The first performance to open at the Cherryville Little Theatre since the COVID pandemic will star Lincolnton resident, Sarah Fox Sandoval as Anne Shirley alongside her husband, David as Gilbert Blythe and Stationmaster, whom she met on the set of “Seussical” at the Lincoln Cultural Center in 2014. “Anne of Green Gables” opens next Friday, Aug. 20.
"Anne Shirley is an imaginative girl who never slows down or stops talking,” Sandoval said. “Despite having a difficult past, when we meet her in the show Anne is full of life and always has something exciting to share. Gilbert hasn't figured out how to make friends yet and instead teases Anne throughout school which means they aren't friends until the end of the show.”
The Sandovals have performed together in many surrounding theaters in addition to working behind the scenes, directing and teaching.
“We were last seen on this stage at Cherryville Little Theatre in High School Musical On Stage,” she said. “With theatre being closed down since 2020 for COVID, we are excited to help bring this classic story to stage."
The play is based on the novel published in 1908, which became an instant classic, made into a silent movie, then into many film and TV adaptations over the years, including the recent cable production "Anne with an E."
“The story of the plucky and imaginative orphan appealed to young women, the author L.M. Montgomery, used 'L.M.' since she was Lucy Maude and women authors had trouble publishing their works at that time,” the show’s Director Jim Chandler said. “It then rapidly became embraced by adults of all ages and genders and has been translated into many languages. I read the first book and then took a vacation with my wife to Prince Edward Island, Canada in 2007 and toured 'Green Gables' and the countryside of the stories and fell in love with it. It made her seem like a real person. Then, a few years ago I picked a script adaptation of the novel and started working on ideas for staging it.”
Chandler was tapped to direct it in 2020, but the pandemic prevented it.
“We’re now 10 days away from getting it done this year, and the cast has been a dream to work with,” he said. “I’m pleased to be able to stage the first big production in Cherryville community theater in 2021. I have a cast of pros, all of whom have been in community theater for years, and a couple who have in professional productions, including movie and TV work. One of them, Kevin Burke (playing Matthew Cuthbert) just finished an independent film in Wilmington, just before beginning rehearsal for this show. We have a good set and crew and are working on the lighting and music at this time.”
“Anne of Green Gables” opens next Friday, Aug. 20 at the Cherryville Little Theatre which is located at 301 West Academy Street in Cherryville. Show dates are Aug. 20, 21, 27 and 28 at 7 p.m. and Aug. 22 and 29 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $5 at the door; $6.25 online at https://www.cherryvillelittletheatre.org.