How often does an actor get to perform in a production whose story takes place in their own hometown? Not very often.
“We’re not pretending to be in New York City, or in some fantasy land - instead, we are actually in Kanab, where the story takes place - just an earlier time period,” says Kylie Shepherd, who plays Mrs. Seegmiller, a loveable and rambunctious character that becomes a member of the first all-women town council. “This makes the play feel closer to home and more genuine. It helps me feel especially invested in my character.”
The story, the music, the jokes, and the characters will all resonate with and entertain outside visitors. It stands alone in that sense; appealing to all demographics. But it takes on an even richer meaning for those from Kanab and its surrounding areas.
While the overall story is fictional, it’s inspired by actual local historical events. And it’s filled with modern quirks and gems that those from this area will certainly appreciate.
One of the leads, Mariah Wheeler, directs the Kanab High School Theatre Department and has starred in multiple plays from Cinderella to Always Patsy Cline. But what makes this role different from any role she’s ever played is its connection to Kanab.
“In 1911, Mary Chamberlain became the Mayor of the first nationally recognized all women town council; a historical marker Kanab celebrates in a period of time when women were just gaining the right to vote,” Wheeler says. “In this production, I play her fictional counterpart. While this role represents her fictionally, with laugh lines and a less than serious look at these historical events, I celebrate Mary Chamberlain’s real life achievements.
“I have a great appreciation for those who pioneered this beautiful area; their frugality, their gumption, their courage, their faith; these are remarkable people.”
Andrew Corry, who plays the lead role of Freddie Crystal, a prospector who convinces the town to search for Montezuma’s treasure, jumped at the chance to participate in something so close to home. “I was born and raised here, and grew up with the fun stories and history. It’s been a real joy being a part of a play that pays homage to that while also being able to poke fun at some of our local quirks. I can’t wait for people to see; it’s going to be a blast!”
Also acting will be some local faces who are new to the theater scene. Bart Battista and Sheldon Honey, who play some of the councilmen who are convinced to search for the lost treasure, each decided this production would give them a chance to step out of their comfort zones.
“Whether I’m in Fredonia, Kanab or Glendale, I feel an immense sense of community. I think this play portrays that in a fun and unique way,” says Honey.
“This place is wonderful,” adds Battista. “And it’s great to be back here among family and friends. I was excited to give back to the community through the arts, and I am finding this experience is creating more good friendships and deepening my connection to my hometown.”
Show support for the local arts by attending the performances on August 5, 6, 7 and 9, at the KHS Auditorium. Tickets are available at kanabmusical.com or at the door.
None of this would be possible without the support of local sponsors, including the presenting sponsor, Kanab Realty.