A Little Princess, October 2015


Hi FOA Friends!

We are kicking off our entrance into the blogging world with one of our favorite casts to ever grace the Forum stage!  On this page, you will find blog posts from cast members of A Little Princess.  Read, share, and enjoy!

If you would like to get involved with the Foundation of Arts, visit foajonesboro.org or give us a call at 935-2726 to learn more about who we are and what we do!

Maranda Nichols

Hello readers and welcome to our new FOA blog! I’m so excited about
this new component of the FOA.  I hear so many wonderful stories about
how the FOA has touched someone’s life and I hope a few of these
stories are read by you. My name is Maranda Nichols and I am currently
in the process of directing “A Little Princess” set to open in 1 week.
This is such an exciting time during productions because of the
drastic changes that happen with sets, choreography, songs, and
performances. I want to take this opportunity to share a little of
what the FOA means in my life. This is a perfect show for me to be
directing in so many ways. First, I get to come full circle. I started
with little performances in ch

urch musicals, moved on to a few
elementary productions, and starred (at least in my young mind and in
my family’s praise) in many home productions and films. A friend in
Junior High asked me to come with her for “Alice in Wonderland” and I
had a terrific time finally being on a big stage and I was hooked! The
next year, the production was “A Little Princess”. I knew the director
from working with her the previous year and I had grown-up watching
Shirley Temple in her version of the story and loved watching the 1995
movie that was made. I was a shoe-in for a great part…I could be Sara
or Becky…or maybe Lavinia. This was going to be great! I loved my
audition and walked out beaming with pride on my job well done! At
that time, we had to come to the Forum to see the cast list and my
name was listed! …as Ermengarde St. John..what?!?! Who was that?
Wasn’t that the whiny, chunky girl in the movie? Upset did not begin
to describe how I felt, but I stuck with it and found I had a decent
number of lines. In that production, I learned things weren’t always
what they seemed. Ermengarde is Sara’s best friend and while Becky
sees and experiences the drastic change in Sara, it was Ermengarde who
Sara changed first. Ermengarde learns how to be a friend, how to stick
with someone through thick or thin, she learned how to tough things
out. It was a wonderful part and is still one of my favorite
productions I have been involved in.

My theatre experiences were paused after that for awhile. A lack of drama department in school limited my exposure and I was committed to cheering, choir, and many clubs in school that took up my time. I was able to perform again with the reintroduction of a drama program my senior year and finally felt I fit in somewhere in school, I could actually do something really well. I even thought I wanted pursue theatre in college. My ambitions were not to become an actress or teach theatre, I wanted to go to medical school and when I looked in to curriculums, it just wasn’t possible. So once again, I left the theatre world. I worked at Walt Disney World, a dream come true, finished college, went back to Walt Disney World as a performer and all the while pursued my goal of attending medical school. I applied 4 times and was never accepted, that was tough, I tried to get more experience, better scores, better references, but nothing seemed to change the outcome.

After graduation from my second Disney Program, I moved back home and
got the only job I could find…waiting tables. I was fortunate to
finally find a job that somewhat used my Biology degree as a clinical
research assistant 6 months later, but was still experiencing
heartbreak with each rejection letter and the inability to move toward
my goals in life. I had previously been involved in theatre and had
always felt good while performing, so I looked up The Forum again and
saw they would be performing Disney’s Beauty and the Beast the next
summer. Auditions were coming up for High School Musical, so I thought
I would audition and get to know some of the people involved. I was
one of the oldest High School Students at 24 years old, but had a ball
playing Martha Cox under Megan Harrell’s direction. There was no
stress, no worries, just joy. Finally auditions for Beauty and the
Beast arrived. Beauty and the Beast was my favorite Disney movie and I
had listened to the Broadway soundtrack for years and dreamed of being
in the production, but figured that it would be a very long time
before I got the chance. I auditioned with everyone else and was
pleased with how I did. I was even excited to receive a phone call for
call backs that weekend. Callbacks were so much fun and I loved seeing
all the talent that had auditioned. I did my best and had a great
time, so now it was just the waiting game. I waited all day to check
the cast list and didn’t look until after I got off work. I saw my
name in the car after work…I had gotten Belle. I sat and cried in my
car about how happy I was. I called my Mom on the way to church
sniffling and sobbing about the part. I could not have asked for a
better part, I just wanted to be cast. I didn’t really think I had a
chance at Belle. Receiving that part and the experience of working in
that show completely  changed my confidence at the time. I had finally
accomplished something I wanted. I prayed, I practiced and did my best
and it paid off. The love and support of the crew and cast in that
show meant more to me than I can ever say.

I decided to audition for the next show that fall where I met a group of people who became some of my closest friends. We would get together to play Improvisation games, visit, and just support each other in shows and auditions.  We even wrote and performed our own show that Christmas. These theatre people became the group that supported each other and encouraged each other to grow and try out new things. I also decided one night to apply for Physician Assistant school that year. I worked my way through the application process with almost no effort and was accepted in 2010. Which brings me to where I am today: a practicing Physician Assistant, where I love my job, teaching drama classes during the week, performing and directing at night, and volunteering here with The FOA during the in between times. The people I have met through my involvement have grown and some have left, many have stayed and with each new production I find new relationships to embrace. I started teaching and directing because someone else did it for me, I participate in many shows to help in whatever way is needed because someone did it for me. They took their time to teach me and support me and do this for me, so I think the greatest way I can say “thank you” is to do the same for others. That is the overarching theme in this show, kindness. One person’s actions and selflessness is observed and felt by those around her and they are blessed by performing their own acts of kindness in their world. Sara is able to touch so many people by her sweet outlook on life, her ability to fantasize, her empathy, and can see the world for what it can be, not just what it is. Someone else’s small action made a big impact in my life and I am so happy that this organization allows me to do the same.

Abby Jayne Spades

Hi, my name is Abby Jayne Spades and I am twelve years old.  I am a HUGE fan of the FOA.  I take dance classes and do community theatre.  I guess I would have to say that other than my home, the FOA is my favorite place in the world.

The Foundation of Arts is the most amazing place!  It is not just a building filled with different classes you can take, it is a place of extreme creativity and imagination.   Not only that, the FOA is made up of some of the kindest people in the universe!

The Foundation provides several types of dance classes.  I take tap and jazz, but many other options are available.  Classes also include acting, broadway theatre classes, art and more!  Finally, there is community theatre.  My favorite.  I had the great blessing of playing Sara Crewe in the production of,  A Little Princess.  I have been able to work with many talented actors and fantastic directors.  Everyone at the FOA is very caring, because we are all really just one big family.  I hope everyone can have the same experience with the FOA that I do!

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