Due to advance box office sales, Thornton Wilder’s classic “Our Town,” the third play of the Rogers Children’s Theatre season, is being moved into the Braithwaite Theatre. Often referred to as Wilder’s best-known work, it won the Pulitzer Prize in 1938. This particular production will be guest directed by Tyler resident Robin Root, who is making her directorial debut at Tyler Civic Theatre.”I’m incredibly honored to have been selected… I’m sure there were certainly people that probably had more experience… but I’m excited that they gave me a chance to do this and I’m greatly enjoying working with the great cast,” said Root. The play is usually a popular selection for high school and young adult theaters. Possessing a unique style, the main characteristic of “Our Town” is its use of minimal set design, props and costuming. Although the show is categorized as a drama, Root is hoping to liven the spirits of the audience.”I think it [the play] appeals to all ages because it’s about life, about real life. It’s about people,” said Root. “Real life is very humorous.”In addition to welcoming several newcomers to the stage, the show features a real-life mother/daughter team and many actors cast in multiple roles.”By doubling up like that… it emphasizes the universality of the human experience. That’s really what the show is about. It’s like a slice of life,” said Root. “I can tell you without a doubt, that this wonderful cast… and crew are going to make me look really good.”The three acts chronicle the story of two families in Grovers Corners, New Hampshire at the turn of the 20th century. One of the leading parts, the Stage Manager, plays an omniscient role, sometimes watching the action unfold from the audience. The Stage Manager also has long, complicated narrative lines.”This [play] makes them think, makes them think about their own life,” said Steve Swords who was cast as the Stage Manager. “I go over the lines over and over again and try to put myself in the scene and try to understand what Thornton Wilder was talking about when he wrote the scenes.”A few shows throughout the year are selected to be up for guest direction in the Rogers and Braithwaite theaters. This helps balance the workload on the stage.”It also gives these guests the opportunity to exercise their creativeness,” said Frances Whiteside, interim clerk at Tyler Civic Theatre Center. “I think it’s the best show in the English language including Shakespeare.”Whiteside often takes her grandchildren to theater productions and this rendition of “Our Town” will be no exception.”I think they will go away feeling the last two hours were well spent, and I hope they will share it with their families because it’s… important,” said Whiteside. The play is being co-produced by Daye Collins and Judy Watson. The opening show will be at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 19, followed by matinees at 2:30 p.m. on Feb. 21 and 28, and ending with evening performances on Feb. 20 and 25-27 at 7:30 p.m. Ticket prices are $12 for adults and $10 for students. Tickets can be purchased online at www.tylercivictheatre.com or at the box office at 400 Rose Park Drive in Tyler. More information on shows at Rogers’ is available at (903) 593-7827.

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