Planting Seeds for The Secret Garden – Casting

This past week, over one hundred local amateurs and professionals from seven years old to seventy auditioned for the musical THE SECRET GARDEN and the comedy CLUE, of which we cast only twenty-two.

When casting, there are never enough roles for all the talent presented at auditions.

Directors commonly wish that you could cast everyone who auditioned for your play. It is not easy to select the best actors from a pool of talented individuals who have put their heart and soul into their auditions.

However, casting everyone in the play is just not feasible. Each production has a limited number of roles and resources, and choosing the best fit for each character is essential. The decision-making process involves considering factors besides talent, such as availability and suitability for the role.

While it may be disappointing for those who did not make the final cut, it is crucial to remember that auditions are not just about getting cast in a particular production. They are also an opportunity for actors to showcase their skills and gain valuable experience.

As directors, Aaron Taylor and I find it essential to approach each audition with an open mind and fairness while making difficult decisions. Ultimately, casting the right actors will bring out the best in our production and create an unforgettable experience for both performers and audiences alike.

I’m pleased to announce our cast lists for THE SECRET GARDEN and CLUE.

THE SECRET GARDEN (9/15 through 9/24)
MARY LENNOX…..Lucy Melloan
LILY CRAVEN…..Heather Heim-Lawson
DICKON SOWERBY…..Corey Kieslich
COLIN CRAVEN…..Ethan Grose
ROSE LENNOX…..Mariah Lewis
MRS. MEDLOCK…..Ranelle Rigney
STAFF / MRS. WINTHROP…..April Reneau
LT. WRIGHT / STAFF…..Jamie Edlin
F. H. BURNETT / STAFF…..Kelsey Floyd
DANCERS…..Madeline Curtis, Alexis Hayes, Nicole Melloan, Kiris Ray, Kate Shirts, Harper Taylor

CLUE (1/19 through 1/21)
WADSWORTH…..Daniel Bannister
MRS. PEACOCK…..Kit Mills
PROFESSOR PLUM…..Jeremiah Shilling
MRS. WHITE…..Moira Taylor
MR. GREE …..Jared Eaton
MISS SCARLET…..Melissa Case
YVETTE…..Kathleen Lewis
ENSEMBLE…..Hannah Bowman, Gabby Butler, Mariah Lewis, Blake Ryan

Tickets for THE SECRET GARDEN are on sale now.
Tickets for CLUE will be on sale in August.

Video Links
The links below provide a video version of this month’s blog and a link to The Monthly Marquee, an interview program hosted by Bart focused on performing arts activities in our region.

Audience Survey Winners

Congratulations to BRENDA DOWNES, KENDRA LIVENGOOD, MARCELLA SHANDOR & MICHELLE WRIGHT– each a lucky winner of a $20 PAC gift certificate for completing an Audience Survey last month.

PAC Spotlight – July 2023

This month, The PAC Spotlight shines on NHHS student, Reese Thompson, currently performing in YTHC’s Oklahoma! this summer.

What do you want to do when you grow up?
Go into education

What have you participated in at the PAC?
Beauty and The Beast (ensemble), Frozen JR. (Sven), Cinderella Youth Edition (Portia), and Oklahoma! (Ado Annie)

What have been your most rewarding PAC experiences?
The most rewarding PAC experiences for me come from all the people I meet along the way. I have made many lifelong friends from theater. They are people I can truly be myself around and go to for guidance. Everyone is so kind and welcoming; even if you’ve been surrounded by them for a short time, it feels like you’ve known them for years.

What did you learn from your PAC experiences?
I have learned how to be more confident in my work. Before being in productions at the PAC, I was too scared to try out anything new because of what people might think of me. Now I understand that you will never regret something, even if you fail, as long as you try. Every failure is a new experience to learn from.

Why is the PAC important to you?
The PAC is important to me because it provides an outlet for me to express myself. I love being able to come on stage and not be myself for once. Playing a character grants you the freedom to be creative. It teaches discipline and self-control. Also playing a major role in a play is fun, but it is not always easy.

Why should the PAC be important to others?
The PAC is a vital part of our community and provides endless opportunities for those in it. So many people have had life-changing experiences because of the PAC, and I believe others could experience the same. Live theater has been loved for years, and I’m so glad our community has local access to it.

Do you have any other comments you’d like to share?
I’m extremely honored to get this kind of recognition, and I would like to thank my family, friends, mentors, and, most importantly, God for always supporting my dreams and helping me get to where I am today.


July 1

July 1, 2023
Third Party Event: Patty Lirot Celebration of Life.
6 PM.
POC Tom Lirot,

July 14,15,16, 21, 22,23

July  13,14,16, 21,22,23, 2023

Third Party Event: Youth Theatre of Hardin County summer production of OKLAHOMA.
Fri & Sat, July 14, 15, 21, 22 at 7 PM.  Sun Matinees, July 16 & 23 at 3 PM. Tickets: Adults – $15 plus fees, Seniors, Military & Students – $10 plus fees, Children 10 & under, $5 plus fees.
Tickets on Sale: June 1.  All seats reserved through the PAC at or by calling 270-769-8837.


August 1 – 31

The PAC will be in production for the PAC PRESENTS Fall ProAm musical  THE SECRET GARDEN during the month of August. Performance dates are September 15 &  22 @ 7 PM for Abound Credit Union Members. September 16 & 23 @  7 PM and September 17 & 24 @ 3 PM for general public. Tickets are on sale NOW. $11 – $27.25. Live Stream and On-Demand viewing will also be available.


On May 31, June 2 & 4th, 94 HCS and 18 Non-HCS students with Center Stage Dance Studio under the direction of Yvonne Groves, presented three recitals before audiences totaling 1,185. 

On June 3, the PAC held  AUDITION WORKSHOPS with the help of Hannah Pruitt, director of creative engagement for Kentucky Shakespeare. By popular demand, the PAC invited Kentucky Shakespeare to conduct “Scare Away Stage Fright” audition workshops in preparation for the PAC’s ProAm auditions to be held in mid-June. Workshops focused on vocal projection, cold reading skills, and general confidence in any audition situation.  19 HCS and 13 Non-HCS students and 6 adults attended the workshops.

Beginning June 5, Youth Theatre of Hardin County started afternoon  rehearsals and morning “Shop Days” to build the set for the July production of OKLAHOMA!. An average of 7 cast members worked from 11 – 3 helping to build and paint a porch and windows for the house and other set pieces under the direction of Aaron Taylor.

On June 8,  20 HCS and 21 Non-HCS students with Allegro Dance Theatre under the direction of Carol Zagar presented a Summer Camp production of the music of MOANA before an audience of 212.

On June 10, 11, 25 students with the Dance Center of Elizabethtown under the direction of Sherry Barnard presented a musical theatre camp production of 101 DALMATIANS before audiences totaling 256.

On June 16 -19, the PAC held ProAm AUDITIONS. for the fall musical THE SECRET GARDEN and the winter classical CLUE, 29 HCS and 9 Non-HCS students and 50 adults attended the auditions.

Total Served in JUNE: 460 HCS Students, 109 Non-HCS Students, 86 Adults, and  1,188 Audience Members.

Total Served Year to Date: 15,475 HCS Students, 4,951 Non-HCS Students, 5,199 Adults, 22,345 Public Audience Members and 74 Live-stream.