Practical magic at St. John Theatre

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 22, 2012

By David Vitrano


RESERVE – Popular voice actors Kent Williams and Todd Haberkorn paid a visit to St. John Theatre Saturday, and they brought a number of their fans with them.

With the two actors prominently featured in a number of Japanese anime cartoons — the genre is known for its particularly fervent breed of fans — about 30 people from all over the southeastern United States came to the theater in Reserve for a lesson in the ins and outs of voice acting and commercial work. The all-day workshop featured lessons in script work and characterization, audition techniques, radio shows and voice dubbing.

Said workshop organizer Suzette Hullette, “There’s nobody that does this.”

She explained fans of anime are willing to make the drive from places as far away as Arkansas and Tennessee to see the actors, Haberkorn in particular.

“He is well known in the industry,” she said.

Hullette said aside from running Haberkorn’s fan club, she counts him as one of her friends and often accompanies him to anime conventions, where he is sometimes mobbed by admirers.

Michelle Ransom, a workshop attendee who came all the way from Memphis, Tenn., said the names attached to the workshop were indeed what motivated her to make the six-hour journey.

“This is a whole new ball of wax. I’ll definitely be back,” she said, adding, “If this hadn’t been during the school year I could have brought 10 more people from Memphis.”

With this year’s workshop now done, Hullette has turned her attention to the future. She said working out a time when both the actors and the theater are available can be a challenge.

“We have to do it before or after the summer musical,” she said.

That restriction coupled with the busy schedules of Williams and Haberkorn mean Hullette has already begun looking at booking 2013’s workshop.

She has also begun looking at long-term ways to fund the undertaking. She enlisted the help of Voice of Louisiana’s Christian Bordelon to look into grant possibilities.

“It’s a matter of contacting them and showing them how worthwhile this project is,” he said.