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Theatre Albany to present 'Big River'

joe.bellacomo@albanyherald.com
From left, Jim Giles, Kevin Armstrong and Colby Pines  perform a scene in character from Theatre Albany's upcoming production of 'Big River.'

joe.bellacomo@albanyherald.com From left, Jim Giles, Kevin Armstrong and Colby Pines perform a scene in character from Theatre Albany's upcoming production of 'Big River.'

ALBANY -- Theatre Albany will be bringing the timeless tale of Huckleberry Finn to life Friday evening with its opening night of the musical, "Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn."

"Big River" is the stage adaptation of Mark Twain's classic, "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn". "Big River" was written by William Hauptman and music and lyrics were composed by Roger Miller.

The play brings to life all the characters of Mark Twain's timeless novel and follows the journey and adventures of Huck Finn as he helps his friend Jim, a slave, escape to freedom at the mouth of the Ohio River.

With a cast of 22 members, all of the novel's unforgettable characters will be portrayed by some of Albany's finest performers, said Director Mark Costello.

"We have a great cast and have some very fine voices. The audience is going to be surprised by the powerful voices of the actors," said the director.

Colby Pines will be portraying Huckleberry Finn and Phil Arnold is cast in the role of Jim. Joining them will be Robby Davis as Pap Finn, Jim Giles as the King, Kevin Armstrong as the Duke, Brice Bonner as Tom Sawyer, Amber Humphries as Mary Jane Wilkes, Kathleen Stroup as the Widow Douglas and Kara Maples as Miss Watson.

Costello said the audience will enjoy an elegant mix of country, gospel and folk music throughout the evening as the journey of Huck and Jim take them down the Mississippi River.

The set was designed by Steve Felmet as a main set that will be transformed throughout the musical by smaller set pieces. While the Mississippi is the focal part of Huck and Jim's journey, the audience will also see Pap's cabin and other locations.

Joining Felmet in the behind-the scenes work, will be vocal director Gary Unger, choreographer Judy Dabbs, costumer Sarah Donnan and Ann Brim Streat, who is handling make-up and hair.

"Big River" will be closing out Theatre Albany's 77th season and Costello said that it is a must-see.

"It is a terrific adaptation of "Huckleberry Finn". The free spirit that Huck represents is something that all Americans and particularly Southerners can relate to," said Costello.

"Big River" will open on Friday at 8 p.m. Other performances are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, and May 28 - 30 and June 3-5. Evening performances begin at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees are at 2:30 p.m. Box office will be open one hour prior to curtain.

Tickets for all performances are $22 for adults, $17 for senior citizens and $12 for students. Theatre Albany box office located at 514 Pine Avenue is open Tuesday - Friday 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. and on Saturday's from 12 p.m. - 2 p.m.

Tickets can be reserved by calling Theatre Albany's box office at (229) 439 -7141.