Knoxville — Exactly a decade ago, Tony-winning producer Ashlee Latimer was a student at Bearden High School, getting ready for her first play at the Knoxville Children's Theatre.
The play was Little Women, and Latimer was cast as Meg. On a Wednesday afternoon in 2018, Latimer stood in the same theater talking to a group of young actors as a Tony-winning producer.
Latimer was recently on the team that won a Tony award for "Best Revival of a Musical' for the show, "Once on this Island."
"It was like an electric shock in the best possible way," Latimer said about hearing the announcer on stage call their name. "I almost blacked out. My producing partner was next to me and was like, "run!."
With a brief break before Latimer had to start working again on three off-Broadway productions, Knoxville Children's Theatre's Producing Director Zack Allen asked if she'd like to come home and direct their upcoming production of 101 Dalmatians Kids.
Latimer was thrilled.
"It's always good to have a role model of someone who succeeded who was on that same path you are," Allen said on why he wanted Latimer to return to his stage. "This was a cast specifically chosen for their youth. Generally, you have to be eight or older to be in a play at Knoxville Children's Theatre, but we have some six-year-olds...primarily elementary-age children who we wanted to be exposed to Ashlee's work ethic to give them a strong start."
Disney's 101 Dalmatians Kids runs September 21 through October 7 at the Knoxville Children's Theatre. Tickets are $10-$12.