"All of a sudden, they see George and Leslie and college students that are a few years ahead of them, and they want to try to bring themselves up to their level," Hopkins said. "I'm trying to show them what it is really like out there."
Hopkins said directing two very established performers has been a humbling experience for him as well, but praised the Hearns for their willingness to contribute to Willsboro's drama program.
"It's just a remarkable gift that they give," he said, pointing to their participation in other local productions through Essex Theatre Company and the Depot Theatre.
Also new this year is a larger orchestra with more than a dozen musicians. Accomplished pianists Matthew Russell and Jennifer Moore share the duties of musical director. Diane White is in charge of choreography.
"Mame" is the musical adaptation of the novel "Auntie Mame," which was written under the pseudonym Patrick Dennis in 1955. It is chock-full of classic musical numbers including "If He Walked Into My Life," "We Need a Little Christmas" and the title song, "Mame."
Leslie said the musical holds special meaning for her, as it was one of the first Broadway shows she saw as a young girl.
"I saw 'Mame' and I was completely changed," she said. "It was like the moment you know what you want to do in life. I've always wanted to do this part, and now I get to do it."
"It's just been fun," said George of the production. "Seeing young people excited about doing musical theatre; some may go on and do it professionally."
As if seeing two Broadway performers on stage wasn't exciting enough, audience members can also enter to win "Dinner with the Stars." Raffle tickets will be on sale for $10, with the winner receiving a free dinner at the Essex Inn with George and Leslie.
"Mame" will be performed Thursday, May 7 through Saturday, May 9 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, May 10 at 2 p.m. at Willsboro Central School. Tickets are $20. For more information or to make a reservation, call 963-4456 x 214 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.