Gilligan and the gang find their way to High Springs

Skipper still adores his little buddy Gilligan and Mrs. Howell can be superficial at times.

You can count on the rest of the stranded castaways from the 1960s hit TV show Gilligan’s Island to stay true to the characters they are playing, even when they start singing in this musical that debuts June 4 and runs through June 27.

“I am really excited about directing Gilligan the musical,” said director Steve Bates. “I was raised with a family who loved the show, and I have seen the reruns several times. I now own the complete series.”

Bates said he appreciates the unique storyline of the show, which was written by Hope and Laurence Juber.

“I think that is why it captivated so many viewers,” Bates said. “The play pretty much sticks with the basic Gilligan type shows with minimal twist and some of the classic scenes. So it is sure to make Gilligan fans happy.”

Back in March, the theater held auditions and attracted actors from Lake City, Gainesville, Chiefland and beyond.

Director Steve Bates laughs at tryouts

Mary Jane Simone, who grew up watching the show, said the role of Lovey Howell suits her well. The actress based in Suwannee County said she has starred in local theater in the area along with TV and radio commercials and is excited to work with Bates again.

Actress Elaina Peterson of Lake City has been dying her hair red now for a few years and tried out for both the Ginger and Mary Anne roles.

“I watched Gilligan’s Island growing up as a kid because my parents didn’t let us watch the newer shows,” she said at tryouts, before landing the part of Mary Anne.

Andy Hunn tried out for the roles of Mr. Howell, the professor and Gilligan.

“I love doing musicals and anything that is a comedy,” he said, noting his annual performance in the Rocky Horror Picture Show in Gainesville. “I’ve been in local plays for 10 years.” 

Actor Valdeen Fletcher sang “Stand By Me” while strumming his guitar during his audition and landed the part of Skipper.

“I always loved the show and caring for my little buddy aspect,” said Fletcher, a Chiefland resident. 

Bates announced the entire cast on May 3.

“We are so happy to announce the cast of our upcoming summer musical Gilligan’s Island!” he wrote, before listing the characters and who will play them. 

The full cast includes: 

Skipper: Val Fletcher

Gilligan: Carter Hill

Lovey Howell: Mary Jane Simone

Thurston Howell: Andy Hunn

Ginger Grant: Tracy Robinson

Mary Anne: Elaina Peterson

Professor: Andrew Jean

Alien: Timothy “Tim” O’Quinn

Tickets are on sale for $15, plus a special $10 performance on Saturday, June 5.

Gilligan's Island actors in costume
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