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Local actress helps
lead ELCA production


By Monroe Roark
Times Correspondent  

  The curtain rises this week on the latest production by the drama department at Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy, and one of the behind-the-scenes participants is a former student with an exceptional resume.

Tiffani Buck as Shelby and Victoria Glover as M’Lynn in ELCA’s production of “Steel Magnolias.”                         Special photo

  India Scandrick was a seventh-grader at ELCA when she had to withdraw from the school due to work. It wasn’t just any job; she moved to New York where she had landed the role of Young Nala in the Broadway version of “The Lion King.” As a 12-year-old she had already amassed an impressive list of theater credits in the Atlanta area.

  She spent a year, eight shows a week, with the hit musical before being replaced, as is customary with such roles where performers have to be a certain age and size. The next move was to California for a series of television and film roles, while she continued her studies, both academic and artistic.

  Now at the ripe old age of 19, she is back in this area as the owner and operator of Broadway Performing Arts Center in Stockbridge, where she teaches dance and drama. In a few months she will travel to Wilmington, N.C., for filming on the second season of the Fox series “Sleepy Hollow,” in which she has a recurring role.

  When her family moved back and her sister reenrolled at ELCA, Scandrick discovered that the school now had a drama department, something that was not in existence when she was a student there. After meeting ELCA theater director Chuck Ekstedt, she expressed an interest in helping the students prepare for their roles in this year’s various productions.

  She is assisting Ekstedt in the direction of “Steel Magnolias,” which opens tomorrow. Having been familiar with the film version but not the stage production, she was excited when she read the script and began to think about how she could help the young actresses (an all-female cast) shine on stage.

  “It’s been great,” she said. “All of the girls are so talented.”

  The ELCA production of Robert Harling’s “Steel Magnolias” is Thursday and Friday, Jan. 23-24, at 7 p.m. in the main auditorium of Eagle’s Landing First Baptist Church. Tickets are $8 at the door.

  Plans for additional showings at other locations in the community, such as the Stockbridge Community Arts Center, were scrapped because a large theater company purchased the rights to the play for the Atlanta area for the near future, Ekstedt said.

  Unlike the film version, the stage production of “Steel Magnolias” takes place entirely in the beauty salon and involves only the six primary female characters. To accommodate the number of girls interested in the play, Ekstedt cast nine of them in those roles.

  Both shows will feature Isabella Lama as Annelle, Kari Seward as Clairee and Victoria McDowell as Truvy. The other three roles will feature a different actress each night: Tiffani Buck and Blaine Wetherington as Shelby; McKenna Henderson and Victoria Glover as M’Lynn; Jalesia Mathis and Marissa Randolph as Ouiser.

  The student director for the production is Melissa Conn.

  Eighty-five percent of Ekstedt’s drama students are girls, so he put together a winter show this year for the first time to give them more opportunities. The boys are not being overlooked, however, as a minimum of 15 will be needed for the spring production of “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” and some of them are already working on that.

  “It’s going to be really great,” he said of this week’s show. “We have a great venue with more than 2,000 seats, and the sound and lighting is first-class. It’s going to be a quality show.”



©Henry County Times, Inc.