Musical “Big River” opens Friday, features dozens of local actors

VERO BEACH — “Big River,” the musical adaptation of Mark Twain’s classic about the irrepressible Huck Finn, his journey down the mighty Mississippi and the many colorful characters he meets along the way will be the Summer Stage 2009 presentation, opening Friday at Riverside Theatre in Vero Beach.

Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. July 24, 25 & 31 and 1:30 p.m. July 25, 26 and Aug. 1 in the Anne Morton Theatre.Director Kevin Quillinan will be assisted by music director Karen Wiggins and choreographer Debbie Quillinan, members of the same production team that last year presented “Hot Mikado” and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” in 2007. Cast members are older teens and college students that each year return to Riverside to participate in the fully mounted Summer Stage show.

Nate Karabensh, who was a crowd favorite as the parrot Iago in “Alladin Jr.” earlier this year has been cast as Huckleberry Finn, with Timothy Chastain as Jim. Supporting cast and production staff include: Megan Taylor Callahan, Shannon Maloney, Erin Dickerson, Kimmy Zerega, Ben Earman, Ryan Lambert, Jenni Karabensh, Kaitlyn Schirard, Johnny Garde, Jay Wiggins, Samantha Jackson, John Altizer, Shiva Beard, Sean Castro, Patrick Schlitt, Amanda Reinhart, Jeffrey Liguori, Alicia Almodovar, Ryan Roberson, Richard Koph, Christian McKenzie, Emma Johnson, Cindy Blackburn, Brooke Snellings, Alyson Watkins, Simone Watkins, Kasey Sanchez, Quintin Smith, Elizabeth Brewster, Savannah Geary, Caris Haggerty, Lisa Renkel, Mekenzie Moses, Emma Olmstead and Olivia Tardiff.

Summer Stage is made possible by funding from the Richardson Family Foundation. Tickets $8 students and $16 adults. Riverside Theatre is at 3250 Riverside Park Drive, Vero Beach. For ticket information call theatre at 772-231-6990 or visit the website at

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