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Johnson City Community Theatre announces cast for "How I Learned To Drive"

Johnson City Press • Aug 5, 2019 at 12:00 AM

The Johnson City Community Theatre has announced the cast for their rendition of Paula Vogel’s “How I Learned To Drive,” which will be directed by the JCCT’s Christian Coger.

Audrey Holley (Li’l Bit) and Rus Mattocks (Peck) headline the cast, with the rest of the production rounded out by Daniel Reid (Male Greek Chorus), April Shelton (Female Greek Chorus) and Briana Fee (Teenage Greek Chorus) — all JCCT veterans.

Holley has cut her teeth in the performances “Boeing Boeing”, “Drinking Habits” and “The Nerd,” along with many others, according to a press release by the JCCT. Mattocks is a 43-year theater veteran, and has most recently appeared on stage in the Encore Theatrical Company’s “Mamma Mia” production. Reid will be appearing in his fourth JCCT performance, and is also a member of Little Fingers Comedy Squad, where he’s the current Thunder Dome Champion. 

“How I Learned To Drive” will be Shelton’s second production with the JCCT. She is especially grateful for the crew and stage manager, saying “you guys are the real MVPs.” Fee will also be doing her second performance with the JCCT, and is pleased to be a part of “How I Learned to Drive.” Her favorite roles include Juliet in the JCCT’s “Romeo and Juliet,” Charlotte Dennon in “Elf Jr,” at the Jonesborough Repertory Theatre and various roles in POPArts performances.

The play, written by Paula Vogel in 1997, tells the story of “Lil’ Bit” as she recounts growing up with her sexually abusive and manipulative Uncle Peck. Living with a misogynistic grandfather and apathetic mother, Lil’ Bit struggles to live with her uncle’s abuse. The play jumps between timeline, and shows the progressive erosion of Lil’ Bit’s innocence and her struggle to deal with the emotional fallout of the abuse.

“You and your story are just as valid as anyone else’s,” Fee says of trauma survivors. “You are wanted. You are not broken. You are loved.”

The production opens on Thursday, Sept. 12, and continues for two weekends through Sunday, Sept. 22. Thursday, Friday and Saturday performances are at 7:30 p.m. Sunday matinee is at 2 p.m. A discussion will be held immediately following the opening night performance with performers and several community health professionals. Due to strong sexual themes, parental discretion is advised.

Speaking to the Press in June, director Christian Coger said “How I Learned To Drive” is a play he’s wanted to do “since 2011 or 2012,” and that it’s “necessary to start a conversation.”

General Admission tickets are $15, Students and Seniors are $12. Tickets are available to the public at www.jccommunitytheatre.org.

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