Gainesville Community Playhouse presents ‘Adventures of Tom Sawyer’


“The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” features, from left, Susan Christophy as Aunt Polly, Alex Christophy as Tom Sawyer, Stephen Griffin as Judge Thatcher and Marissa Vairo as Becky Thatcher beginning Friday at the Gainesville Community Playhouse.

Brad McClenny/Staff photographer
Published: Thursday, July 11, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, July 10, 2013 at 12:57 p.m.

The bold characters in Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” came to life when the book was published in 1876, but beginning Friday they’ll also sing in a new production at the Gainesville Community Playhouse.

Facts

‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer’

What: Gainesville Community Playhouse production of musical based on Mark Twain’s novel
When: Opens Friday with a preview performance at 8 tonight; showtimes are 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays through Aug. 4.
Where: Vam York Theater, 4039 NW 16th Blvd.
Tickets: $16, $10 for students with ID and children, and $10 for seniors for Sunday’s performance only; all seats are $5 for tonight’s preview
Info: 376-4949, gcplayhouse.org

The production of Ken Ludwig’s and Don Schlitz’s musical comedy of the classic narrative will bring unwinding escapades to the GCP’s Vam York Theater through Aug. 4.

At its core, the play depicts the journey of the mischievous Tom Sawyer as he deals with his Aunt Polly, falls in love with Becky Thatcher and witnesses a murder. But the play’s theme explores the nature of growing up and dealing with different life situations, says director Dan Christophy.

The musical production has lighthearted humor and catchy tunes that will stick with audience members after the curtains close, Christophy says. His favorite lyric is this one, from the song “In the Bible”: “The battle between wrong and right is written down in black and white.”

The play is a family-oriented production that provides both laughs for the kids and some serious moments for adults as well, says actor Michael Tremaine, who plays the town drunk, Muff Potter.

“It’s a fun world to escape to,” Tremaine says. “It’s one of those feel-good shows that just kind of takes you out of reality for a couple hours.”

Out of 28 cast members, the youngest actor is 4 years old, and the oldest is about 55. And the play’s world of an 1840 town near the Mississippi River is designed to appeal to the same age-range as the actors, toddlers and senior citizens alike, Christophy says.

“Audience can expect to come in, and for two hours, be transported to a different community and be a part of that community,” Christophy says. “For those two hours, they’ll have a relief from the outside world.”

Even though Twain was a controversial writer that provided a key peek into history, the play itself mostly aims to help viewers forget about their petty worries and relax, he says.

It also offers a clear message that someone of any age can grasp. The play teaches the audience about the importance of family, guidance and support, while demonstrating how adolescents are raised by an entire community rather than one or two parents, he says.

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