas in 2015. Between these two stage outings he met and married the love of his life, Tera. He auditioned for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe because, “It is such a great story of redemption and self sacrifice and has rich biblical ties.”
Albers is a more familiar face to HCT audiences, having appeared in six productions, including playing Grandma Josephine in Willy Wonka Jr., Maria Delgado in 9 to 5, Mama Bear in Shrek and Madge in The Game’s Afoot. A native of Vienna, VA, Albers has lived in Hickory for 20 years and currently works as Admin Coordinator for Radiation Oncology at Catawba Valley Medical Center. She began her involvement with the Theatre helping her daughter, Lauren, backstage and her first performance outing was in an improve comedy show with Now Are the Foxes in their first Hickory appearance. She wanted to play Mrs. Beaver because, “The character is funny and motherly, just like me.”
Performances of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe are 8:00 pm Fridays & Saturdays, 7:30 pm Thursdays, and 2:30 Sundays, March 17 – April 2, 2017. Tickets are $18. There is a senior discount of $2 and tickets for students and youth 18 and under are just $10. Tickets for Thursday performances are $14 for adults and $10 for students and youth.
Tickets may be purchased online at hickorytheatre.showare.com or at the theatre box office. The box office is open 12-5 Wed through Sat in person or by calling 828-328-2283.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is produced by The Guild at HCT, in partnership with North by Northwest Consulting. This show is the eighth production of the Theatre’s 68th season, sponsored by Paramount Automotive and A Cleaner World. The Hickory Community Theatre is a Funded Affiliate of the United Arts Council of Catawba County.
Photos by John Koval: Top) Lucas Kelly is Mr. Tumnus and Bottom) Diane Keady Albers and Ryan Sanford play Mr. and Mrs. Beaver in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The fantasy classic opens March 19th in the Jeffers Theatre at Hickory Community Theatre. For tickets and information go to www.hickorytheatre.org or call 828-328-2283.