Who is Carrie Fowler?

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By Ken Begley

If you don’t know the answer to that question then you need to attend the Central Kentucky Community Theatre’s presentation of the Frank Wildhorn musical, “Jekyll & Hyde.”

If you read my column regularly, then you know that about every third one contains a review of the latest play by our local community theatre.

There’s been a changing of the guard over the past few months and it’s brought about a renewed vitality along with the new blood running the shows.

For those that don’t know, our community theatre provides plays at three different levels of age. Each has its own director. The new Managing Artistic Director is William E.P. Davis (adult level). Sue Hlavinka is the new Youth Actors Director (7th grade to high school seniors) and Jolene Davis is the Bluegrass Kids Director (2nd grade to 6th grade). These different groups of actors put on shows multiple times each season.

There is also a “Little Rascals” group for ages 5 to 7 that is taught the basics of acting.

I have to say this is the first play I’ve seen under the direction of the new management and it appears to be a winner.

“Jekyll and Hyde: The musical” is based on the timeless classic story written by Robert Louis Stevenson. The play is set in the 1880’s. The costumes will have you believing that you are in the Victorian Era. My hat is off to the “Keeper of the Closet” seamstress Mrs. Cyndi Mattingly. The stage is the most elaborate yet.

The play concerns a man named Dr. Henry Jekyll who, in an attempt to cure his father of dementia (Alzheimer’s), conducts experiments with drugs on his own body. The experiments lead to a split personality where the good Dr. Jekyll becomes the evil Mr. Edward Hyde.

You see, in that age it appears that the common belief was that evil had entered your soul when you developed dementia due to the several personality changes. Dr. Jekyll is determined to separate that evil from the good in the person. But the hospital that he works at will not allow him to experiment on other people and that is the reason that he decides to experiment on himself. The show proceeds from there.

It should be noted that the actors in the play rotate to different characters on different nights. So if you have ever wondered how an actor would be in a different role than all you have to do is see the play on different night and it will have a whole new spin on what you saw before.

This show has talent in depth.

You’ve got your Mark Grider who can really belt out a song that fills the theatre with seemingly little effort. Then there is Aaron Robinson, who will simply blow your mind with how he can transform himself into any character. Aaron doesn’t just play a part. Aaron owns the character lock, stock and barrel. This young man is unbelievable in the role of Mr. Hyde.

It’s rare that I’ve seen someone that good at the Derby Dinner Playhouse in Louisville or elsewhere. Might be a future there.

There is also an incredible showcase of talent backing up the production, which includes John Hayden, Corey Kieslich, Craig Holmes, Joseph Mattingly, Gaubrie Humphress, Gillian Mudd, Noah Hutchins, Jonah Brown, Ryan Diersing, Gwen Campbell, Seth Carrico, Megan Diersing, Hannah Harmon, and Sara Thompson. The vast number of these youth have an incredible amount of years behind them performing in plays here and elsewhere. Not only can they act but they can sing a song that will leave you humming it long after you leave the theater.

But I have to say that Carrie Fowler is incredible!

Carrie Fowler has performed in plays for years now. She has grown from the little girl I first saw to a very beautiful red-haired young lady with a dazzling smile.

But you know what?

She has a singing voice that is more beautiful than she is pretty.

It will make you want to close your eyes and just listen.

She’s that good, and it is worth seeing the show just to hear her sing.

Oh yeah.

One more thing.

Watch Seth Carrico closely in the bar scene as Archibald Proops.

He will steal the show without uttering a word.

Now that takes talent.

See you at the theater.

Don’t be late.

Writer’s note: The Central Kentucky Community Theatre Youth Actors will present “Jekyll & Hyde: The Musical” at the Opera House on Friday, January 24th and Saturday January 25th at 7:00 pm and on Sunday, January 26th at 2 pm. Tickets are available at The Opera House, The Springfield State Bank, U.S. Bank and in Lebanon at the Farmers National Bank. Tickets can also be purchased online at www.centralkytheatre.com or call 859-336-5412 ext 4 for more ticket information.