"It was so much fun," CCAC president Gail Burns said of the evening. "Everyone had a good time and enjoyed the production, the music, the delicious meal and the prizes. I think it was one of the best events we've had."
This year's Night of Chocolate was the first to feature a theatrical production. Attendees enjoyed the humorous hijinks of the cast of "Suspect Hollywood," with members of the audience having the opportunity to join in the production. Unannounced walk-on roles were given to randowm audience members, adding another level to the fun. Rita Dortch, Judith and Jim Burgess, Madison Cate and Carl and Melba Bredberry were added to the case in an impromptu manner, taking part in the story as it unfolded.
"I've heard so many good things about the play," cast member and director Whitney Conley said. "I think it's safe to say it was a big hit with everyone."
Amanda Layer served as the spokesperson for the winning table, the first to deduce the culprit the play's murder mystery.
The audience gave their approval of the efforts of cast members Nancy Holcomb, Jeff Beck, Robbie Wells, Sydney Simmons, Gerald Hartsfield, Seth Mooris, Joseph Hargrave, Ronda Haney and Conley. Crew members included Seth McAfee on spotlight, Amber Beck on stage lights, Joey Pruett on sound, Jane Gatewood on props and Conley on costumes and make-up. Christa Hedrick and Karen Cagle created the programs.
The evening began with a meal catered by Pat Michelle and The Traveling Whisk featuring the main entree of Hawaiian Chicken, buttered carrots, broccoli and cheese, scalloped potatoes, the Whisk signature salad and yeast rolls. Delicious desserts, including the popular cascading chocolate fountain, served as the perfect finishing touch to the meal.
The smooth sounds of Just Friends provided an elegant, yet relaxed setting for the meal. The band is comprised of Larry Norred on keyboard, vocalist Cathy Norred, Van Taylor on drums and Matt Jackson on bass, and wowed the crowd with their renditions of classic holiday songs.
In an amusing touch, cast members interacted with the audience during the meal, remaining in their on-stage alter-egos throughout the evening.
Four winners also received door prizes, graciously donated by area sponsores, in special drawings. A wire decorative basket from Rector Downtown Drug Store was won by Carey Rau from Piggott. A glamour purse from Serendipity Lane was won by Christina Cox from Piggott.The three-tiered hand pained glass dish made in Turkey donated by Feather Your Nest was won by Kyle Cox of Piggott. The Spode 19-inch limited edition platter from Feather Your Nest was won by Pat Presson of Rector.
The CCAC's next event, Celebration of Music, will be in Jan. 20, and is under the direction of Jerry Chilcut. The organization will celebrate visual art with "Art from the Heart" contest for Clay County students during a reception slated Feb 23. In March, "Clay County's Got Talent," under the direction of Kenneth Renshaw, will allow participants to show off their talents in dance, acting and music. In April, the CCAC will host the Giant Puppets for the area schools and community. In June, the Council will host the theatre workshop and conclude the year with the Celebration of Arts, honoring supporter Demetra Shultz.
Persons interested in becoming a member of the Council may contact Christa Hedrick or Gail Burns for information. Membership fees run from year to year and are $25 for individuals, $50 for families and $15 for students. The sponsor levels include Platinum ($1,000), Gold ($500), Silver ($250) and Bronze ($150). Clay County Arts Council, Inc. is a non-profit 501 ( 3C) organization . All donations are tax deductible.
Those wanting additional information or to become involved may contact the CCAC via mail:
Clay County Arts Council, Inc.; P.O. Box #3, Rector, AR 72461.