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MLT casts first play of 71st season

By Staff
special to The Star
Aug. 10, 2003
Mayor John Robert Smith, Susie McEachin Johnson and Ken Patterson will star in "Camelot" Meridian Little Theatre's 71st season opening musical.
The Tony Award winning play runs Oct. 2-8 and is sponsored by Rush Foundation Hospital.
Dr. Marc Fisher, a member of the MLT play and casting committee, made the announcement and also listed the featured roles and the chorus.
The casting committee expressed appreciation for the many people who came to the recent auditions.
The classic Lerner and Lowe musical tells the magical story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.
Smith, who will play King Arthur, is a veteran player at MLT and received the organization's "Best Actor Award" in May. He was seen last season as Scrooge in the theater's "A Christmas Carol." The mayor is married to Kelly, and has two children.
Susie Johnson received the role of Guenevere. She was seen as Lady Thiang in "The King and I" a year ago. Johnson and her husband, Joel, have three children. She sings with the Northpointe Presbyterian Church Choir.
Lancelot will be portrayed by Ken Patterson. "Camelot" will be Patterson's third starring role at MLT. In the last three years, he was Warbucks in "Annie" and the King in "The King and I' prior to this musical.
Patterson, married with two children, is choir director at Fifteenth Avenue Baptist Church.
Dr. Jack Hall won the role of the "daffy" King Pellinore. Hall, a local chiropractor, has appeared in many MLT plays including "Twelve Angry Men" and "Mr. Roberts."
Merlyn, the wise old teacher of Arthur, will be played by Chet Estep, a local businessman, who starred in the theater's "The Diary of Anne Frank" last season.
Pep Speed, a veteran of MLT at the age of 17, will play Mordred, the evil son of Arthur. He is a senior at Lamar High School.
Newcomer Sissy Weems of Quitman received the coveted role of Morgan Le Fey, winning over 16 other actresses.
Making up Arthur's court circle will be Ed Little as Sir Danadan, Brad Matherne as Lionel and Tom Fair as Sagramore.
Ra'Cheal Redmond received the role of Lady Anne; Lisa Covington will play Lady Catherine and Virgie Palmer will portray Lady Sybil.
Lords and ladies of Camelot are: Kelly Driggers, Kay Poole, Wendy Redoblads, Jennifer Jones, LeAnn Palmer, Kate Gressett, Amy Poole, Margaret Remy, Jay Crane, John Triplett, Robbye Spangler, Joel Johnson, Drew Torgerson, Leonard Shannon and Jeremy Sande.
Rustin Wheat will play the court's page and the handmaidens are Sarah Fair, Anna Edwards and Jessica Williams.
Joining resident director Jimmy Pigford on the production staff are Ken Patterson, vocal director; Pat Gray, choreographer; Melinda Perry, stage manager; William Harper, producer; Susan Speed, wardrobe chairman; Audra Bossarge, lighting director; and Lad Temple, sound director. Carey Smith will conduct the orchestra.