Church arts festival spans two weekends

Littleton event includes performance of `Elijah'

Posted 4/14/16

For 23 years the arts-oriented members of Littleton United Methodist Church have organized a free spring arts festival to share with the community, including visual arts and performing arts — music and theater.

The 2016 festival has expanded to …

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Church arts festival spans two weekends

Littleton event includes performance of `Elijah'

Posted

For 23 years the arts-oriented members of Littleton United Methodist Church have organized a free spring arts festival to share with the community, including visual arts and performing arts — music and theater.

The 2016 festival has expanded to two weekends with the 2 p.m. performance of Felix Mendelsohn's massive oratorio, “Elijah,” on April 24. It will have a 70-voice choir, soloists and an orchestra. (See story that ran April 14.)

Visual artists will display their work in the fellowship hall on the second weekend, opening at 6 p.m. April 29 prior to “Steel Magnolias”; continuing April 30 (1:30 p.m. before “Steel Magnolias” and 6:30 p.m. before “Reel Time: Songs of the Cinema” by Voices West); and Sunday (during 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. worship services and at 2 and 7 p.m. before “Steel Magnolias.”

“Steel Magnolias” by Robert Harling is about women and friendship and touches on mother/daughter relationships, gays, male/female relationships, the single person, divorce and marriage issues, director Annawyn Shamas observed — all appropriate topics for discussions in a church-sponsored program.

Harling is said to have created the play after his sister died of diabetes following birth of a namesake nephew. He first wrote a story to ease his grief, then wrote the well-crafted play, which debuted in 1987, followed by a movie in 1989.

This is the third time Shamas has wanted to produce this popular American play, she said, which involves a considerable bit more staging than the reader's theater she and the Encore Players have performed lately.

This rehearsal season has been affected while the church serves as a Red Cross shelter for some Southview Place residents who had to evacuate their nearby apartments following a fire. They have been living in the Fellowship Hall and dining in an adjoining meeting room, while the beauty shop chairs remain on the stage. (Duane Leeper has handled the logistics of locating those chairs and other set pieces, Shamas said.)

Cast members, who began rehearsing in February, are: Lisa Hendry as Truvy, the opinionated shop owner; Helen Gilliken as the curmudgeonly Oiser; Marilyn Miller as Clairee; Ellen Shamas-Brandt as mother M'Lynn; Lauren Holyman as daughter Shelby; and Renee Posey as Annelle, who comes to work for Truvy and goes through several changes in attitude before the play ends. All are LUMC members.

Carole Downing, who works at the salon where Shamas gets her hair cut, has been sitting in as “hair consultant,” teaching cast members how to set hair, etc. — and enjoying the involvement.

Lisa Hendry has been conducting an ongoing class at the church on “The Values of Steel Magnolias.” She is the wife of previous LUMC pastor Richard Hendry.

The 7:30 p.m. Saturday evening concert by Voices West (formerly Littleton Chorale) is called “Reel Time: Songs of the Cinema.” It will be a multimedia performance, with photo stills and dramatic vignettes projected as the chorus sings numbers such as “Dies Irie” from “Amadeus”; “Moon River” from “Breakfast at Tiffany's”; “Down to the River to Pray” from “O Brother, Where Art Thou”; and “Jai Ho” from “Slumdog Millionaire.”

If you go

Littleton United Methodist Church, LUMC, is at 5894 S. Datura St., Littleton. The Fine Arts Festival starts April 24 and ends May 1 at times noted above. 303-794-6379, littletonumc.org.

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