The Hiram High School theater is scheduled as the site Aug. 16 of a unique stage production which will take those in attendance back to the fictional town of Mayberry and the old “Andy Griffith Show,” which originally ran on CBS-TV from 1960 through 1968.
Show organizer Steve Barfield is set to have two of the surviving cast members as the stars of the production, titled “A Touch of Mayberry.”
On the show, the late Andy Griffith portrayed Sheriff Andy Taylor with the late Don Knotts as the bumbling, but beloved, Deputy Barney Fife in the best-known episodes.
The original stars returning include Maggie Peterson, who portrayed Charlene Darling, a member of the visiting Darling family.
“Fans of the show will remember Charlene as she had a huge crush on Sheriff Taylor,” Barfield said. “She would always come along when her family, led by her father, Briscoe Darling, played by the late Denver Pyle, and her four brothers, all with their musical instruments, would visit Taylor for a jam session with him.”
The other member of the show’s original cast in the play is Ronnie Schell, who actually portrayed two characters in the show — a television producer named Jim Martin and a fur salesman named Bernie.
Schell is best known for starring in a spinoff of “The Andy Griffith Show” called, “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.” which starred Jim Nabors, who also played the Pyle character in the Andy Griffith series.
According to Barfield, the stage show has three acts.
The first is the A.R. Gurney play, “Love Letters,” and features Patterson and Schell in different areas of the stage who portray characters reading letters they wrote to one another over a 50-year span.
The second act will feature Schell doing a standup comedy routine, with the third act being Patterson singing some of the musical numbers she performed on “The Andy Griffith Show,” Barfield said.
Barfield said that in addition to the outstanding entertainment value of the event, he wanted “those attending, who were fans of the show to actually meet these two stars who were cast members.”
He also believes those who attend will have a different perspective of the TV series, which is still shown on stations broadcasting classic series.