Hark Real Hard!

Winter 2007.

This marks the first time I've been involved in one of the Winter productions.  I want to take just a minute to impress upon you just how much work is put into Boogaloo.  Back when CPI first helped us with Turn the Washpot Down, they informed us that we could get several seasons out of that play before we needed to write another one. Here's what we do instead: Twice a year, Betsy Trakas writes a completely new and original play. That's at least one every six months in addition to any others she writes. Ralph and Buddy and Dell (and very infrequently, me) work up songs for these productions... two or three for the Winter show and six or more for the Summer show. We have a cast and crew of about 70 or so people who are involved with their own costumes and props, and some of who do carpentry, electronics, lights, and setwork. That's two, full, brand-new productions a year. We don't hire outside songwriters; we don't hire an outside playwrite or director; we don't hire choreographers or set designers. And we do a better job than the "professionals" did. That's because we know our stories, and we can tell them.  And most of us have been doing this for years now... since 2002.

Earl and Rudy

The point here is that when you come to see a Boogaloo show, you're getting a lot of work, a lot of professionalism, and some genuine down-home creativity that you will never, ever find coming from the pens and minds and mouths of Yankees writing about Southerners. You're getting the real thing. 

There are so many people who want to be involved that most of the parts are pretty skimpy. This is ensemble work in its truest sense. You really have to work at fleshing them out and making them your own. Also, all of this work means that you're pretty much committed to no free time whatsoever for about two months per production. So I feel really happy to limit myself to just the Summer shows. I feel that the fewer people are on stage, the better the parts for those who are left. I'd rather do something production-wise, and I've also sort of hoped to sit out a show or two so I could actually watch one (but was called in to a couple of shows to fill in for people who had dropped out). Being in just the Summer shows, I somehow had it in my head that the Winter show was smaller. That is, until I typed up the cast list for this page. Though it's a shorter play, I found that Hark Real Hard! had three more cast members than Mill Song! Nevertheless, I did this particular Winter show for two reasons. First, I was asked: Betsy said she wrote the part of the Chief with me in mind and asked me to play it. Second, there is no second reason. I was lying about that.

Marital Strife
In Hark Real Hard! I played Police Chief Parker, who's looking forward to a nice quiet Christmas Eve, as he's given the entire police department the night off to be home with their families, excepting a skeleton crew consisting of himself and his deputies, Coleman and Lewis. Sadly, things don't go as planned.  
The end result?  Mayhem, hilarity, mayhem, a touching ending. And mayhem.

I was very happy to have had the opportunity to play a couple of nice scenes with my 12-year old son Michael, who played the homeless child Davey. His part was significant in that the events portrayed resulted in our police force establishing a charity to provide for children whose parents are incarcerated. Uncle Rudy was played by my older brother, Everett (who got to put his experience in security to good use playing the sort of guy usually caught by his systems).

I just have to mention that Mary Ann Gist and Glenn Sparks brought down the house with their portrayal of a couple of drunks making themselves at home in the City Jail! They were absolutely hilarious!

Original Songs

In Their Cups
The Voice of Christmas           
Music & Lyrics by:  Ralph Lawson
Arrangement by:  Buddy Wilkes & Dell Morgan
Soloists:  Dave Leigh
Janet Lawson
Children Soloists:  Bess Lawson
Reid Bailey
Anna Kelly
Julia Bailey
Little Angel
Music & Lyrics by:
Ralph Lawson
Arrangement by:  Buddy Wilkes & Dell Morgan
Soloists:  Anna Kelly
Sha'Keem Salter
Reid Bailey
Katie Ford
Bess Lawson
Ann Jordan Hathcock
Emmie Rebekah Thompson
Leah Parrish
Rebecca richardson
Sarah Wilson
Sean Brown

Everybody's Jailed


Executive ("Core") Team: Pam McMillian, Chair
Nanette Jenkins
Kristi Sommer
Marsha Hathcock
Monte Lancaster
George Bruce
Pat Ferguson
Melody Gault
Playwright: Betsy Vanderford
Director: Ralph Lawson
Producer: Jane Wilkes
Set Design: Ralph Lawson
Stage Manager: Hollis Fowler
Stage Crew: Bethany Byrd,
Will Leigh
Jeremy Robinson
Taylor Smith
Jacob Wilson
Pianist: Dell Morgan
Lighting Control: Maggie All
Sound Control Nan Gregory
Choreographer: Janet Lawson
Props/Costumes: Mary Virginia Blackwell
Publicity: Donna Mayfield
Margie Ruff
Tickets/Programs: Marsha Hathcock

arranged alphabetically by last name
(if I have any of these wrong just let me know so I can correct it)

Tyler Albrecth Stanley
Amber Allison Darlene
Julia Bailey Young Child
Reid Bailey Mabel
Mary Virginia Blackwell Mrs. Harris
Sean Brown Curtis
Nancy Braxton Browning Mother Beasley
George Bruce Mr. Morgan
Jacob Casey Arthur
Carrie Cothran Sherry
Katie Ford Diana
Sarah Garnett Isabel
Jannie Gist Clarice
Mary Ann Gist Ophelia
Ann Jordan Hathcock Mary Ann
Ron Holden Coleman
Nanette Sloan Jenkins Mrs. Hooper
Sue Keith Mrs. Nelson
Anna Kelly Sadie
Tori Labian Evelyn
Bess Lawson Lila Lou
Janet Lawson Mrs. Parker
Dave Leigh Chief Parker
Everett Leigh Uncle Rudy
Michael Leigh Davey
William Leigh Danny
Charlie Long Jimmy
Pam McMillian Mrs. Harper
Leah Parrish Lucy
Daniel Prince Mr. Pierce
Katie Prince Mrs. Hill
Bailey Queen Gloria
Barbara Richardson Mrs. Horton
Rebecca Richardson Virginia
Sha'keem Salter Marcus
Glenn Sparks Woodrow
Jim Stepp Buford
Kathy Stepp Myrtle
Dillon Thompson Frankie/Lester
Emmie Rebekah Thompson Maudie
Charles Turner Lewis
Buddy Wilkes Earl
Chrie Wilson Mrs. Hunter
Hanna Wilson Inez
Jacob Wilson Harold
Leah Wilson Josephine
Sarah Wilson Charlene
Kaylee Wilson Louis