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Meet those who might be ’Heir to a Misfortune’


What you would do if you were named as a potential heir to billions of dollars? Would you lie? Would you cheat?

Whatever the case may be, get some tips from the cast of “Heir to a Misfortune,” a LV Shoestring Stage Productions play, to see what types of shenanigans they’ll pull to get their hands on billionaire Arthur Aldenbrooke’s fortune!

Mike Lewis, a native Texan, hails from La Vernia. Production line worker by day, singer/songwriter by night, Mike caught the acting bug many years ago through his involvement in the University Interscholastic League’s One-Act Play competition. Mike is cast as the awkward and bumbling Nigel Wentworth, an attorney from Great Britain. “Playing Nigel is a new challenge for me, mostly because I’ve never had to affect an accent for any production I’ve previously appeared in,” Mike said.

Sharleigh Drake hails from San Antonio. This is her second time on stage in an LV Shoestring production. The first was “Bubba’s B&B” last year. She loves to sing at church, hang with her family, and bake. “I love to make people laugh!” she said. She loves the character she plays because “she’s a brat and it’s fun to ’act up’ and not get in trouble!”

Kimberly Keffer is from Stockdale and La Vernia. She is retired U.S. Army and enjoys ceramics, painting, photography, and spending time with her grandson. This is her first time on stage and she is “loving the thrill and stepping outside my box.”

Billie R. Cantu, originally from McAllen, is making her stage debut in this production and loves playing the character, Christa. “Christa is a very mean brat, devious, conniving, and has major attitude,” Billie said. “She only thinks of herself. She is polar opposite of my very being. It is fun to play someone completely outside of my element and bring this character to life, even if she’s awful. It does take all kinds to make a good drama/comedy.”

Merrie Monaco is enjoying her very first time on the acting stage. She is a longtime resident of La Vernia and is the co-owner of the Steel Magnolias Boutique. In her spare time, she enjoys event planning and spending time with her children and 11 grandchildren. Merrie is enjoying her role because she gets to pretend to be someone who is very different from herself.

Phillip Higginbotham is a veteran of the stage and is pleased to be in his first production with LVSSP. He moved to South Texas from the Dallas area in 2006. He has three daughters, Courtenay, Abigail, and Elizabeth. A committed Dallas Cowboys fan and avid disc golfer, he enjoys all things “Star Wars” and James Bond. He’s been acting for about 18 years all over Texas.

Ellen Swetman of New Braunfels is starring in her second LV Shoestring Stage Productions play. The first was “Bubba’s B&B” last year. She is an actress, a voice actress, and production assistant and vice president of Diva Designs of Texas. Ellen is always the first to memorize her lines and is very good at morphing into her comedic character.

Joyce Emily is also performing in her second play with LV Shoestring Stage Productions. Her first was “Maggie Mae’s Blue Plate Special.” She is a U.S. Navy veteran and is the district curriculum clerk for the La Vernia Independent School District. Joyce has performed a number of times in La Vernia’s Got Talent and Wilson County’s Got Talent, and has won many awards for her performances, including the Gospel Music Association solo vocalist of the year in 2014. She is an absolute hoot in this comedy as Hazel, the ditzy maid.

See these fine performers at the LV Shoestring Stage Productions’ play, “Heir to a Misfortune,” Saturday, April 2, in the La Vernia High School cafeteria.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Admission is $20 per person and will include a meal catered by Cowboy Catering to be served at 6 p.m., followed by the show. Tickets can be purchased at Mesquite Bean in La Vernia. A matinee performance will be held on Sunday, April 3, at 2 p.m. for $10, with desserts offered by JJ & Maggie’s Cat Sanctuary.

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