2009-08-19 / Community

Tales of a Magic City'

Manchester play written by local author
by MCL staff writer

(L-R) Daughters, Christy Gray and Joy Jones, attended the play with Debra Jones.
Local playwright, Debra Jones, accompanied by her daughters, Christy Gray of Tallahassee, FL, and Joy Jones of Albany, traveled to Manchester Saturday to attend opening night of Tales of a Magic City, a play she wrote in celebration of the community's centennial.

Also present at the play was Joy's father, Jeff Jones, who treated the trio to dinner beforehand.

Colquittans, Jim and Sandra East, were in the audience as well. Jim is a native of Manchester, and he and Sandra were instrumental in the selection of Jones as playwright.

Jim's sister, Lynda Woodall, was a member of the Centennial Celebration Committee and had attended several Swamp Gravy performances, in which Sandra was a cast member.

When Manchester began the search for a playwright, the Easts recommended Jones. The committee gathered stories starting with the city's founding and spanning the last 100 years, which they turned over to Jones. She then used industrialist Fuller Callaway, one of the city's founding fathers, and a magician as central figures to weave together tales from each decade of the Magic City (Manchester's nickname). Jones expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to write for Manchester and hopes she captured its essence.

The resulting script included, among others, railroad and cotton mill workers, service station owners, peach farmers, German POW's, gypsies, UFO watchers, three "Eighties Ladies," a star newspaper reporter, the first African American police chief, and even President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Woodall directed the play, which featured original music and a large cast of volunteers. At the close of the show, the performers received a long, well-deserved standing ovation.

The playwright and her daughters also enjoyed staying overnight at the historic Warm Spring Hotel and touring the Little White House before heading home. A good time was had by all.

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