‘Char­lotte’s Web’ spins hol­i­day magic at RAAC The­atre

Rappahannock News - - THEATER • WASHINGTON - By Patty Hardee Spe­cial to the Rap­pa­han­nock News

RAAC Com­mu­nity The­atre’s hol­i­day show have al­ways been crowd pleasers, sell­ing out ev­ery per­for­mance, but this year’s pro­duc­tion of “Char­lotte’s Web” might top them all.

Au­di­tions for the show with a script adapted by Joseph Robi­nette from the E.B. White clas­sic about a spi­der whose unique tal­ents helps save the life of a young pig drew a record num­ber of ea­ger per­form­ers, in­clud­ing some news faces, as well as kids and adults who would be fa­mil­iar to reg­u­lar RAAC the­atre go­ers.

“We have a pol­icy with our hol­i­day shows of cast­ing any­one who au­di­tions,” says RAAC The­atre Com­mit­tee Chair and RAAC Board mem­ber Sal­lie Morgan. “Di­rec­tors of­ten have to cre­ate roles.”

That was a chal­lenge fac­ing direc­tor Lu­cia Hanover, a long-time the­atre pro­fes­sional. “Char­lotte’s Web has a lot of flex­i­bil­ity for cast­ing,” says Lu­cia. “I could cast the smaller kids as farm an­i­mals and baby spi­ders.”

Lu­cia grew up in Alexan­dria be­fore spend­ing many years act­ing, di­rect­ing, and stage man­ag­ing in New York City.

“I stud­ied and worked at HB Play­wrights foun­da­tion,” a pres­ti­gious or­ga­ni­za­tion founded by Uta Ha­gen and her hus­band Herb Berghof, “and then worked with var­i­ous the­atre com­pa­nies all over New York.”

She moved back to Vir­ginia for her hus­band’s ca­reer in 2003 and they moved to War­ren­ton 12 years ago.

“I like War­ren­ton,” she says. “It’s been an awe­some place for rais­ing a fam­ily.”

While she did that, she took some time away from the­atre, but now that her daugh­ter is 9, and her son 14, she’s been get­ting back to it. Last Christ­mas, she di­rected “Fruit­cakes” at Fauquier Com­mu­nity The­atre, and more re­cently a kids’ pro­duc­tion of “Mada­gas­car,” also at FCT and will di­rect their pro­duc­tion of “My Fair Lady” in May.

In 2017, Lu­cia worked on the RAAC pro­duc­tion of “Arcadia” and taught the­atre work­shops at the RACC The­atre for the sum­mer camps run by Rap­pa­han­nock’s Child­care and Learn­ing Cen­ter. She teaches the­atre arts at War­ren­ton’s Pro­gres­sive Dance School.

As for RAAC’s pro­duc­tion of Char­lotte’s Web, she says, “I was ex­cited to be asked to di­rect ‘Char­lotte’s Web.’ I want to honor the base­line story of friend­ship and love and kind­ness that E. B. White has writ­ten. All of the char­ac­ters sup­port each other in the story. I want the whole pro­duc­tion to re­flect that.”

It’s been fun work­ing at RAAC The­atre, she says.

“This is [RAAC’s] main hol­i­day show so you have a lot [of peo­ple] from the com­mu­nity who haven’t done the­atre be­fore or have just a lit­tle bit of the­atre ex­pe­ri­ence. Watch­ing them blos­som and en­joy and make new friends and learn what’s in­volved in the­atre is a big joy for me. I do work with kids in the­atre all over. See­ing kids build their con­fi­dence and their stamina for the stage, as well when they’ve had lit­tle to no ex­pe­ri­ence is also ex­cit­ing, so I’ve en­joyed that. RAAC’s given me that op­por­tu­nity big time.”

“And we’re de­lighted to have Lu­cia work­ing with us, con­tribut­ing her tal­ent and train­ing to mak­ing Char­lotte’s Web a hit,” says Morgan. ➤ “Char­lotte’s Web” at RAAC Com­mu­nity The­atre, 310 Gay St, Wash­ing­ton. Fri­days, No­vem­ber 30 and De­cem­ber 7 at 8:00 p.m.; Satur­days, De­cem­ber 1 and 8, and Sun­day, De­cem­ber 9 at 3:00 p.m. Make reser­va­tions at raac.org/raacwp/ com­mu­nity-the­atre/. If no In­ter­net, call 1-800695-6075 ext. 1.

COUR­TESY PHOTO

Direc­tor Lu­cia Hanover watches as de­signer Cyn­thia Stamps cre­ates the whim­si­cal set for RAAC Com­mu­nity The­atre’s hol­i­day sea­son pro­duc­tion of Char­lotte’s Web.

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