Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

LCCT’s newest ‘Almost, Maine’ is a fabulous team effort by the troops

By Mike Cook

They say a great actor makes a great director. In the case of “Almost, Maine,” which will continue at the Las Cruces Community Theater for the next two weekends, it’s absolutely the truth.

Brandon Brown was brilliant as Elwood P. Dowd in “Harvey,” which marked LCCT’s successful return to live theater after an 18-month pandemic hiatus. It’s one of the many, many memorable roles he’s played on almost every stage in Las Cruces.

As soon as “Harvey” was over, Brandon took on the role of director for “Almost, Maine” and brought more than a bag full of the magic of “Harvey” with him.

There’s no such thing as a 6-foot invisible rabbit in this series (at least I don’t think so), but it has the same adorable, mystical quality that makes you believe in good things and good people. It has moments that are very sad, deeply insightful, and hysterically funny. (I hurt myself a little from laughing so much at the ironing board and missing shoe scenes.) There’s more to these stories than just a touch of fairy dust, with endings we all want; Maybe they’re in a place called Fast, Maine.

This is the fictional city that the playwright John Cariani created for this extraordinary work. It features four outstanding Las Cruces actors: Nora Brown (related to Brandon only by talent), McKensi Alexis Cabot, Rhiannon Michelle Hardin and Melis Derya White.

I cannot say enough about their accomplishments, both individually and collectively. Everyone shines like the northern lights. I was deeply touched by each actor at one or more point on the show, and I was particularly impressed by the way everyone played their male characters – no inhibitions, just the same skills and talent that they brought to every other character .

The play continues the stellar work Nora, McKensi and Melis have done in many Las Cruces venues and welcomes Rhiannon to the LCCT theater family – “Almost, Maine” is their first show in more than 10 years has made. What a cast!

Brandon also benefits from a great crew including stage manager Cindy Pitts; the wonderful costumes of Yamilex Holguin; Sound designer Mike Wise; Lighting designer Bekah Taulbee; CEO Jessie M. Ortega; Lennie Brown properties (related to Brandon by both marriage and talent) for properties and stage set, with help from Greta Burger; and absolutely fabulous (and sometimes superbly mobile) sets with scenic design by Doug Roby and Marc Forbes who were helped build the set by Larry Fisher, Alecks Rundell, Alice Carron and the cast. Heidi Brown took the great window displays, took the photos and worked behind the scenes.

The rest of the Almost, Maine shows are at 7:30 pm. Friday-Saturday, 15.-16. October and 22.-23. and 2 p.m. on Sunday 17th and 24th October.

LCCT is located at 313 N. Main St. Downtown.

Tickets are $ 17 for adults; $ 14 for seniors, military, and college students; and $ 10 for children.

Call 575-523-1200. Visit www.lcctnm.org.

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