TCT brings ‘Charlotte’s Web’ to life

By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – A cast of kids is bringing “Charlotte’s Web” to the Tupelo Community Theatre stage.
High school seniors down to third graders from across the area make up the cast, which will tell the classic children’s tale next weekend as part of TCT’s Summer Youth Theatre.
“This isn’t a musical, but it’s pretty straight from the book,” said director Mallory Davidson. “The only non-traditional thing we did is, there are no traditional animal costumes. We hint at them, but we didn’t go literal.”
Wilbur, played by Tucker Cowsert, wears a hat with pig ears and a pink shirt. Katelyn Stieg, who stars as his spider friend Charlotte, isn’t bogged down with an extra limbs, but instead wears a black and white ensemble with bold stripes. Goose and Gander, played by Lily-Cate Jones and Jackson Cowsert, respectively, wear white with feathers.
Otherwise, the story is one families know and love: Charlotte helps spare her buddy Wilbur from the slaughterhouse by spinning words about him in her web.
The cast, Davidson said, is a mix of TCT, Pied Piper Players and Tupelo High School Thespian veterans, as well as some newcomers.
THS veteran Stieg is taking cues from her mom and other ladies to play the classy Charlotte.
“She’s graceful. She’s a mature spider – I almost want to call her a woman – in charge of the barn,” the 16-year-old said. “She sees something in Wilbur, and she wants to help him.”
Jacob Roland is having fun as Templeton the rat.
“He’d prefer to be left alone, but he can be talked into good deeds – mostly by bribing him,” Roland, 13, said.
Though his character isn’t the friendliest in the barnyard, the whole play leaves audiences feeling good, he said.
“It teaches a good lesson, and it’s a great story,” he said.
Davidson said her diverse cast makes the show worth seeing.
“It’s a fresh take on ‘Charlotte’s Web,’” Davidson said. “It’s a great mix of kids, and they come in with a great, innocent take on the show. You can tell they’re having a great time on the stage.”

On stage
What: Tupelo Community Theatre’s Summer Youth Theatre production of “Charlotte’s Web”

When: 7:30 p.m. June 20-21, 2 p.m. June 22

Where: The Lyric

Cost: $10/adults, $5 students

Info: (662) 844-1935, tct.ms

“Charlotte’s Web” cast: Noah Cox (John Arable); Kaitlin Flowers (Martha Arable); Kate Burleson (Fern Arable); Jake White (Avery Arable); Wesley Burcham (Homer Zuckerman); Meredith McLaurin (Edith Zuckerman); Nathan Jones (Lurvy); Tucker Cowsert (Wilbur); Katelyn Stieg (Charlotte); Lily-Cate Jones (Goose); Jackson Cowsert (Gander); Jacob Roland (Templeton); Mallie Powell (Sheep); Bryce Heatherly (Lamb); Josh Martin, Elizabeth Middleton and Madison Jones (Chorus); Megan Roland (Reporter); Mackenzie Graham (Photographer); Nathan Jones (Voice on a loudspeaker); Blake Ethridge (Uncle); Mae Barnes (First spectator); Brandi Reynolds (Second spectator); Eron Hendrix (First fairgoer); Sarah Kate Broadway (Second fairgoer); Lilly Bray (Third fairgoer); Austyn Davis (Announcer); Rob Parker (First spider); Nailah Slatter (Second spider); Anne Taylor (Third spider)