The William Chrisman High School production of 'The Beverly Hillbillies' opens Thursday at the school's Little Theatre.
Emily Sukolics loves how her character of Granny Moses gets her sayings mixed up throughout William Chrisman’s spring play of “The Beverly Hillbillies.”
“She is this spunky, feisty women who is completely over the top,” said the William Chrisman senior. “She really does mean well, she just gets misunderstood. I like the first scene the best because you really get to know her and she how she gets confused. It is very funny.”
“The Beverly Hillbillies” is based on the popular 1960s television series of the same name. It follows the story of the Clampetts, who discover oil on their land and are transplanted into Beverly Hills, Calif.
But one of the most popular programs in television history has another connection to Independence and William Chrisman High School. The creator of “The Beverly Hillbillies,” Paul Henning, was born and raised in Independence. He graduated from William Chrisman before starting a professional journey that eventually led to Hollywood.
In addition to writing for series such as “The Real McCoys” and “The Andy Griffith Show,” he created three of the most popular shows in the 1960s - “The Beverly Hillbillies,” “Petticoat Junction” and “Green Acres.” Henning died in 2005 at the age of 93.
Director Kimberly Hayes said she read the stage version of “The Beverly Hillbillies” years ago and always planned on doing it at the high school.
“If you watch the first few episodes, you see a lot of the same places and hear some of the same jokes that you will in the play,” she said. “What I like about this play is that the characters are so much fun. They really contrast with each other, which I think the audience really will enjoy.”
Senior Trevor Banhart plays Jed Clampett, a backwoods man who easily gets confused on societal norms. However, Banhart said he really is just a family man and cares about what is best for the people around him.
“I watched the original show to really look at how he stands. I studied the faces that he makes and really listened to how he talks so I could copy that as much as I could,” he said. “When I fond out that the show was created by someone from William Chrisman, I had this big sense of pride. I am portraying a character that came from someone who went to school here. That is pretty cool.”
Sophomore Rachael Mallinson plays Elly Mae Clampett, a tomboy with no interest in leaving her home behind to move to California. Mallinson said she likes that Elly Mae is a curious person who is persistent in learning things about her environment.
“I don’t think her curiosity surprised me because she is very opinionated. I think what is interesting is that when she gets to Beverly Hills, she finds out that she really does like it,” she said. “I love the silliness that’s in this play. It is really funny the way they can’t understand things. It is a fun play to watch.”
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