By Rick Palsgrove
The thespians of Groveport Madison High School’s Cruiser Theatre Company are stretching their acting range this year with a full slate of performances featuring comedy, drama, and even a children’s show.
“It’s going to be a big year. As far as challenges, we have a wide variety of programming representing a variety of theatrical styles,” said Corey Ragan, theatre teacher/director. “The students will have to work hard to study and comprehend these styles while also doing the material justice.”
Ragan said the shows to be performed are selected after reading many scripts.
“We look at our students’ strong suits and find what shows play to their talents,” said Ragan. “We try to match the students’ skill sets to the plays.”
The first performance of the year is the play “Fools,” to be performed at Groveport Madison High School, 4475 S. Hamilton Road, on Nov. 10 and 11 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 12 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
According to Ragan, in “Fools,” the lead character, “Leon Tolchinsky,” lands a teaching job in an idyllic Russian hamlet. When he arrives he finds people sweeping dust from the stoops back into their houses and people milking upside down to get more cream. The town has been cursed with “chronic stupidity” for 200 years and Tolchinsky’s job is to break the curse. No one tells him that if he stays more than 24 hours and fails to break the curse, he will also become stupid. However, he fell in love with a girl so stupid she has only recently learned how to sit down.
The student actors playing the principal roles in the play are: “Leon Tolchinsky” – Isaac McGruder; “Sophia Zubritsky” – Makaila McColley; “Dr. Zubritsky” – Zack Hamilton; “Lenya Zubritsky” – Fiona Finneran; and “Gregor Yousekevitch” – Jermane Jackson.
“Also, our 2 p.m. show on Nov. 12 will feature five understudies in some of the roles in ‘Fools,’” said Ragan.
McGruder, a sophomore, said he feels attached to his character in “Fools” because he shares common traits with him – especially the teaching aspect.
“It’s all about teaching and learning,” said McGruder. “My goal is to inspire people and hope more people can get into learning to find better versions of themselves.”
Finneran, a sophomore who described herself as “a comedy kind of girl,” said she likes the play “Fools” for its quick and witty dialogue as well as its depth.
“There’s a cleverness to it,” said Finneran. “It provides laughs, but also encourages the audience to think deeply. The play also shows that people can flourish in their own way.”
McGruder and Finneran said they are looking forward to the slate of shows the theatre group will tackle this year.
“I’m excited about each of the shows,” said McGruder. “Musicals like ‘All Shook Up’ are more difficult. It’s a process to make them cohesive. It will be interesting to see how it all comes together.”
Finneran said of the show schedule, “I like all of it! I can relate and attach to it all equally. I’m interested to see the characteterization as well as the flashback to rockabilly music in ‘All Shook Up.’”
She is especially thrilled about the children’s show, “The Cat in the Hat,” that Cruiser Theatre Company will perform.
“Dr. Suess was my life as a kid,” said Finneran.
Here are the Cruiser Theatre Company’s upcoming performances this season:
•Staged Reading – “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” – Dec. 16 at 7:30 p.m.
•Senior Show – “Three Days of Rain” – Jan. 13 and 14 at 7:30 p.m.
•Play In A Day- “Bad Auditions by Bad Actors” – Jan. 28 at 7:30 p.m.
•Spring Musical – “All Shook Up” – April 6-8 at 7:30 p.m. and April 9 at 2 p.m.
•Theatre 3 Show – (to be determined) May 5 and 6 at 7:30 p.m.
•Children’s Show – “The Cat in the Hat” – May 19 at 7:30 p.m. and May 20 at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Tickets range from $5 to $7. For information visit cruisertheatre.weebly.com or call (614) 836-4964.