Summer Youth Theater to present "The Wind in the Willows"

<I>SUBMITTED photo</I><BR>Young thespians perform at Willapa Players Summer Youth Theater production of "The Wind in the Willows" next weekend in Raymond.

RAYMOND - "The Wind in the Willows," presented by the Summer Youth Theater of the Willapa Players, opens on Thursday, Aug. 16 at 6:30 p.m. at the Hannan Playhouse in Raymond. After seven weeks of hard work 16 young people between the ages of eight and 15 will step on stage before an audience to present Kenneth Grahame's beloved story of the speed crazy Mr. Toad of Toad Hall.

Additional productions are scheduled for Friday, Aug. 17, at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday, Aug. 18, and Sunday, Aug. 19, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $5 and are available at South Bend Pharmacy, Jensen's Furniture, and Raymond Drug.

The original story of "The Wind in the Willows" was written by Kenneth Grahame in 1908 and became a beloved children's classic. Joseph Baldwin adapted the book for the stage. The show is directed by LaRayne Watts with Andrea Schiller as assistant director.

The play is set in England in 1903 and tells of the famous English gentleman, Mr. Toad of Toad Hall, who sees his first motor car and promptly falls uncontrollably in love with motoring, so he buys a car which he then crashes. Another car is bought, followed by another crash and another and another! His friends Ratty, Badger and Mole are in despair. Then he steals a car. For this he's sent to jail for 20 years. While there, he learns that weasels have taken over his old family home. But the jailer's daughter helps him escape. In an exciting climax, Toad, Ratty, Badger and Mole retake Toad Hall by storm.

The main characters are Jake Funkhouser as Mr. Toad; Ashley McCoy as Mr. Badger; Michaela Eastham as Mr. Rat and Jessica Rushing as Mr. Mole.

The sneaky Weasel gang is played by Shylo Boyes as Jack Weasel, the leader; Shawna Sarrett as Jen Weasel; Ashton Hudnall-Winrich as Tom Weasel; Chris Hudnall-Winrich as Tim Weasel; and Courtney Fogleberg as the Weasel Cook . Strong supporting roles are played by Samantha Sarrett as Mrs. Otter, Chloe Crane as Portly Otter, Kristen Lazelle as Penelope, Mikayla Simpson as the policeman, Courtney Fogleberg as the jailer, Simon Crane as Alf, the locomotive engineer and Wyatt Aynes as Bill, the fireman on the locomotive.

In addition to Courtney Fogleberg who plays both the jailer and the Weasel Cook, four other players are doing two parts: Wyatt Aynes also plays Jailbird No. 1; Simon Crane doubles as Jailbird No. 2; Chris Hudnall-Winrich as Jailbird No. 3 and Chloe Crane as Jailbird No. 4.

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