Sunday, February 5, 2012

In the Wings: Miss Nelson is Missing. Meet Laurie Russell.

Laurie Russell directs Miss Nelson is Missing, the second show of the 2011-2012 Civic Youth Theatre season at Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette. The script is by Jeffrey Hatcher, based on the book by Harry Allard and James Marshall.

Question: Why did you want to direct Miss Nelson is Missing?
Laurie Russell: I've always loved the book. I remember reading it to my children; they thought it was great. The playwright did a good job of taking about 10 pages of picture book and turning it into an hour-long play. It's a lot of fun, with great parts for the kids. They can have fun playing the parts they're playing.

Q: When and where is the play set?
L.R.: The play is set in the present in a school that could be in Anytown, U.S.A. There is a class of horrible children taught by a lovely, sweet teacher named Miss Nelson. One day Miss Nelson is not there, and she is replaced by Miss Swamp, who whips the kids into shape. The kids have to find Miss Nelson because they think something has happened to her.

Q: What is the best part of directing Miss Nelson is Missing?
L.R.: It's a lot of fun action and the kids are great.

Q: Who was your favorite teacher?
L.R.: I had a fabulous teacher in college for an ancient drama class, but I don't remember her name. She made it so fascinating. I also had a good first grade teacher, but I can't remember her name either.

Q: Did you ever act as bad as the kids in Room 207?
L.R.: Yes. I was evil in school. I spent so much time in the office, they used to let me answer the phones. True story.

Miss Nelson is Missing opens Friday, February 17 and runs through Sunday, February 19 at the historic Monon Depot Theatre at the corner of 5th Street and North Street in downtown Lafayette. Friday and Saturday shows begin at 7:30 p.m. The Sunday show begins at 2:30 p.m. For more information about the show or to order tickets, call 765-423-PLAY (7529) or visit Civic Theatre's website.

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