News from the Tennessee Valley Living Today

Daily file photo by Gary Cosby Jr.
From left, Bridget Lappert (Catie), Catie Duffey (Aleah), Caroline Duffy (Pyper) and Daniel Martin (Preacher) gather around Macy Ladner (Claudia), who is unconscious, in a scene from “Runaway Home” at Studio One in Decatur.

Final performances this weekend for original Decatur musical

By Patrice Stewart · 340-2446

This will be the last weekend to see "Runaway Home," an original musical by Decatur's Darren Butler, Judy Rodman and Will Fincher, and auditions are planned March 3 for an affiliated movie.

Three shows are planned at 201 E. Moulton St.: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. None are dinner theater shows this weekend, though there were several over the past four months.

Butler began this work for older teens and young adults when a children's agent in New York mentioned there wasn't much work for that age group.

"We workshopped this show, and it has gone through maturity changes as it developed into an exciting piece of musical theater," he said.

The story is about fate and consequences and four people living a bohemian lifestyle in New York City, where they operate a church soup kitchen.

Fate brought together Steve, a student and courier; Aleah, a writer with a haunting memory and mental illness; Pyper, an artist; and Preacher, a mentally challenged young man who works at a vending stand but also can be found preaching atop a wooden crate.

Then a girl named Catie challenges them to face their pasts, and they find Claudia, a runaway, in the snow outside their building.

"We are waiting to hear from the New York City Fringe Festival, as well as our submission for the Richard Rodgers Production Award," Butler said.

Meanwhile, he is submitting it to the New Harmony Project and the Alabama Shakespeare Festival's New Play Project.

"Of all the things I've written and co-written, this is the one that has the most possibility to go further, and I would love to have full houses this weekend," said Butler, who works with area school students on their writing when he is not involved in plays, movies or music.

General admission tickets are $10 each; call Backstage Theatre at Studio One, 308-2300, for information.

Their production company, Runaway Productions LLC, is gearing up for two major productions this year.

"A Fix" will begin filming in the summer, followed by "The Masterpiece" in the fall.

The play features Caroline Duffey and Bridget Lappert in the roles they will play in the movie "A Fix," which is their story for the time six months before "Runaway Home." Skye McCole Bartusiak will be featured in the movie.

On the Net

For information on the movie planned by Darren Butler and Ryan Sims, visit

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