RAAC Community Theatre’s holiday show have always been crowd pleasers, selling out every performance, but this year’s production of “Charlotte’s Web” might top them all.
Auditions for the show with a script adapted by Joseph Robinette from the E.B. White classic about a spider whose unique talents helps save the life of a young pig drew a record number of eager performers, including some news faces, as well as kids and adults who would be familiar to regular RAAC theatre goers.
“We have a policy with our holiday shows of casting anyone who auditions,” says RAAC Theatre Committee Chair and RAAC Board member Sallie Morgan. “Directors often have to create roles.”
That was a challenge facing director Lucia Hanover, a long-time theatre professional. “Charlotte’s Web has a lot of flexibility for casting,” says Lucia. “I could cast the smaller kids as farm animals and baby spiders.”
Lucia grew up in Alexandria before spending many years acting, directing, and stage managing in New York City.
“I studied and worked at HB Playwrights foundation,” a prestigious organization founded by Uta Hagen and her husband Herb Berghof, “and then worked with various theatre companies all over New York.”
She moved back to Virginia for her husband’s career in 2003 and they moved to Warrenton 12 years ago.
“I like Warrenton,” she says. “It’s been an awesome place for raising a family.”
While she did that, she took some time away from theatre, but now that her daughter is 9, and her son 14, she’s been getting back to it. Last Christmas, she directed “Fruitcakes” at Fauquier Community Theatre, and more recently a kids’ production of “Madagascar,” also at FCT and will direct their production of “My Fair Lady” in May.
In 2017, Lucia worked on the RAAC production of “Arcadia” and taught theatre workshops at the RACC Theatre for the summer camps run by Rappahannock’s Childcare and Learning Center. She teaches theatre arts at Warrenton’s Progressive Dance School.
As for RAAC’s production of Charlotte’s Web, she says, “I was excited to be asked to direct ‘Charlotte’s Web.’ I want to honor the baseline story of friendship and love and kindness that E. B. White has written. All of the characters support each other in the story. I want the whole production to reflect that.”
It’s been fun working at RAAC Theatre, she says. “This is [RAAC’s] main holiday show so you have a lot [of people] from the community who haven’t done theatre before or have just a little bit of theatre experience. Watching them blossom and enjoy and make new friends and learn what’s involved in theatre is a big joy for me. I do work with kids in theatre all over. Seeing kids build their confidence and their stamina for the stage, as well when they’ve had little to no experience is also exciting, so I’ve enjoyed that. RAAC’s given me that opportunity big time.”
“And we’re delighted to have Lucia working with us, contributing her talent and training to making Charlotte’s Web a hit,” says Morgan.
“Charlotte’s Web” at RAAC Community Theatre, 310 Gay St, Washington. Fridays, November 30 and December 7 at 8:00 p.m.; Saturdays, December 1 and 8, and Sunday, December 9 at 3:00 p.m. Make reservations at http://raac.org/raacwp/community-theatre/. If no Internet, call, call 1-800-695-6075 ext. 1.