• Photo By Toni Walker - Atlanta resident Danielle Wise, standing, rehearses a scene as Oda Mae Brown’s sister in the Community Theatre of East Texas production of Ghost the Musical. Ghost opens Friday, Aug. 17 at CTET in Hughes Springs.

Three area residents to make debut in community theatre

Since its inception in 2015, the Community Theatre of East Texas had had actors and actresses from around the area, including Atlanta, Avinger, Tyler, Jefferson, Pittsburg, Hughes springs, Daingerfield, and even Dallas, grace the stage. In the upcoming production of Ghost the Musical, CTET will have three newcomers from the Atlanta area joining the cast for the first time.
Taking on the role of the psychic Oda Mae Brown’s sister is Danielle Wise. Wise, a 1992 graduate of Queen City High School, had been performing for near thirty years, so she is no stranger to the stage. 
“I started out singing with my family when I was about 10 years old in church,” said Wise. “As I got older, I would sing karaoke any chance I got until I ran into an old friend and was asked to get on stage with a local band and sing a song. I was in heaven.”
It was with that band Wise found her second home. In the years since joining the band, she has performed at Sparks in the Park, boat races at Bringle Lake, and several Texarkana Twins baseball games. Though her love of performing runs deep, Wise never considered herself a “theatre person” until she attended several live plays, including some at the CTET and she was hooked. It was one of those friends who talked Wise into auditioning for Ghost the Musical. 
“Heather (Thurman Roach) talked me into auditioning for Ghost the Musical. I thought I would walk in there, sing a song, and they would ask me to sing for the musical,” said Wise. “I was very wrong.” 
Aside from the hours Wise puts into rehearsal for the musical, she also works a full time job in Texarkana and runs a house sitting business. But she doesn’t regret the time she has put into this new endeavor.
“Being on stage for a musical is so much different than singing on a stage with a band,” Wise says. “You have to actually feel the role you are playing, and let me tell you, that is not always the easiest thing to do. Being in this musical, I have had to step out of my box and comfort zone and learn something totally different but I have had a blast doing it.”
Wise admits that the audience who follows her performances makes her feel more comfortable on stage.
“I am always thankful for the large following of friends I have that always come and support me no matter what! It sure makes being on that stage much more comfortable,” she said.
Wise is only one third of the trio of new actors to grace the CTET stage. Her friend, Penny Lynn, never had any intention of auditioning when she went as moral support for Wise. She was unexpected pulled off the sidewalk to play the part of the second nun, an experience that she say is a blessing.
“I recently encouraged a friend to audition for the CTET production of Ghost, where I was unexpectedly wrangled into playing a small part myself,” says Lynn. “It has been a whirlwind of practice and production with a short span of prep time before opening night. Being pulled off the sidewalk and asked to join this amazingly talented group has truly been a blessing that I have not overlooked and will not take for granted.”
When Lynn is not attending live theatre and talking her friends into auditioning, the Atlanta native is doing a myriad of tasks, from taxiing children around, to quilting, and doing various chores as part of her errand running service. She also works concession stands at football games and participates in local 5ks and fundraisers.
The final part of the trio from Atlanta is Aaron Whitehead, who will play the role of Willie Lopez on the CTET stage. He joined the cast late when previously cast actors for the part did not work out. He also shot some video scenes that will be seen during the upcoming production.
These local actresses and actor bring a wealth of excitement to the CTET stage. 
“The time, effort, and love these people put into their craft will multiply exponentially from that stage, and if you aren’t there to witness it, you will truly miss out,” says Lynn.
Ghost the Musical opens at The Community Theatre of East Texas Friday, Aug. 17. There will be shows Aug. 17-19 and again Aug. 24-26. Showtime on Friday and Saturdays will be 7:30 p.m., with 2:30 p.m. matinees on Sundays. Tickets are available online at EventBrite.com and are $15 for adults and $10 for children. Tickets may be available at the door on a first come, first serve basis. Doors will open 30 minutes prior to each performance.

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