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Bob Jones actors, crew advance to Southeastern Theatre Conference

MADISON – For the third consecutive year, the Bob Jones High School drama department has won the Alabama Conference of Theatre (ACT) state finals.

Jonny Smith (Harry Houdini) and Olivia Skillern (Bess Houdini) were named to the "All-Star Cast," along with Kayla Peel (Celia Weiss) and Olivia Skillern (Bess Houdini) in "The Last Illusion." Bob Jones will represent Alabama at Southeastern Theatre Conference in March 2014. (CONTRIBUTED)
Jonny Smith (Harry Houdini) and Olivia Skillern (Bess Houdini) were named to the “All-Star Cast,” along with Kayla Peel (Celia Weiss) and Olivia Skillern (Bess Houdini) in “The Last Illusion.” Bob Jones will represent Alabama at Southeastern Theatre Conference in March 2014. (CONTRIBUTED)

“The Last Illusion” earned “Best Play” honors. Next year in Mobile, the Madison actors will represent Alabama at Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC), the nations’ largest drama competition.”For the sixth time in 18 years, Bob Jones has won ACT finals, making us the state’s most winning school,” B. Dwayne Craft said. He and Mary Davis are drama teachers at Bob Jones and co-directors. “Mary Davis is equally responsible for this show’s success.”

Four actors in “The Last Illusion” were named to the “All-Star Cast”: Marcus Mack (Paul); Kayla Peel (Celia Weiss); Olivia Skillern (Bess Houdini); and Jonny Smith (Harry Houdini).

Bob Jones won for “Best Costumes.” “Shari Kingsford, a parent volunteer, teaches student costumers how to create, manage and design costumes,” Craft said. “Ms. Kingsford is so dedicated to Bob Jones students.”

Kingsford “has an uncanny ability to match mood, color and set to her costumes. When students actualize her designs, it always amazes me how much they must have learned,” Craft said.

“The Last Illusion” also won for “Best Technical Production.”

Matt Adams, a professional magician, advised the cast about the show’s illusions. “Matt contributed a great deal to our success. He’s an amazing talent,” Craft said.

After their performance, the Bob Jones cast and crew cried and hugged, knowing they had given their best. “Our students were excited and tearful. They knew they had created magic,” Craft said. “It was a charged moment.”

“Mary Davis and I both learned a great deal working with the kids to develop the script and then realize it with input from Matt Adams and Shari Kingsford,” he said.

ACT awarded Amy Patel, James Clemens High School drama instructor, as “Secondary Educator of the Year.”

About 85 Bob Jones students will attend SETC in March 2014. “The cost is significant. We need people to attend our benefit show in late February,” Craft said.

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