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Mornings unPHILtered - 'Tom Sawyer' opens tonight
Haitian relief concert at PAC, also tonight
Tom Sawyer play for Web
The local production of "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" stars Nick Flott, left, as Tom Sawyer and Cal Bookhoop as Huck Finn. - photo by Special

    The first guests on Thursday's “Mornings unPHILtered” show were assistant director Angie Hamilton and actress Donna Hooley of the Averitt Center for the Arts theater production “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.”
    The stage adaptation of the classic novel premieres tonight at 7:30 p.m. It is set in 1850s Hannibal, Missouri, where author Mark Twain grew up.
    Hooley plays the minister's wife in the play, while Hamilton tried assistant directing for the first time under director Tony Phillips. Hooley told host Phil Boyum that the cast of 41 has rehearsed since January and is ready to present a great show.
    Hooley, who was an English teacher for many years and was honored as Georgia Southern University Professor of the Year in 1999, apapted the stage play written by Charlotte Chorpenning to suit the Averitt Center. She added some characters to accommodate the a number of young, talented female actors who wanted to be part of the play and combined three acts into one to reduce the running time from three hours to two hours.
    In addition, Hooley wrote the opening scene entitled "Tom Sawyer Presents The Adventures of the Princess of Arabia: Fraught with Peril," which depicts Tom and his neighborhood friends pretending to put on a play. Also, she wrote the opening monologue for Mark Twain, played by Dr. Mike Porter, a Statesboro optometrist.
    The show features both the heroes (Huck, Tom and Aunt Polly) and the villains (Injun Joe, Muff Potter and Doc Robinson) people will remember from the book.
    Tickets for the production are $10 for adults and $8 for youth, and are available at the door or by calling the box office (912) 212-2787 for more information. The Statesboro library will also sell the remaining copies of Tom Sawyer in the lobby, which are available for $1.
    Boyum next welcomed singer Brandi Harvey. Harvey is performing in tonight's RAISE Haiti Relief Concert. RAISE, which stands for Regional Artists Involved In Support Efforts, is a new group of local artists, businesses, organizations and churches coming together to support various relief efforts.
    Tickets for the concert are $10 and 100 percent of ticket proceeds will go to the relief effort, Harvey said. Funds raised will be used to put together Fresh Start Packs - backpacks filled with personal hygiene products that will be delivered to the devastated island nation. Ticket holders will see a display of these packs at the concert. Merchandise will be for sale in the lobby, and donations can be made in the lobby as well.
    The concert will feature performances by Chris and Ashlee Mitchell, The Abundant Life Worship Center Band, Bloomstate with Mary Hannah Riggins, Next Level and The Chester Project. Harvey is the lead vocalist of the Chester Project and the wife of the associate pastor the First United Methodist Church. The concert will feature a variety of styles, including rock, jazz and classical guitar, and will include both secular and Christian contemporary selections.
    This concert is the first such event for RAISE, which hopes to continue its efforts on other relief projects, including local charities, Harvey said. Their major sponsors for this event include Steve Chester and Max Manack (of Merrill Lynch in Statesboro), who are covering the costs, so that all proceeds will go directly to the Haitian relief effort. Pladd Dot Music has many employees involved in helping out with this concert as well.
    RAISE is organizing a trip to hand out the Fresh Start Packs, led by Travis and Tonya Ivey of the Abundant Life Worship Center and Claudia Batichon, a GSU grad who emigrated from Haiti when she was a child.
    The RAISE Haiti Relief Concert is being held this evening at GSU's Performing Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the PAC box office starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are also available at the First United Methodist Church office, (912) 764-7589, or call Harvey at (912) 481-8554.
    
     “Mornings unPHILtered” airs live Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on statesboroherald.com and also simulcast on WWNS-AM 1240 on the radio. You also can listen anytime at BoroLive.com on statesboroherald.com