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Huron ACT presents ‘Star Spangled Girl’

Posted: Monday, Feb 4th, 2013

Cast members of the upcoming Huron ACT two-act season-opener, “Star Spangled Girl,” are, from left, Christopher C. Weyer (cast as Andy Hobart), Paige Etchenkamp (cast as Sophie Rauschmeyer) and Gabriel Ryland (cast as Norman Cornell). Performance dates are Friday, Saturday and Sunday (Feb. 10) as well as Feb. 15-18 at the Fine Arts Center. Showtimes are 7 p.m. for Friday and Saturday shows and 2 p.m. for Sunday matinees. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED

The playwright Neil Simon was looking to do something fresh after hearing a wife of an astronaut have a lively discussion with a liberal newspaper writer at a 1960s dinner party.

As the night wore on so did the discussion — even after the party as the two verbal combatants left together.

What sprang from Simon’s talent was the “Star Spangled Girl.”

Picture 1960s San Francisco and two recent graduates from the University of California Berkley have ventured out and started their own magazine, “Fallout.”

With the angle of being a subversive radical, Andy Hobart (played by Christopher C. Weyer) and Norman Cornell (played by Gabriel Ryland) are trying to get “Fallout” off the ground.

Unfortunately, and adding to the comedy is the shoe-string and sometimes non-existent budget that the two men are trying to use to keep the paper afloat.

Hobart handles the production of the paper and Cornell does all the writing — when both aren’t contemplating ways to dodge their creditors from month to month.

Now if that wasn’t enough to keep their plate full, in walks Sophie Rauschmeyer (played by Paige Etchenkamp), a fresh breath of southern air, a young woman who has come across the country to train for the olympics as a swimmer.

She is as conservative as Hobart and Cornell are liberal, creating instant sparks and touching off the same dynamic as the dinner party’s banter that Simon had witnessed in person. From there the relationships get even more complicated as Norman falls for Sophie, which leads Andy to stew whether there will even be a next issue of Fallout.

Will politics and bills keep the young lovers apart? Or will love triumph in its own special, unpredictable, way?

The two-act play is the season opener for the Huron (ACT) and is opening this Friday, Saturday and Sunday (Feb. 10) at the Huron Fine Arts Center located at 939 Ohio Ave. S.W.

The play will also run Feb. 15-18. Showtimes for the performances are 7 p.m. for Friday and Saturday shows, while Sunday matinees are at 2 p.m.

While there was a Star Spangled Girl movie released in 1971 starring Sandy Duncan as the title role, Aaron B. Larson, the play’s director, says this production is much closer to the original play and sticks to the core of the relationships between Sophie, Norman and Andy. The entire play is set in a San Francisco studio apartment set in 1966.

Ryland, a Huron High School student is the only “Huron (ACT) veteran” of the three actors as he has appeared in previous shows, while Etchenkamp and Weyer grew up outside Huron but are now making the city their home.

The trio, along with Larson, have been practicing together since auditions began after Thanksgiving. After a few weeks off for the holidays, they have been ramping up for this week’s opening.

A wrinkle added to this season’s first effort from the Huron (ACT) is that the stage has been extended out over the orchestra pit to bring the action and more important their voices to audience.

Another new feature at the theatre beginning this production will be pizza for sale.

Huron (ACT) has plenty in store for theatre fans this year including:

• Part Deux: a Partnership with Community Theater and the Center for Independence, showing March 29 and 30.

• The Effects of the Gamma Rays on Man in the Moon Marigolds: Auditions will be May 6,7, and 9 with performances scheduled for Aug. 9-11, and Aug. 16 - 18

• The Foreigner: Auditions will be Aug. 19, 20, and 22 with performances Nov. 8 - 10, and Nov. 15 – 17.

The Huron Area Community Theatre is committed to providing a quality live theater experience for Huron and surrounding communities.

The goal of the group is that they want to give adults and families entertainment options to cultivate their interest in the arts.

In 2012 season they presented three outstanding shows. A hilarious comedy, an incredible musical love story and a moving comedy drama. The group also encourage other organizations to contact Huron (ACT) concerning assisting in helping produce their original shows. Our board of directors, casts and crews are comprised of this community’s neighbors, friends, family members, local businesses and the friendly people of Huron. Huron (ACT) is a community-based theater group, which means they are all volunteers.

Anyone interested in helping in any way — from serving refreshments, phoning, building and painting, or serving on the board
please call 461-1102 or email hurontheatre@hotmail.com

For the complete article see the 02-03-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 02-03-2013 paper.

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