Congratulations  and  . . . auditions!

Published 9:54 am Friday, February 26, 2021

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Sun Columnist

Congratulations to Maria Jackson and the George Rogers Clark High School Speech Team. For the first time in years, the GRC speech team has had  not just a good year but an outstanding one.

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Senior Maria Jackson is the regional champ  in broadcasting, and will now attend the State Speech Tournament in March.

Nor will Jackson be lonely at the tournament as fellow team members and seniors Austin Raney, Jackson Feeback and Brittany Shelby also qualified for the tournament. Those three and Jackson will all be competing in Duo Improvisation, an acting event.

Incidentally, the team excels in broadcasting because for the past three years Jackson and other team members have produced a regular Sunday morning radio news program for Winchester’s WWKY radio station.

The radio program began as a way for the team to raise funds so it could travel to more tournaments. Then came the pandemic, which kept the team in Winchester and competing virtually. Still, speech team coach Dodd Dixon said, “It’s been an adjustment, but the team has done well. I’m proud of Maria and the entire team. They’ve worked hard and deserve their successes.”

Speech team members who win at the March tournament can qualify to go to Nationals, which is typically in May or June.

Jackson is the daughter of Ron Jackson and Melody Farris Jackson and the granddaughter of Fred and Mary Farris, who also live in Winchester.

Jackson’s brother Wyatt is currently on RDC’s speech team so, if the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, an article about him may appear here in years to come.

Online play auditions

In honor of  May being Mental Health Month, Mental Health America-Kentucky is cooperatively working with the Lyric Theatre and Arts Center to produce the 30-minute, eight member cast, one act play  “May I Have Your Attention Please” by Barbourville playwright Catherine Rhoden-Goguen.

The play is about teen suicide. Specifically, a teenager who is contemplating suicide confronts family and friends by interrupting their television watching to implore, “May I have your attention, please?” The play has a cliff hanger ending that encourages families, communities and young people to talk about suicide, and how to prevent it.

Whit Whitaker, executive director of the Lyric Theatre, in Lexington will direct. According to Whitaker, he is seeking to cast primarily adults for  a multi-ethnic production that will stream on one or more platforms in May.

Some roles have already been cast. However, good roles are still available.

To audition, email show director Whit Whitaker at with your name, a brief bio, a digital head shot and video approximately 30 seconds to one minute in length of a monologue or reading.

In turn, Whitaker will send you a   a response that will include appropriate material from the play for you to read.

Casting is to be completed by March 15. The play will be rehearsed and recorded –using masks and safety protocols — on the stage of the Lyric in April 2021. The recording will be streamed online this coming May.

Bill McCann is a playwright, poet, flash fiction writer and teacher who writes about arts events and personalities. He can be reached at