Photo by Heather Middleton
Nine-year-old Emily Crawford was excited to be asked to choose the winners in an inaugural art-contest promotion for the Henry Players' production of "Charlotte's Web."
"I was like, they really want me to do it?" said the beaming star of the production.
Forty-three entries were submitted for the contest, sponsored by the Henry Daily Herald, said Christy Collier, advertising director for the newspaper. "The response was phenomenal," Collier said. "We love it when our readers interact. Anything we can do to give back to our readers, and get them interacting, we love that."
The contest enabled area children to color a picture of a farm scene with characters from "Charlotte's Web." The farm-scene picture was included in issues of the newspaper. The play will be presented June 24-27 at the Henry County Performing Arts Center in McDonough.
Collier said the newspaper will continue sponsoring the Henry Players next year. "We'll get with them on their 2010-2011 season, and we will come up with a contest for each show," she said.
The winners of the "Charlotte's Web" contest are 6-year-old Alyssa Ramirez, and 9-year-old Sarah Christensen, both of Stockbridge.
Young Crawford said, in making her selections, she was looking for entries which fit certain criteria. "Mostly they ... reminded me of the play," the pint-sized performer said. She will take on her first starring role in "Charlotte's Web," when she portrays the character of Fern. Crawford said she was drawn to the role, because she had read, and enjoyed, the book when she was younger.
"I really liked the story of how the spider saves the little pig's life," she said.
Crawford said she enjoys participating in Henry Players' productions, because they help her to grow as an actress. "I like being able to do different things by acting, and I just get better every time," she said.
Her prior stage credits with the Players include roles in "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," "Seussical the Musical" and "A Christmas Story."
One of her co-stars in "Charlotte's Web" is her father, Brad Crawford. He also is a member of the Henry Players' board of directors. He will play the role of Uncle in the production.
Brad Crawford described the drawing contest as a "creative" way to inform the community about what the acting group does throughout the year. He added that it meant a great deal to him, when his daughter landed a lead role in "Charlotte's Web."
"We're really proud of her, and the production," the father said. "I'd put a Henry Players production side by side with anything you'd see in Atlanta, any day of the week. It's a ... quality production, and it's hard to believe it's a volunteer theater."
Brad Crawford said his daughter is in the early stages of her acting career, and is "not retiring" anytime soon. Upon hearing those words, Emily Crawford offered a perplexed response.
"Why would I do that?" she asked.