Lakeland puts on ‘Yankee’ play

Published 10:28 pm Monday, April 4, 2011

In Lakeland High School’s production of “A Connecticut Yankee,” Kayla Ann Baylor, plays Queen Guenevere, and her ladies, from left, Allison Ryan, Molly Blake and Samara Hardina, listen to the tales of the Yankee visitor in Camelot, whom the knights believe is a dragon.

A New England student travels back in time and winds up in King Arthur’s court when Lakeland High School drama club presents “A Connecticut Yankee.”

There will be shows April 7, 8 and 9 at 6:30 p.m. and April 10 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for students.

Sara Sims, the school’s drama club sponsor and director of the play, said “A Connecticut Yankee” jumped out at her when she was considering plays for the spring musical because of its universal appeal and humor.

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“It was just absolutely hysterical,” she said.

Sims also said she thought the setting of Camelot with its familiar characters, such as Merlin, Sir Lancelot and King Arthur, would grab people.

In the comedy, based on a novel by Mark Twain, a student named Hank, played by Matthew Bradshaw, is participating in a school play when he gets knocked out and wakes up in Camelot during the rule of King Arthur.

After being knighted “Sir Boss,” Hank tries to modernize Camelot and meets Lady Alisande, one of Queen Guenevere’s attendants, played by Molly Blake.

“She’s basically (Hank’s) love interest,” Sims said. “She catches his attention while he is in Camelot.”

But Hank also must face the evil plans of Morgan Le Fey, portrayed by Wynter Brown, and Merlin, played by Frank Miller.

Sims said putting together the musical for the past eight weeks has been hectic because its production overlapped with another show. But she said she is lucky to have students in the drama club who have great work ethics.

“I have a really good core group that are always here, always ready to do whatever,” Sims said.

In conjunction with “A Connecticut Yankee,” children of all ages will be able to take part in “A Knighting Ceremony” before the show on April 10.

Children will be able to decorate their own crowns, get their faces painted and even be declared a knight or a lady by King Arthur and Queen Guenevere.

Sims said the drama club did a similar, interactive event before last year’s spring musical, and they enjoyed it so much they decided to do it again.

She added they want to “create this kind of dream world before the show,” in which the children can spend time with the characters.

Tickets for “A Knighting Ceremony” are $5. A limited number are available.

Sims said she thinks “A Connecticut Yankee” is great for families to experience together.

“There’s something about a musical that has you walking away feeling good about yourself,” she said.