Cruiser theatre alumni to perform on GMHS stage one last time

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By Rick Palsgrove
Southeast Editor

Photo courtesy of Brenda Watts
Groveport Madison High School senior and Cruiser Theatre Company member Addie Peelle sits alone on the stage in the school’s empty auditorium following a performance of the group’s annual play in a day. Peelle was quietly remembering the times she has spent on the stage and in the auditorium during her school days. The auditorium will be demolished this summer along with the rest of the school to make way for the new high school. Addie’s mother, Brenda Watts, said Addie had a monologue near the end of the recent show about how you can fall in love with being in a play. “She was doing fine until a line about how the people who are in the play with you become important to you, and then she started crying. By the time the show ended, the rest of the cast was weepy. As the cast came out to meet the audience, nearly all of them were sobbing. After all the hugs and photos and when most people had left, Addie went back and sat on the stage for a moment.” Cruiser theatre alumni can come back to the auditorium one last night on April 26 to perform and share their own memories of the stage.

Cruiser thespians of the past can trod the stage at Groveport Madison High School one more time at Theatre Alumni Night.

The high school will host “Theatre Alumni Night” on April 26 from 5-8 p.m. Time will be provided for a meet and greet between the attendees from 5-6 p.m. Performances by alumni will be from 6-8 p.m. in the school’s auditorium.

The event will be a coffee house style evening.

“Essentially, this will be an open mic style night,” said Corey Ragan, Groveport Madison High School theatre teacher/director. “We want to keep it relatively informal, but allow folks who would like to perform on the stage one last time the opportunity to do so. Admission is free, but we will be accepting donations if people feel inclined to support our theatre department.”

Alumni performers can e-mail Ragan at corey.ragan@gocruisers.org to sign up. If you wish to perform a music number you did in high school please bring your own CD or flash drive with the music on it.

“They can do this, e-mail me the music, or we can find a video of the music that night,” said Ragan. “It is my hope that this is an exclusively alumni driven event. I’m hoping that we’ll have songs and scenes from over the years at Groveport Madison High School.”

Alumni can also come and see their name on the back stage wall one last time as the school will be demolished this summer to make way for the new high school.

Brenda Watts, a 1984 graduate of Groveport Madison High School and a member of the theatre troupe there while a student, plans to be at alumni night.

“I’m not sure if I’ll perform,” said Watts. “I may. Maybe I’ll sing a song from one of the musicals I was in back in high school.”

Watts said alumni night has been “a sort of thing” for the last several years.

“It’s been a ‘Coffee House’ and the current theater kids and graduates from the last few years would come together and sing songs while having coffee and enjoy snacks.”

Watts said this year, it was felt that, especially because the current school is being demolished, all of the past theater alumni who ever performed on the stage should come one last time so that they may perform there once more.

Watts said the school’s auditorium is a special place.

“When you’re one of the theater kids, that giant room feels safe and like a home-base for you in the school,” said Watts. “From the lobby to the dressing rooms to the cat walk, it all feels like it’s your place. It’s where a million memories are made and where friendships are forged.”

Watts grew wistful thinking about the auditorium and the time she spent there as a student and later with her own kids.

“I’ve been on that stage for decades either as a kid in a community that used that auditorium for many different presentations and happenings, or as a Groveport Madison band member, or a GMHS theater member, and as the mother of my many kidlets who were also in community activities and in the band and theater,” said Watts. “I’m going to miss those old boards.”

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