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Published Jan. 27, 2012

Looking for some Friday night fun? Palm Harbor University High School's theater department has the ticket.

Tonight at 7:30 p.m., an ensemble of 19 cast members present Wiley and the Hairy Man, a one-act play that netted them top honors at the Florida Theatre Conference in October.

"We are the first Pinellas school within the last 25 years to receive this honor (Best of Festival)," said theater teacher Graham Howard.

Tickets are $10 each.

In March, they'll represent Florida at the Southeastern Theatre Conference in Chattanooga, Tenn.

"It's a very big opportunity," Howard said. "It's an event some schools prepare a year for. It's very competitive."

The tab is expected to be about $11,000, so tonight's event will help them pay for their trip.

Wiley and the Hairy Man is a play by Susan Zeder geared toward young audiences. It revolves around a 10-year-old fatherless boy (Darcy Forest) who lives in a swamp with his Mammy (Amanda Springer) and Dog (Vanessa Lopez). He's afraid of many things but especially the Hairy Man (Tim Hart), a "conjure man" who killed Wiley's dad.

Amanda was named Best Actress at the conference for her portrayal of the character.

What makes the play interesting is that the chorus forms a living set, a sort of eerie, undulating living swamp that conveys information to the audience.

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If you go

Wiley andthe Hairy Man

Where: Palm Harbor University High School, 1900 Omaha St.

When: 7:30 p.m. today

Tickets: $10 at the door