BY LARRY BLOCK –
It has been another good year for the Ouachita Little Theatre (OLT). The theater has provided a lot of entertainment and enrichment to the community with a wide variety of plays, musical events, workshops, and outreach programs.
The year started with the second annual version of The OLT Goes Dancing directed by OLT Board member Jennifer Ogger, on the weekend of January 11. In preparation for the state championship competition, the play The Madwoman of Chaillot, directed by OLT president, Tim Hesse, was presented to local audiences on the weekend of January 25. It went on to win the state championship in a competition held at El Dorado, early in February.
Elvis Presley tribute artist Michael Cullipher brought his tribute show to the OLT stage in February, and late in the month the semiannual Benson Awards Show, the OLT’s version of the Academy Awards, was held. March saw a very lively, and live, musical show headed by local blues guitarist David Lindy. April, as always is the month for the OLT musical, which, this year, was Annie Get Your Gun, directed by Jeffery Matthews. The quarterly Saturday Night at the Lyric (SNL) brought a diverse group of local musicians to the OLT stage, as always.
During the annual Mena Lum and Abner Festival the OLT performed a group of Lum and Abner radio shows from the ‘30s and ‘40s at the theater. The last two weekends of June the Junior OLT (JOLT) performed the summer play, Airline. On July 11 the nationally recognized a capella group Blend performed rock hits of the 50s and 60s at the OLT. There were two musical events in August, including the annual OLT Community Praise and Worship Concert, and a performance by Hot Springs-based folksinger Laura Lee Williard.
As the theater prepared for the fall play, in September, there were no shows. October started right out with a concert by the eclectic musician Brother Eudy, followed by the fall play, Dial M For Murder, directed by Jennifer Ogger. In November another SNL, featuring local musicians took place. In December the JOLT Christmas Variety Play, directed by Morgan Richmond and Emily Davis, featuring The Gift of the Magi, and A Hillbilly Christmas Carol was delayed by the ice storm but was finally performed over the weekend of December 13–15. Last two performances of the year were A Merry Mena Christmas, featuring three popular local bands, Sugar Creek, Straight Tequila, and Brothers and Sons, and Elvis At Christmas, featuring award-winning Elvis Presley tribute artist, Michael Cullipher, during the week before Christmas. The OLT is looking forward to another great year in 2014! For more information call the OLT Info Line at (479) 243-0186, or visit the OLT website, www.oltmena.com.