Accomplished actors to perform in Demopolis

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 3, 2007

With the help of Demopolis native William Gant, a Birmingham lawyer responsible for the Hellman-Wyler festival, the Canebrake Players Theater in the Old School Building will host Oscar-winning actor Patricia Neal, and Broadway actor Joel Vig in a dramatic reading of Truman Capote&8217;s &8220;A Christmas Memory&8221; on Sunday, Nov. 4.

Kirk Brooker of the Two Rivers Arts Council and Marengo County Historical Society &8212; who are sponsoring the event &8212; said the production is something new for the theater-goers of the area. He also said the event is already sold-out.

The mostly autobiographical story of seven-year-old Buddy and his aging cousin Sook includes the themes of poverty, loneliness and death.

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Neal and Vig, both noted for their numerous accomplishments, have been working on the production and will also be performing it later this month in Birmingham, Brooker said.

Neal won an Oscar for her performance in the movie &8220;Hud&8221; opposite Paul Newman in 1963. She also won the first Tony award ever given to an actor for her performance in &8220;Another Part of the Forest&8221; written by Demopolis descendant Lillian Hellman.

Like &8220;The Little Foxes,&8221; &8220;Another Part of the Forest&8221; was based upon Hellman&8217;s Demopolis family and involved the same characters, the Hubbards.

Vig is a Broadway actor who starred in the original stage version of &8220;Hairspray,&8221; and also &8220;Ruthless.&8221;

Besides performing Capote&8217;s &8220;Memory,&8221; these actors are also working on an adaptation of Helen Keller&8217;s story for the stage.

Neal appeared in the original production of &8220;The Miracle Worker&8221; about Helen Keller in New York.

Kelli Wright is the staff writer for The Demopolis Times. She can be reached at