Thompson brings passion, talent to Community Players directorial debut 

By TERRY MATHEWS | News-Telegram Arts Editor

Mar. 13, 2007 - Amanda Thompson may be young in years, but the local actress has spent a lot of time honing her craft. 

The accomplished thespian is adding another line to her impressive theatrical resumé. She’s making her directorial debut with “A Tribute to Broadway – Past and Present,” presented by the Sulphur Springs Community Players, opening Thursday, March 15, at the Main Street Theatre.

Thompson, the daughter of Vick and Linda Thompson, began singing at age 2 and has been acting since she was 12. She is also an accomplished dancer, making her a triple threat in the world of Broadway musicals. After graduating from Sulphur Springs High School in 2002, Thompson enrolled at Texas A&M University – Commerce, earning a bachelor’s degree in theater. She recently traveled to Florida to audition for a variety of Broadway shows.

�I got a lot of positive feedback at the auditions,� Thompson said. �But it takes up to a year sometimes before they get back to you.�

Although she’s worked as a director in the past, this production marks her debut at Main Street Theatre. 

�I got the idea for this show about five years ago,� Thompson, 22, said in a recent interview. �I have a list of about 150 plays I have to be in before I die, so I thought it would be great to do some of my favorites in a show.�

A lot of local singers, dancers and actors must have a “roles-to-do-before-I-die” list, too.

�People came out of the woodwork to audition for this show. They were just fabulous, so I decided to cast everyone,� Thompson explained.

Thompson’s company of 20 includes 6 principals, 5 ensemble members, 2 narrators and a bevy of beautiful chorus girls. The cast ranges from 7th graders to “middle-age.”   

The production numbers are a reflection of the director’s passion for musicals. 

�My all-time favorite is �Wicked,� so of course, we�re doing several numbers from that,� Thompson said. One Christmas morning not too long ago, Thompson�s mother surprised her with tickets to see the show in New York.�

�I got to see my favorite actress perform in the role,� Thompson said.�

She was speaking of Idina Menzell, who created the much-celebrated role of Elphaba, winning a 2004 Tony Award in the process. “Wicked” tells the back story of Galinda and Elphaba and how they became the two witches of the Kingdom of Oz, prior to the arrival of Dorothy.

�I played Dorothy in the �Wizard of Oz,� so this musical means a lot to me,� Thompson said. �I identify with the character [Elphaba] so much. She could have taken the easy way out, but she stuck to her guns and it cost her a lot. She�s terrific.�

This year’s show also includes numbers from other Thompson favorites, including “Hello, Dolly!,” “Chicago,” and all four of the Walt Disney shows, “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Lion King,” “Tarzan” and “Mary Poppins.”

Thompson’s fiancé, Lance Brandenburg, is a member of the cast. Although Brandenberg is an accomplished actor and playwright, Thompson doesn’t treat him with kid gloves. In fact, she admits to being “a little harsher with him.”  

The two are to be married on Aug. 4. According to Thompson, the pair will pursue their love of theater once they “settle in” to married life this summer.

�A Tribute to Broadway � Past and Present� will run Thursday, Friday and Saturday, March 15-17, and again on March 22-24 at 8 p.m. Matinees are scheduled for Sundays, March 18 and March 25 at 2 p.m.�

A pre-show dinner will be served at Judy’s Kitchen on Saturday, March 17. Tickets for dinner and the show are $25 each. Contact Judy’s Kitchen at 903-348-2665 for more details.

A pre-matinee brunch is planned at Plain & Fancy Sandwich Shoppe for Sunday, March 25. Tickets for the brunch and  matinee are also $25 each. Contact Plain & Fancy at 903-885-3005 for more details. 

Tickets for the show (without dinner or brunch) are $10 and are available by calling the theatre at 903-885-0107.

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