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Irene Bedard will lead Perseverance Theatre season opener, ‘Our Town’

Irene Bedard poses with Martin the black cat in south Anchorage on Wednesday, February 18, 2015. The Alaska Native actress and producer, from Anchorage, plans to bring a film version of “Two Old Women” by Velma Wallis to theaters. (Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News)

Alaska Native actress Irene Bedard will perform a leading role in Perseverance Theatre's 2018-19 season opener "Our Town," the company announced.

In this production of Thornton Wilder's 1938 Pulitzer Prize winning work, Bedard will play the Stage Manager, a character that presides over the action of the play, often commenting directly to the audience. For much of the play's history, the role has been performed by a male actor, and the non-traditional casting is part of the production's intent to showcase a diverse, all-Alaskan cast, according to a release from Perseverance Theatre.

Bedard is from Anchorage and rose to fame as the voice of Pocahontas in the 1995 animated Disney film of the same name. She played the female lead in the 1998 indie film "Smoke Signals" and has recently appeared in the hit HBO series "Westworld" and the TV series "The Mist."

Bedard, of Inupiat, Yup'ik and Cree heritage, is also the president of Sleeping Lady Films, based in Anchorage and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

"Our Town" will run Oct. 5-Nov. 3 in Juneau, and Nov. 9-25 at the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts in Anchorage.

Bedard will also take on a leading role in Perseverance Theatre's premiere of "Whale Song," a play by Inupiaq poet and playwright Cathy Taganak Rexford that will run through the month of February in Juneau and March 8-17 in Anchorage.

Tickets for "Our Town" are $48-$60 for adults, $25-$37 for students and military at ptalaska.org, centertix.com or by calling 907-263-ARTS.

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