Local Families act Together in "Adventures of Tom Sawyer"

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

When you attend the Fairmont State University Town & Gown Summer Theatre production of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” you will notice a lot of related names in the program. Multiple members of several local families take the stage together for this musical.

Tickets for “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” are $10 and can be purchased by calling the Box Office at (304) 367-4240. Performances will take place at 7:30 p.m.  June 13, 14, 18, 19, 20 and 21 and at 2 p.m. June 15 at Wallman Hall Theatre on the FSU main campus.

The cast includes community members, Fairmont State students and four family groups.  The families include the Dunn family players, Shawn, Kathy, Brady and Clay, of Fairmont; sisters and Aurora, Colo., natives Lynette Six and Laura Hooper, along with Laura’s daughter Emma Hooper; and two brother and sister duos-- Josh and Hannah Straub of Bridgeport and Billy and Sinead Tobin of Fairmont. 

All of these families have acted together before, and all but Josh and Hannah Straub have acted together on the Fairmont State stage. Josh Straub described his experience as amazing and said, “I’ve never done anything like it before. The cast is great, and I think it’s going to be an amazing show.” Billy and Sinead Tobin have been acting for years on the Fairmont State stage; they appeared together in “The Good Woman of Setzuan” and in various other shows separately. In addition to the fun of working with family, Sinead Tobin also pointed out: “It’s more convenient because we can help each other learn choreography if we have to miss rehearsal.”

The Dunns and Lynette Six, Laura Hooper and her daughter have been acting together for many years, and “Tom Sawyer” marks a reunion of the entire Dunn family after six years of pursuing individual projects. Brady and Clay Dunn have both been attending West Liberty University, but Clay Dunn soon will be transferring to Fairmont State. Brady Dunn, who plays Ben Harper, has been focusing mainly on straight plays at West Liberty.

“It’s nice to have different styles of directing. It’s great to have different influences, and coming back here is like going back to my roots,” said Brady Dunn.

Clay Dunn plays Mayor Lanyard Bellamy, and his mother plays Widow Douglas.  Kathy Dunn said there are some interesting dynamics at play on stage. “Clay and I have an awesome scene together. He hits me up for money,” she said.

Six and Hooper interact a great deal on stage. “It’s easier to play and it makes it more comfortable since I know so well what her movements and faces mean,” Six said. 

The sisters have been acting together since high school; however, they had a gap of nearly 15 years without acting before both moved back to Fairmont and became involved with the Town & Gown shows.