Ready for the State Fair? What’s that? The fair was months ago? Well, in our neighborhood, the State Fair is back, in the form of the Lake Highlands United Methodist Church ’s annual musical production.

 

          That’s right, this year the annual performance by Actors of Christian Talent (ACT) will be Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1945 musical, “State Fair.” Director Deanna Deck calls the musical a “good clean sweet comedy where everyone wins.”

 

          Judging by past productions, that statement probably includes the audience. This is LHUMC’s 28th year of putting on the performance and, by now, it’s a pretty finely tuned machine.

 

          “It’s quite amazing, just like anything that comes together with volunteer hours,” says publicity chairman Mary Barnes. “You just are in awe once you see it, especially considering it’s just a bunch of kids and volunteers making sure this is going on.”

 

          Deck, for whom this will be the first year to direct (she was choreographer in 2002), agrees.

 

          “I loved it so much last year,” Deck says. “I think it’s an incredible program, and I was just really amazed with the professional quality of it and the dedication of all the parents and students”

 

          Parent volunteers construct the stage, design and paint the set, put together the costuming and do all the necessary alteration work. Rehearsals started in early January with 72 cast and crewmembers.

 

          Deck, who studied in New York City and is starting a new theater in Dallas called Project X, said working with the actors has been inspiring.

 

          “I’ve been overwhelmed with the talent of these kids,” she says. “They’re so excited, and they’re so gutsy. And it’s such a great opportunity working with young people, too.”

 

          The six lead roles are played by Billy Goad (Abel Freak), Meredith Davis (Melissa Frake), Haley Moser (Margy Frake), Carl Rainer (Wayne Frake), Lindsay Toler (Emily Arden) and Cary Daniels (Pat Gilbert).

 

          The musical’s plot revolves around the Frake family’s visit to the Iowa State Fair, a pivotal bet and the Frake children’s search for love.