After a long “intermission” due to COVID-19, Laurel Little Theatre will return with what is being billed as spectacular 60th anniversary season beginning this month.
LLT was started in 1961, when a small group of local theater lovers headed by Marda Burton, Mary Anne Sumrall, Ernest Graves and Gene Gandrau met at the bowling alley that used to be next door to the old Leader-Call on then-Beacon Street. They called for an organizational meeting at the Pinehurst Coffee Shop and, within months, the first production was up on the boards.
After a few decades of presenting shows at various local schools and the old Armory Building, LLT bought the Arabian Theatre in 1977 after it went out of business as a movie house. It’s been LLT’s playhouse ever since.
The 60th season-opener will be the Southern comedy “Doublewide, Texas,” which is scheduled for the weekends of Jan. 22-24 and Jan. 29-31.
Director Frankie Bennett has had her cast in socially distanced and masked warmup rehearsals the past month — and they’re ready to give everyone a handful of well-deserved and much-needed belly laughs, LLT officials said.
LLT’s reservation line will start answering Friday — one week before opening night — at 601-428-0140.
For last season’s ticket members, LLT will be honoring any leftover punches from the past year. But LLT officials hope everyone who has supported LLT with memberships will still renew.
The second production of the season will be one of Eudora Welty’s most popular pieces, “Why I Live at the P.O.” It’s billed as a hilarious one-woman show about a postmistress of a tiny Mississippi town who’s telling stories about all of her mad-capped family.
April will bring the classic love story for all ages “On Golden Pond.” The story is about an older couple that spends summers at their peaceful Maine vacation home. After their daughter drops off her soon-to-be young stepson, the comedy, the teen angst and the drama all begin.
Closing out the season will be LLT’s annual Kids’ Camp production — the scrumpdiddlyumptious family favorite musical “Willie Wonka.” The camp workshops and rehearsals begin May 27 and the production is scheduled for the first weekend of June.
Keeping safety in mind as a top priority for the LLT audiences and volunteers, extra precautions this year include: limited audiences less than 50 percent capacity with marked-off rows and an empty seat between each couple/family, masks (bring your own) and distancing required, no admittance with visible illness/coughs/sneezing, temperature checks at the door and hydrostatic disinfectant cleaning of the theatre before each performance.