Left to right, Frank Wilder, Lindsey Kinsella and Jared Williams starred in local productions and continue to amaze.

Three neat things happen when you write an entertainment column for the Reporter. You preview the plays before the public sees them. You meet the actors who will be performing in the plays. You discover exceptional talent likely to play on bigger “Stages.”  

Each of the past three years, MEY has written about the Backlot Player’s summer musical. Those productions previewed some very talented young area actors who gave up most of their summer vacations to be in a specific show.  Each show had a “leading role.” Now you can read about what those three “stars” are doing since their debut at The Rose:

It was the summer of 2015 and auditions were underway for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Whistle Down the Wind.” A quiet, likable young actress with a beautiful voice got the nod to be Swallow. Lindsey Kinsella portrayed a rough and ready country girl who was quite her opposite. She handled the challenges of Weber’s musical stylings as though she had been on stage for decades.

Summer 2016 and it is time to sing and dance in the Broadway hit musical “Footloose.” Jared Williams had been in some excellent Mary Persons High School productions but wasmaking his debut in a Backlot musical. He proved he could sing and hoof it well enough to play the lead role of Ren McCormack.  

Last summer brought “Happy Days…a New Musical.” It also brought to centerstage Frank Wilder. Frank was a veteran of sorts to the stage having done different roles but this one was a showcase for his singing talents. Frank wooed the girls and the audience as Richie Cunningham with his cool talk and smooth style. The show was a smash and Frank proved he belonged in music.

“Whistle Down the Wind”--Lindsey Kinsella. Swallow is still precocious. She is as busy as ever. Lindsey is entering her third year at Duke University, Durham, NC. She is a Biology major, Dean’s lister, sings in the Duke Chorale and finds time to be an integral part of Duke’s student-run theater group. Lindsey shared, “We do it all. Just the students. I have done everything from promoting a show to having a solo dance and monologue in our production of “Chicago.” Lindsey continues to add to her piano expertise with regular lessons in Durham.

Lindsey is deciding which sub-study area she might pursue as her specialty. She loves the ocean and its wide array of marine life.  Currently she is preparing for a summer study program at Beaufort, N.C. where she will be part of a Duke laboratory team doing Dolphin and Whale research using “Drones” as tracking devices.  

As though that summertime excitement is not enough: in September Lindsey is off to Tanzania for her next semester which will focus on courses in coastal biology and conservation. Lindsey is blending her love of entertaining and love for the environment as she takes some next steps in her young life.

“Footloose”—Jared Williams. Jared has one gear—forward. He is entering his second year at Gordon State College, Barnesville,.  He has not decided on a major, but as he put it “Hey, I made the Dean’s list. I can do this college thing. I’ll be back at Gordon in September.” The amazing “thing” about Jared is he has become a full-time actor willing to try-on any role and prove that he can handle Cinderella dressed in a beautiful gown in the Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon with the same professionalism as ‘Max the Building Super’ in “Things My Mother Taught Me,” which played in May at The Rose. 

Jared shared, “I had been in Mary Persons plays. I was concerned that maybe I wouldn’t be good enough to act in plays with ‘you know older people’ at The Rose. Jeff Dean, director of “Dearly Departed,” asked me to play a part in that show, and wow…I have found my favorite thing to do…be on stage.”

Jared is going for an unofficial record.  He has been in six consecutive productions at The Rose. He has had roles that ranged from being the leading performer to just one of the actors like he had in “Twelve Angry Jurors.” Yet, along the way, Jared has begun to master dialects, accents, how to play all types of characters and proved he is up to the task when asked to do almost anything on stage.  

As Jared suggested, “I may not pursue the theater as a career, but I am getting a lot of experience making people believe I am someone else other than me.”  Jared will be appearing in “Back to the 80’s,” a fun musical that opens July 20th at The Rose.

“Happy Day…a New Musical”—Frank Wilder. Frank is entering his second year at the University of North Georgia, Dahlonega.He is on the President’s list; enjoys being in the North Georgia Singers—a nationally and internationally known choral group directed by John Broman; has been entrusted by the University to be a Resident Assistant for the coming year; and continues to fulfill a desire to travel to interesting places each year.

After graduating from Mary Persons, Frank started on his adventure to see America first and then places around the world that others talked about or that were famous for one reason or another.  

“I wanted to see first hand the cities, areas, countries and meet the people,” said Frank. “I believe that this experience will broaden my life and make me a more informed person. I visited Boston and Salem, Massachusetts last November and will be visiting San Francisco later this month.”

Frank has been on stage at The Rose and at Mary Persons, and was selected as a member of the State Choir while in high school and received many recognitions for his vocal talents. All those accolades came as either an actor or singer. Now he is putting on a different hat as the assistant director of “Back to the 80’s.” Is he worried?  

“Not at all, said Frank. Practice, practice, practice makes most actors good and the show great.”

You’re Invited! 

Backlot Players Host Annual 


Appreciation Night.

Mark your calendars for a fun evening of great refreshments and entertainment. Join the Backlot Players as they celebrate their coming season of entertainment.  Saturday, June 23 at 7 p.m. at The Rose Theater.  See “snippets” of the five regular season shows that will begin July 20th. No reservations required.  Admission is free.  

Dennis Smith writes “Monroe Entertains You,” highlighting the entertainment fare offered in Monroe County and the people who make it possible. Smith wants Forsyth to realize and support the riches it has in the cultural arts.