Local musical drama McNeill's Rangers coming to Potomac State

By Liz Beavers, lbeavers@newstribune.info Mineral Daily News-Tribune Managing Editor

Keyser, WV- Two of the original cast members of the musical drama "McNeill's Rangers" will be returning to the roles that became their own after many years of performing the historical piece at the Larenim Park Amphitheater near Burlington.

This time around, however, they will be bringing their signature characters alive in an indoor environment when Potomac State College of WVU, in association with Apple Alley Players, presents "McNeill's Rangers" at the Church-McKee Arts Center.McNeills Rangers

When "McNeill's Rangers" debuted in 1984, Keyser residents Larry Myers and Janice Clem kept the packed audiences in stitches as the corn licker-loving Otis and his wife Gertie. The antics of the two, as Gertie shook her fist and raised her voice in an attempt to keep her rascal of a husband under control, provided comic relief to the otherwise serious story of war, families torn apart, and hard-won reunions.

This March, Myers and Clem will not only return to those roles, but they will be joined by a stellar cast of characters who promise to breathe new life into the story that hasn't been told for almost 10 years.

Playing the role of John Hanson McNeill, the matriarch of the McNeill clan who initially leads the Rangers into battle, will be Ron Growden. His strong but suffering wife Jemima, who is forced to keep the family together when her men leave for the war, will be portrayed by Danise Whitlock.

Hanse's son Jessie, who eagerly takes up his father's cause, will be portrayed by Hunter Martin, and Sarah, who eventually becomes Jessie's wife, will be played by Kourtni High.

Other familiar characters include Uncle Dan, portrayed by Tom Vogtman; Robert, played by Curtis Westfall; Capt. Saunders, Kevin Shreve; General Kelley, Ken Musgrave; General Crook, Mike Baldinger; Jimmy, Tyler Detrick, William, John Courrier; and Simon Miller, Josh Arnold.

Paul Burford will portray Bull; Ryan Dickerson, Jack; Tommy Nester, Joe; Brian Tucker, Will; Travis Hayward, Hallar; and Will Courrier, Beth's boy.

Jonathan Morse will join Josh Arnold, Tommy Nester and Paul Burford as Rebel veterans.

Kourtney Cook will portray Ginny; Dannagale Acord, Julia; Crystal Wimer, Beth; Jessica Kilcoyne, Molly; and Samantha Phillips, Mrs. Weller.

Wives of various veterans will be portrayed by Marlie Martial, Stacey Dennison, Tori Starkey, Anjie Courrier, Courtney Nelson, Danielle Amistadi, Nicole Wills, Shannon Kephart, Danielle Slocum, Miranda Schenck, Zoe Lay, and Jessica Morse.

Members of the children's chorus are Olivia McKenzie, Madison Courrier, Christopher Morse, Alexandra Morse, Julieanna Morse, Hailea Courrier, Lilly Courrier and Layla Arnold.

The production will be under the direction of Tom Valentine and the musical direction of Dr. John Hawkins, who plans to have a live bluegrass band providing the tunes.

"McNeill's Rangers" will be presented for eight performances in March - Thursday through Sunday, March 14-17 and 21-24.

For more info, click here.