Cruiser Theatre Co. joins CAPA program; plus information on upcoming shows

By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport Editor

Photo by Lydia Miller
One of classes offered by CAPA for high school performing arts students.

Groveport Madison High School’s Cruiser Theatre Co. is one of 19 area high schools selected to participate in the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts’ 2021-22 CAPA Marquee Awards.

Presented by the American Electric Power Foundation, the program is designed to celebrate, support, and advocate for high school musical theatre education. The year-long educational program offers selected high schools the opportunity to participate in professional theatre education activities throughout the school year including master classes with Broadway touring artists, skills-based workshops with local artists, professional development sessions for educators, and Dig Deeper, a virtual tutorial series which covers a range of topics to help students deepen their study and practice of theatre from wherever they can watch.

“We are proud to be participating in the CAPA Marquee Awards this year,” said Groveport Madison High School Theatre Director Erin McLaughlin. “CAPA is a great educational opportunity for our students. It offers a variety of educational programming throughout the school year, including Master Classes with cast/crew from touring productions that come through Columbus, and the line-up this year is amazing, Careers in Theatre spotlights, Dig Deeper videos on how to do everything from basic stage make-up to backstage knots to warm-ups for performers, and workshops on a variety of theatrical things – the first workshop will be in October and cover auditioning for collegiate theatre programs.”

McLaughlin said the CAPA Marquee Awards are a regional musical theatre competition that recognizes and inspires greatness in high school musical theatre.

“We get to compete against other central Ohio high school theatre programs and the winners of Best Actor and Best Actress here in Columbus get to travel to New York City to compete in the Jimmy Awards, which is the high school version of the Tonys,” said McLaughlin.

Participation in the program costs a non-refundable fee of $150, which gives students access to all of CAPA’s educational programming this year and covers adjudication of Groveport Madison’s spring musical.

“Participating schools are also required to purchase a minimum of 25 tickets to the CAPA Marquee Awards Showcase, a red carpet event on May 10 at the Ohio Theatre in Columbus, for the discounted price of $15 per ticket,” said McLaughlin. “These costs will be covered by the GMHS Theatre program’s budget. Students will not be asked to cover any of it.”

McLaughlin said all students participating in the Cruiser Theatre Company have access to the CAPA educational programming this year.

“Although, due to COVID we may only be allowed to send one or two students per event,” said McLaughlin. “In such cases who participates will be determined on a first-come, first-served basis. Students involved in our spring musical, whether on stage or behind the scenes, will be participating in the show being adjudicated and will thereby learn a lot about how theatre is judged/assessed and how awards shows work.”

More information is available at and at

Upcoming Cruiser Theatre Co. shows
“I am so excited about this year’s season!” said McLaughlin. “We just cast ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream,’ by William Shakespeare, which is currently scheduled to perform Nov. 18-20 at 7 p.m. all three nights.”

She said the intent is to perform “Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Carol,” by John Longenbaugh on Jan. 21 and 22 at 7 p.m. both nights; “Goodness Gracious,” by Hank (Henry) Kimmel as the Cruiser Theatre Co.’s “Play-in-a-Day” on Feb. 19 at 7 p.m.; and “Fiddler on the Roof’ as the spring musical on April 7-10 at 7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday matinee).

All performances will be in the Groveport Madison High School auditorium, 4475 S. Hamilton Road.

“Of course, all of this is dependent on how the situation with COVID develops,” said McLaughlin “Audiences should note that I intend to offer livestreaming as an option for the first three shows, but I will not be able to do so for ‘Fiddler.’ As of right now, masks are required for all who enter the Groveport Madison High School building and I anticipate having limited capacity audiences for my productions this year.”

McLaughlin said she has every intention of having live audiences at the Cruiser Theater Co. performances this year.

“But, unfortunately, I am at the mercy of what happens with COVID and district policy in that regard,” she said. “Tickets and livestream access will be available through our website,, under the ‘Ticket Information’ tab closer to each performance.”

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