Four Leading Roles Cast
For the more than 10,000 readers of Culpeper author Virginia Morton’s Civil War novel, Marching Through Culpeper, the names Constance Armstrong, Aaron Ames, Frank Stringfellow and Sadie Jordan are as familiar as family names. The excitement is mounting now that the performers have been chosen to bring these popular characters to life during the six multimedia, musical performances scheduled for Aug. 3-5, 10-12, 2012.
A recent newcomer to Culpeper, Maddison Stainback, will walk onto the Eastern View High School stage as Constance Armstrong—headstrong heroine of the story. The Spotswood High School graduate teaches music at St. Luke’s school and gives private guitar lessons. She’s played the guitar since age five and says, “Music has always been a part of my life. Singing the original songs written for Constance will be a real joy.”
Stainback bubbles with enthusiasm about being Constance and feels she shares many similarities with the character. She says, “I keep dreaming about Constance at night. I dream that I am on the stage and that every time I cry for her, I’m crying for me. And it’s like she and I are both in the same body, understanding each other in mourning, but pushing each other in perseverance. I’ve had some tough times in my life so I identify with her.”
Honored to have the opportunity to bring Constance to a wide audience, she concludes, “What strikes me is that, by stripping her of her possessions and family, we see how pure her character is. Constance stays steadfast in Culpeper, overcoming the worst while remaining the best she can be. She’s a fighter and a bit rambunctious along the way. That’s why I love her.”
And Stainback surely shares the emotions of the love story since she will be walking down the aisle with her beloved on June 2.
Constance’s love interest, Maine soldier Aaron Ames, will be played by John Flemming, a sophomore at East Carolina University. The Musical Theater and Professional Acting double major has been in four productions at East Carolina. While at Eastern View High School he performed in numerous shows including several at Riverside Dinner Theater in Fredericksburg.
Flemming is intrigued at the thought of bringing Culpeper’s Civil War inhabitants to life on stage. He says, “Being a part of something this big for my hometown is going to be incredibly rewarding. And I am honored to be a part of it.”
He is currently working with a dialog coach to learn the Maine brogue. He feels, “Preparation for Marching Through Culpeper will be different from any other show I have done, because I get to study Culpeper’s history and delve into the particular period when bringing Ames to life.”
According to author Virginia Morton, Taylor Ballard read the part of Confederate scout Frank Stringfellow at the stage reading of the script in 2010. She says, “Taylor was totally uninhibited and not daunted by donning a ball dress or portraying any of the other true antics of the irrepressible Frank Stringfellow. Taylor is slender, the right age, and we’re delighted to have him in the role. He will keep the audience on the edge of their seats and laughing along the way.”
Now a freshman theater major at Virginia Commonwealth University, Ballard has appeared in more than a dozen shows in Culpeper and also starred in an independent movie, Kidney Beans, filmed in Warrenton.
Ballard is looking forward to the show. He says, “I remember how much fun the stage reading was, so I said yes.”
Another performer from the 2010 stage reading, Patricia Hill-Davidson, will portray Constance’s beloved former mammy Sadie. The Warrenton resident founded Kapak Talent Direct, a casting agency, to help lesser known but talented performers gain roles.
Hill-Davidson is moving into new territory as a stage actress. Her previous acting experience has been in film. She says, “I’m basically a cut and let’s do it again person.”
“When I read the script for Sadie, I felt the enormous strength she possessed. I also felt the deep love she has for Constance while protecting her through the trials and tribulations of war.
My dream is to be able to bring Sadie to life so the audience feels the love she has for Constance. My hope is to one day see Marching Through Culpeper on the big screen.”
Directors Johncie and Tim Carlson have scheduled auditions for the remaining 25+ cast members for May 5 and May 6 at 2:30 p.m. and May 8 at 6:30 p.m. at Culpeper United Methodist Church. Use the lower parking lot and enter by the door on the right. Soldiers, townspeople young and old—both Caucasian and African-American— are needed. See www.marchingthroughculpeperonstage.com/auditions/ for details. Contact Johncie Carlson firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or to volunteer to help on the stage crew.