LUMBERTON — Huck Finn and Jim may be drifting down the Lumber River this weekend.
Studio One Lab Series, a group of mostly high schoolers from the Public Schools of Robeson County, will be performing “Big River,” the musical based on the novel “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” from Thursday to Sunday.
“It’s really a fun, high-energy show,” said Jeanne Koonce, the director of the show. “The musical retains much of Twain’s humor that is in the novel, and throughout all his writing and that makes it really fun. … Twain’s humor, and sense of Southern humor is all through this show, plus the music is so very Southern, it’s really like “coming home”.
The show, which will be held at 7:30 p.m. from Thursday to Saturday and at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, will be held at the Givens Performing Arts Center at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. There will also be a show at 10 a.m. on Friday, which is open to all area schools. For school show reservations, call (910) 224-4000.
Tickets are $13 for adults, $10 for seniors and $7 for students from kindergarten to college. Tickets are on sale at the door and at the GPAC box office by calling (910) 521-6361.
The show follows Mark Twain’s classic story of Huck Finn and Jim taking a journey down the Mississippi River toward freedom at the mouth of the Ohio River.
“It is truly a boy’s journey,” Koonce said. “The way all boys want adventure, and getting away from parents, hiding out in the woods all of those truthful things about life. And it’s a very American-type story, rooted in our collective past as explorers and the whole sense of the rawness of a new America of that time.”
More than 35 local students will be participating as cast and crew.
“It educates them about a certain historical period,” said Brianna Goodwin, the stage manager. “… It’s making that period of history real for them, whereas when they study it in history class, it doesn’t really hit them, but now they are playing out the story and these characters, so they get to see what it was like.”
The performance will star Ryan Ransom as Huck, Devon Hill as Jim, Oliva Goins as Mary Jane, and Ryan Bloomer as Tom Sawyer. Rebecca Kilburg and Elizabeth Ronson will play the Douglas sisters, Ismael Soto and Stephanie Parnell will be Silas and Sally, and Alexis Robinson will play Alice.
The show will feature mostly country and gospel music.
“It’s a great match because it is a story set in various places of the South and the music matches and supports that,” Koonce said. “The songs and dances represent all the various sounds of the South, it’s not really country music — it’s more country-rock, gospel, bluegrass and Dixieland.”
The group has been rehearsing for about two months.
“‘Big River’ is a very special American musical with a really great, witty book,” Koonce said. “Everyone who has seen it has fallen in love with it, and I think this audience will also.”