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An Interview with Leann Dickson, Director of Ragtime

In MainStage Wing | on 04.20.12 | by | Comments ( 0 )

Leann Dickson has had a dream of bringing the Greater Knoxville community together through a musical theatre production. She wanted to unite theatre professionals and up and coming artists; plus, she was looking for a way to bring together alumni from her Bearden High program with current students.

The WordPlayers is thrilled to support this venture. Continue reading to learn a little about Leann and the show she is directing this summer.

Leann Dickson – Director of Ragtime
Leann Dickson has been a high school drama teacher for twenty-six years. She has been at Bearden High School for sixteen of those years, and before that taught in Hawaii, California, Georgia, and Birmingham. She has directed and choreographed to date seventy productions, and has wanted to direct Ragtime since first seeing it on National Tour. Leann was a BHS “Teacher of the Year” for 2011 and 2007. When she is not in the BHS auditorium, her favorite place to be is on a boat enjoying the water or getting captured by a great book. She is grateful to her students who inspire her daily and for the love and support of her husband, Jim, for the last twenty seven years. Thank you, Terry and Jeni, for giving her this opportunity.

1. Why did you choose Ragtime?
I am drawn to the epic story of three families intersecting one another’s lives in the melting pot of New York in 1906. The music is some of the most beautiful music I have ever heard, and the show is so tightly constructed, there is nothing extraneous in the whole show.

2. As a Christian artist, how does this project interface with your faith?
Because there is a call in this story to leave the social norm and take a step toward Christ by demonstrating compassion, respect, and love toward our fellow man – even those different from ourselves.

3. You produce a very, high quality musical production each fall at Bearden High School. How is this project different, so far?
It’s great having a producer to take on some of the weight and provide a strong umbrella under which to work. I’m the one usually training the entire crew, though I have only served technically on one show in my life! It will be a real treat for me to have Joe Millett, a seasoned professional, to provide leadership in running the show!

4. What are you most excited about and why should people come to see this show?
I am excited to work with the caliber of talent that we have and to tell this story. Everyone who has listened to the music has come back to me with such enthusiasm. I also hear there is a lot of buzz in the community about this show, since it’s never been done here (nor toured here either, I think).

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