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Thespians shine for “Moonshine and Magnolias”

JONESBORO — Eight-year-old William Shiflett’s lifelong dream is to become a famous actor one day. So far, the inspiring young actor is off to a good start. He just wrapped up a play last month called “Fruit Cakes,” about a guy who runs away from home, a play which was presented by the Henry Players. Now, William’s next feat is to tackle the part of “Billy” in the upcoming spring production “Moonshine and Magnolias.” 

“He just loves to perform,” said his mother, Lisa. 

Lisa tagged along with her son on a cool Monday night for an audition held at Stately Oaks Plantation Home in Jonesboro. William, a 3-foot tall, blue-eyed blond-haired boy, came prepared with a one-minute monologue in one hand and a head shot in the other.

“He’s like chatty Kathy,” said Lisa. 

Historical Jonesboro of Clayton County will present “Moonshine and Magnolias” in March. Kathryn Wood, who is one of the directors of the show, said this is the first time in more than a decade that Historical Jonesboro has hosted a major production.

“It’s so exciting,” Wood said. “It’s going to be a great and fun show that many people will enjoy.”

“Moonshine and Magnolias” is a two-hour production that is set in Clayton County in 1845 and moves to the present day. 

According to the Historical Jonesboro website the play features the stories of Clayton County citizens and weaves them into inspiring funny scenes. The history of Clayton County is revealed through chronological segments.

The original script is owned by Historical Jonesboro Clayton County, according to Jean Peacock, its spokesperson.

William was not the only thespian who showed up to sharpen his acting craft.

Alfred Crea, a theater minor at Clayton State, is not new to the audition scene. The Clayton County native has performed in several local productions. He didn’t even need to prepare a monologue. The tall, brown-haired man stood confident before the directors and read straight from the script.

Marry Anne Brannon was new to the acting world. However, that wasn’t apparent as she took her place before the directors and read from the scripts as if she had been doing it for years.

“I was just being myself,” said Brannon, who serves on the committee for the play and was asked by fellow committee member Peacock to audition for it. “So, I figured what the heck might as well give it try.’’

Peacock said they held auditions for two days this week, for the various roles played by males, females, and children. Ten male actors were needed ages 35 to 65; two male actors ages 20 to 35, one African-American male age 20 to 55, and three boys between the ages of 8 and 15. Eight female actors were also needed ages 35 to 65, two female actors ages 20 to 35, one African-American female age 20 to 55, and three girls between the ages of 8 and 15.

“From the cast, a male or female actor will be chosen as host for the show,” said Peacock. She added they will have call backs later this week.

The play will be performed at Parish Hall of St. Philip Benizi Catholic Church located at 591 Flint River Road, in Jonesboro Friday, March 22, at 7 p.m., and at a dinner theater performance aturday, March 23. Dinner will be served at 6 p.m. and the show will start at 7 p.m.  

Tickets are $10 on March 22 and $20 for the dinner theater on March 23.

For more information on “Moonshine and Magnolias” and how to purchase tickets visit www.moonshineandmagnolias.com or e-mail moonshineandmagnolias@gmail.com.