As Chickasaw Civic Theatre (301 Iroquois St.) announced its 2016-2017 schedule, one can see the community theater’s 53rd season will ring with familiar fare that has entertained audiences for well over a half-century. Chiefly light and musical, the plays are ideal for local tastes.

Things start with “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” a reworking of the 1967 film starring Julie Andrews. The tale of a small-town Kansas native who hits the Jazz Age Big Apple looking for a wealthy husband is replete with period sounds and earned a Tony Award during its turn on the Great White Way. Stacy Driskell will direct the show, which will run Sept. 9-25.

Up next is the breakneck comedy “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged).” Three actors will sprint through the Bard’s catalog, becoming a jealous Moor, a brooding Danish prince, star-crossed lovers and many more characters at virtually lightning speed. Leonora Harrison directs the comedy, running Nov. 4-13.

For the holiday season, CCT will present “The 24 Days Before Christmas.” The story revolves around an 11-year-old whose Yuletide is filled with anticipation of snowfall, a new baby in the family, her role in a Christmas pageant and the holiday itself, but not necessarily in that order. Nedra Bloom adapted the script from a short story by Madeleine L’Engle and will direct the show, which runs Dec. 9-18.

Leonora Harrison returns to the director’s position in the new year to helm “Nunsense.” The musical comedy about the Little Sisters of Hoboken’s madcap fundraising efforts features favorites such as former circus performer Mother Superior Mary Regina, Sister Mary Hubert, the streetwise Sister Robert Anne, erstwhile ballerina Sister Mary Leo and Sister Mary Amnesia. The show runs Jan. 13-22.

Next up is the comedy “Mobile Home, Sweet Home” by playwright Pat Cook. Harrison once again directs the play for its March 3-12 run.

The season finale is “The Music Man,” a time-honored tale of a con man loose in a 1912 small town and how love throws a kink into his chain of deceit. Nedra Bloom directs the play, which runs May 5-21.

CCT tickets run $15 for adults and $12 for students, seniors and active military. Season tickets are available.

For more information, go to or visit CCT’s Facebook page.

Music program holds auditions
An educational offshoot of the Mobile Big Band Society entitled The Jazz Studio will hold auditions for its inaugural class on Saturday, May 14, and Saturday, May 28, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Ben May Main Library (701 Government St.) in downtown Mobile. Applicants must have their own instruments and be able to play at least five of the basic scales along with a selection from a music method book and a brief solo selection.

The Jazz Studio aims to develop a jazz education program for intermediate to advanced aspiring youth musicians in the Mobile area. Their tutelage will consist of instruction, master classes, historical perspectives, field trips and performance opportunities.

Staff instructors include Hosea London, Dr. Kent Murdick and Deborah Johnson McIntosh along with master classes to be led by visiting jazz artists.

London is a longtime jazz educator who has taught in Mobile, Huntsville and Pensacola, Florida, in addition to spending time in the Memphis City School System in Tennessee. He has also led the E.B. Coleman Big Band and is leader and manager of the Excelsior Band.

A student at Peabody Conservatory, Murdick has taught guitar at university level, published numerous articles in national magazines and published four books with Mel Bay. He plays four-string banjo and saxophone with the Dixieland combo Bordello Rhythm and teaches classical guitar. He is also a math instructor at Faulkner State University.

Trained by the legendary Ellis Marsalis, McIntosh holds a bachelor’s in music education from Xavier University in New Orleans, Louisiana, and a master’s in music education from Loyola University. She served as a vocal/classroom music/piano instructor in the New Orleans Public School System from 1974 to 2005 and in the Mobile Public School System from 2005-2006. She also served as a summer jazz camp piano instructor during 2014 and 2015.

For more information or to request a registration form, contact Yvette Chestang at 251-545-4244 or email

Book clubs start summer at area branches
As the weather warms, the pace of life will slow in a timeworn way of dealing with the Southern heat. It’s the best time of year to catch up on the reading you’ve ignored through the busy winter and spring, and now local bibliophiles can join forces to share their enthusiasm.

The Ebony Moments Book Club will convene at the West Regional Branch of the Mobile Public Library (5555 Grelot Road) on Thursday, May 12, at 6 p.m. to discuss Betty Griffin’s novel “Trouble Down the Road.” This club meets monthly and is designed to increase awareness of African-American authors past and present. Those interested can contact Betty Kidd at 251-470-7766.

Then the Reader’s Choice Book Club meets on Tuesday, May 17, at 1 p.m. at the West Regional Branch to discuss the work “Natchez Burning” by Greg Iles. This club meets every third Tuesday. For more information, call 251-208-7097.

Participation in both clubs is free.

For more information on these and other book clubs, visit