A flood of talent: ‘Rainmaker’ hits the stage at FCT

Published 4:56 am Saturday, July 15, 2017

The forecast calls for laughs, smiles, and maybe even a few tears, as the Franklinton Community Theater players bring “The Rainmaker” to life this month.

The show began its run Friday night, but will continue with three more performances — Saturday, July 15; Friday, July 21; and Saturday, July 22. Dinner is from 6:15 p.m. until 7:15 p.m. each night, and the performance begins at 7:30 p.m. The play is being performed at the Ten Ten Club, located at 1010 Bene St. in Franklinton.

Tickets are available at The Golden Pear in Bogalusa, and Leader Printing, the Framer in the Dell or Magee Feed in Franklinton. The cost is $30 for the dinner and the play together, or $15 for the play only.

Director Debbie McNeese said the cast is a mixture of seasoned stage veterans, as well as actors who are making their theater debuts. She said that the group has been practicing two nights a week since April, and even more frequently in the weeks leading up to the performances.

“Anytime you’re directing a play, and you see that the actors are already at the theater ready to go when you arrive to practice, you know that’s a good sign,” she said. “This is a very good cast. It’s been exciting to watch some of the newer performers go from saying, ‘What am I even doing out here?,” to embracing their personalities and adding it to their characters.”

“The Rainmaker” is a romantic comedy in three acts. It takes place in a Midwestern state on the Curry ranch in a time of drought. The cast features H. C. Curry, the father (played by Larry Miller), with his oldest son, Noah (Phil Junkins), Jim, the youngest son (Josh McNeese), and H.C’s only daughter, Lizzie (Emily Murray). Also involved is sheriff’s deputy File (Justin Sanders), a family friend, and Sheriff Thomas, (Rickie McNeese). Bill Starbuck (Cody Wise) completes the cast as the master con artist, or “Rainmaker.”

In the story, H.C. grows concerned that his daughter Lizzie is having trouble finding a suitable beau, and he is also worried about the horrible drought affecting the ranch. When Starbuck arrives in town and tells the Curry family he will bring rain for a payment of $100, H.C. is so desperate that he takes Starbuck up on his offer.

Will Starbuck succeed in bringing rain? Will Lizzie find a husband? And what do a sheriff and his deputy have to do with these events? You’ll just have to visit the Ten Ten Club to find out.

FCT president Rod Sabiston said that he has wanted to put on “The Rainmaker” since last year. He gave the script to Wise, a veteran actor, and asked him which role he would prefer to play. When Wise responded that he’d love to be Starbuck, Sabiston said he was thrilled, and worked to put together the rest of the cast.

Sabiston had that he hoped to be ready to put on the play in 2016, but he couldn’t find the right cast right away. But this year, he found the actors he needed, and the performance is ready to hit the stage.

“The first time I saw the script, I thought of Cody Wise and that the Rainmaker would be a perfect role for him to play,” Sabiston said. “He’s been an Elvis impersonator and has taken acting lessons, and he’s got a lot of talent for this important role.

“The rest of the cast is terrific as well. They put on a great show and I know everyone will enjoy it.”

McNeese said that she hopes some of the audience members might be encouraged to join future FCT productions, as well.

“Come see the show,” she said. “And if you’ve got an interest in theater, even just a little, we’d love to have you. We’re always looking for people who are interested.”