By Cassie Jacoby
Lifestyles Editor 

Backstage at the Lake Wales Little Theatre

The Assassin's New Friend Opens March 15

 

Last updated 3/15/2019 at 6:56pm

Cassie Jacoby

You'll be on the edge of your seat during the production of "The Assassin's New Friend" through March 31 at the Lake Wales Little Theatre.

Written by John Kaasik, the play is directed by Lake Wales Charter Schools Human Resources Director Dr. Julio Acevedo. March 15 is opening night and the play runs three weekends with performances at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. on Sundays.

"This is a really good play because it has comedy, suspense, action and drama so it has everything in one," says Acevedo, who honed his directing techniques while obtaining his undergraduate degree in drama education. "I love to give the actors the opportunity to bring ideas to the play. I allow them to put their own signature on it which helps them feel like the play belongs to them. I'm not here to tell them exactly what to do. I'm just here to say how it will look better. I'm looking forward to doing more plays in the future maybe as an actor or as the director."

As a real-life writer and author, long-time Lake Wales resident Robert Connors claims he was typecast in playing the challenging lead role as true crime author, Brian Hollander. "This is the toughest role I've played because it's an emotional rollercoaster. I go from being terrified to laughing and crying."


A veteran of the stage who played the role of Will Parker in "Oklahoma" more than 15 years ago, Connors' newest book is the Syfy tale, "Encounter at Cloud Ranch."

Jeff Herman, who works at Bok Academy, loved playing the bad guy, Kendrick. "It's a great role, especially being a serial killer with multiple personalities. With so many different facets, it's really fun to play."

With more than 40 stage performances under his belt, veteran actor John Durbin plays a range of emotions as Douglas. "It's lots of fun to do a character who's a little bit out there. The part goes in so many different directions from being a good guy and bad guy that it keeps you on your toes."

"All he wanted me to do was cook and clean," says Denise Higginbotham, a first-grade teacher at Frostproof Elementary, who plays Douglas' wife, Dana.

"This cast is amazing. We have so much fun together and so many laughs off stage," explains Holly Murren, a dog groomer by trade, who plays Brian's wife, Dana.

David Williams plays undercover cop, Hal, in only his second time performing in a play. "I was nervous at first, but then really enjoyed getting into character."

Mike Baccus sets the tone for the play by selecting the music. "I pick music that reflects the dramatic mystery of the play." Much like the Wizard of Oz who controls everything behind the curtain, the retired teacher and LWLT volunteer for more than 10 years, wears many hats. "I put the blinds up, set the lights along with Terry Higginbotham, painted some of the walls and have actually been on stage a few times, but I prefer to be behind the scenes."


"Mike does a great job," says Acevedo, who also credits Stage Manager Karen Fewell for "keeping him straight."

"I'm the mom of the theater," says Fewell, whose mother coordinated the costumes for the LWLT's first play, "Auntie Mame." "I've grown up in the LWLT and my oldest daughter has grown up in it and we all love it." Although Fewell has performed on stage, she agrees with Mike about preferring to work behind the scenes.

In addition to Producing Angel Terry Loyd, special thanks are given to Rent King of Lake Wales for the couch rental, Betty Martin for hospitality supplies and Way Out West for donating cookies.

The non-profit organization solely funded by donations and ticket sales was founded in 1978. For the first 14 seasons, productions were presented in various local facilities. In 1992, the 15th season, the theater group proudly opened its intimate 140-seat theater at 411 N. Third St. in the old Lake Wales High School band building. Its season begins in September and runs through June with five productions.


Children's Theatre productions are held in September with the Adult Theatre's three plays in November, January and March/April. Along with its Teen Theatre, the Out of The Box Improv Crew features shows at 7 p.m. October 6, February 9 and April 13.

Tickets for The Assassin's New Friend are $18 for adults and $12 for students. Visit http://lwlt.org/ to select seats and order tickets online or call 863-676-1266 for more information.

Check out a full gallery of photos at https://www.lakewalesnews.net/photos

Cassie Jacoby

 

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