The Aracoma Story – Spirits & Legends will open tonight at 8:30 p.m., at the Liz Spurlock Amphitheatre in Chief Logan State Park.
A newly revised script, new director and the one of the largest casts in recent years plan to transform West Virginia’s longest running outdoor drama into a whole new experience for audiences.
Marshall University Theatre graduate Rachel Noe of McConnell is returning to play the role of Princess Aracoma. This marks Noe’s 11th season with The Aracoma Story, Inc.
She has served in several different capacities on and off the stage.
In 2008, she directed Schoolhouse Rocks Jr. for TAS.
Though Noe has played the role of Aracoma before, she is approaching the character from a completely different perspective this time around.
"I am so excited to be involved in the revitalized version of the show,” Noe said. “It is such an awesome experience to watch this new version come to life and to see the amazing renovation of this timeless tale.”
Cody Vinson of Cyclone returns to the role of Boling Baker this year. Vinson was eight years old when he landed his first role in The Aracoma Story as Joshua, one of the narrator children.
“I am thrilled to be back as Boling Baker this year along with an extremely talented cast and crew,” Vinson says. “This season brings many new additions and exciting changes. You won't want to miss this new rendering of the legend that gives me chills every time I step into the shoes of Boling Baker."
Aaron Gillispie of Julian will take to The Aracoma Story Stage for the first time as “The Man.”
Gillispie is participating with his daughter Kayla who plays “Anna” in the show. Gillispie says he and his family have watched the Aracoma Story for several years. This year after seeing a news story about the new version of the show in the local paper, he decided to bring his daughter to auditions.
Gillispie was also encouraged to auditions and both landed “newly written” roles in the show.
“This is my first time being in the show,” Gillispie said. “Being new to this stage I have learned a great deal from the director and the actors and actresses in the show and those working behind the scenes. This truly is a class act.”
Gillispie said what stands out most is how much pride the people of southern West Virginia take when it comes to this production.
The remaining cast members include Jamie-Khiry Stargill, Liz-Shana Nelson, Elly-Peyton Cope, Josh-Seth Bunting, M.J.-Olivia Cope, Anna-Kayla Gillespie, Greeter-Sara Alberts, Cornstalk-Keith Muncey, Dreamteller-Racheal Stephens, Medicine Man/Logan-Phillip Williamson, Oceana-Laura Hatfield, Nonhelema-Debra Dennison, Fish Hunter/Big Bear/York-Rich Mays, Crazy Wolf-Dennie Carver, Wildfeather-Mary Muncey, White Horse-Jeremy Gibson, Gibson/Elijah/Lone Tree-Ronnie Thompson, James/Lt. Chapman-Rich Cope, Kathryn-Kathie Cope, Dawes-Adam Barnette, Monroe-Brad Furrow, Ruth Galloway-Carma Cochran, Rebecca Smith-Pam Ellis, Jessie-Taylor Cline, Mary Louise-Gillian Cochran, Amanda-Cailen Ferrel Brumfield, Ruby-Sidney Loftis, Running Deer-Dillan Sexton, Little Black Bear-Billy Hager, Indian boy-Donald Lee Hager, Indian boy-Ian Sexton, Blue Feather-Shayla McNeely, Raindrop-Morgan Stollings, Snow Lilly-Grace Kimler , Indians include-Briana Blankenship, Carrie Kennedy, Melinda Brumfield, Rachel Bryant, Hali Baldwin, Brooke Browning, McKinna Browning, Lexi Brumfield, Krista Ellis, Nikki Ellis, Jala Gore, Hailey Gudi, Hailey Hatfield, Mindy Keyser, Micaha Kinser, Sara Mays and Hannah Osborne. Setters include Joel McNeely, Aaron Stone, Dina Hager, Regina McNeely, Summer Jewel and Jamie Nichols.
The Aracoma Story – Spirits & Legends is being directed by Bill France.
“I am so proud of our cast. Every single one of them has given so much of themselves to bring this show to the stage. From the smallest indians to the lead roles, we have a tremendously talented group. I can’t wait for the audiences to finally see what we’ve been working on for the past few months,” France said.
Opening Night of The Aracoma Story - Spirits & Legends will be presented at the Liz Spurlock Amphitheater in Chief Logan State Park tonight at 8:30pm. The show will run Tuesdays through Saturdays, July 21 through August 8.
All performances start at 8:30pm nightly. Advance ticket discounts are available at The UPS Store in Logan, Necessary Things in Logan, Pic-Pac in Man and Aracoma Drug in Chapmanville. You can purchase tickets by phone including Group Discounted Tickets using Visa or MasterCard by calling The Aracoma Story, Inc. office at (304) 752-0253.
For more information about this summer production visit www.thearacomastory.com.