Thomas sews, sings for show

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 21, 2007

She started out just wanting to help with props and costumes. But this Pensacola native's outstanding singing voice earned her a spot - make that multiple spots - in the cast of &#8220Puttin' on the Ritz,” the Greenville Area Arts Council fundraiser, scheduled for April 27 and 28.

&#8220Nancy (Idland, director of POTR) asked me to come to the tryouts and talk to Miss Bobbie (Gamble) about helping with the show,” Joni Thomas of Greenville explains.

&#8220When I got there, they were handing out forms to fill out for the tryouts. So I took one, tried out - and made it into the show!”

Not only is Thomas, who has lived in the Camellia City since 1984, singing and dancing in numbers from &#8220Aida,” &#8220O Brother, Where Art Thou?” &#8220Oklahoma!” &#8220Hair,” &#8220Hello, Dolly!” and more, she is also sewing the costumes for the &#8220Oklahoma!” section of the show.

&#8220A big challenge has been finding the time to do it all. I find myself at home, singing and sewing at the same time. I'm up to 19 costumes for the show done so far,” Thomas says.

&#8220I'd describe the costumes I have made so far as a mixture of ‘Little House on the Prairie' meets ‘Gunsmoke.'”

Thomas, who describes herself as a &#8220creative type,” teaches summer school (&#8220art, sewing, drama, etc.”) and sings in the choir of First Baptist Church, where she works with preschoolers in Sunday School and works with the children's choir. 

Even though she didn't grow up here, Butler County has always felt like home to her, Thomas says.

&#8220My dad, C.B. Cole, came from Forest Home and my mom, Virginia Mullins Cole was the daughter of the most beloved preacher in Butler County, the Reverend Ralph Mullins.”

Thomas says she is thrilled to be a part of the upcoming show.

&#8220It's been a challenge. I am not a dancer, and trying to learn to sing and dance at the same time hasn't been easy! But it is a lot of fun. I think it is going to be a great show.”