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Thursday April 2, 2015

Extracurricular activities aren't just for students – teachers are joining in on the fun with the Patriot Players at Patrick Henry Community College.

Nine teachers and counselors from schools across Martinsville, Henry County and Eden, N.C. will take the stage for “Legally Blonde: The Musical,” opening on April 9 in Walker Theatre. Bryan Dunn, theatre instructor for Magna Vista High School, said he feels partly responsible for the influx of teachers in this production.

“I might’ve been the one putting a little peer pressure on my fellow teachers. I played Shrek last summer in the Patriot Players show, and then I was in ‘Spelling Bee’ and a lot of my friends came out to see me,” he said. “I wanted them to experience something new, and it’s been a lot of fun to go through the audition process and now the show with all of my friends.”

Dunn plays a variety of characters as part of the ensemble in “Legally Blonde.” He said, “Some people don’t like getting ensemble, but I like ensemble just as much as a lead role. If you’re playing a lot of different roles, it’s challenging and it keeps you busy, and you get to give each character its own voice.”

Dunn will join Liz Ashby, a biology teacher at Magna Vista; Mary Cumbie, an English teacher in the Warrior Tech program at Magna Vista; Shauna Hines, music teacher and band director for Martinsville City Schools; Christina Mattaliano, college adviser for Magna Vista; Tish Owns, physical education instructor at Douglass Elementary School in Eden; Tim Loman, band director at Magna Vista; Max Hall, middle school instructor for Henry County Schools; and Lindsey Bryant, an Upward Bound adviser at PHCC.

Hines said decided to join the show after her dog Duchess received the role of Bruiser. She will be part of the ensemble, along with other small roles throughout the show.

“I just tagged along so we could do the show together,” Hines said. “Duchess is very spoiled, and it’s trying to get her to do exactly what the directors are looking for, but she loves the attention.”

Hall is a theatre veteran, having performed in numerous plays with Theatre Works Community Players. He said after seeing this musical and hearing the soundtrack a number of times, he wanted to audition.

“I knew a lot of my friends were going to audition, and I really wanted to do the show with them – it was a good fit,” Hall said, who is playing the role of Emmett Forrest. “It’s been great to work with the cast. They’ve put in so much effort, and they’re good at what they do. It’s nice seeing the show come together.” 

Devin Pendleton, artistic director and director of programs for the Patriot Players, said he’s excited to have a lot of great talent in the cast of “Legally Blonde,” and even though they’re teachers, he said they can still learn a lot from the Patriot Players.

“There are many transferrable skills instructors can take away from their experience in theatre,” Pendleton said, “like the ability to sustain in their lessons, engaging in creative, out-of-the-box thinking, and bringing a new level of confidence to their courses.”

Pendleton said he’s also excited about the opportunity for teachers to spread the word to their students about the opportunities at PHCC.

“Our cast members are cheerleaders for us in a way because of the positive experiences with Patriot Players they share with their communities,” Pendleton said. “We’re hoping our area’s young people will consider PHCC, and while they’re here, participate in the Patriot Players.”

“Legally Blonde: The Musical” opens April 9-11 at 7 p.m. in Walker Theatre at PHCC. It also will show on April 12 at 2 p.m. and April 16-18 at 7 p.m. This show is rated PG for mild language and adult comedy. Any concerned patrons are encouraged to research the show prior to attending.

Tickets are $15 and available now at the PHCC Switchboard, the Martinsville-Henry County Visitor Center, located at 191 Fayette St., and online at http://legallyblondephcc.brownpapertickets.com/. (Online purchasing fees apply.) To find out more, visit www.patrickhenry.edu/patriotplayers or call (276) 638-8777. 

Tags: Entertainment, Henry County, Insider's Tips, Martinsville, MHC Visitor Center, Patrick Henry Community College, Performing Arts, PHCC Patriot Players