Musical comedy for a cause

News Release Date: 

Off-Broadway musical hit helps fund organization to inspire young people to higher education

What happens when a group of awkward singles from all walks of life look for love in the classifieds? Find out when the Marion Campus Players present the comedy musical revue Personals, Thursday, April 28, and Friday April 29, 7:30 p.m. in Morrill Hall Auditorium.

The Marion Campus Players are the same talented group of performers who left the Marion area buzzing after their campus based productions of, Is There Life After High School and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. This time around, the group is not only working for laughs and an overall entertainment experience, but to raise money for a worthwhile local non-profit organization, I CAN Center of Excellence. I CAN Center of Excellence is a regional college access program that provides last dollar grants, educational programs, inspiration, and advice to promote higher education and career preparation training to north central Ohio youth.

I CAN Center of Excellence Executive Director Dan Burhkart shared that this fundraiser is vital to continuing the organizations classroom programs.

“The I CAN Center of Excellence program has helped thousands of Marion area students develop a focus on staying in school, receiving their diplomas, and matriculating to post-secondary education,” explained Burkhart.

According to Director Clare Cooke, Personals is another off-Broadway comedy hit, cut from the same cloth as the campus’s last two successful shows. The subject matter is also something to which people universally will be able to relate.

“I think everyone, at some point in time, has looked for love and perhaps in all the wrong places,” said Cooke.

“When I read the script (for Personals), the characters were so vivid and I could see which ones our performers could bring to life. Our OSUM audience loves to laugh and this seemed like the perfect vehicle.”

Cast member Kristi Wink feels, Personals has a broad based appeal, from the music to the small vignettes the actors share, audiences will enjoy it.

“This production has such a nice variety of musical numbers. Just when you think the show is going in one direction something unexpected happens,” said Wink.

“There is definitely something for everyone,” she said. “The stories being told share different life experiences anyone can relate to on some level.”

Wink also shared the key to making Personals a huge success is casting.

“I've always felt Clare (Cooke) has a knack for casting,” said Wink. “Personals is just another example of the right actor in the right role.”

Personals features community theatre veterans Brad Bebout, Joni Carlson, Bruce Cudd, John Garnes, Charles Groth, Andy Harper, Nathan Haubert, Wayne Rowe, Amanda Sterling, Julia Vanderhoff, Sara Wenig, and Kristi Wink.

Working with proven commodities on stage and behind the scenes proves to be a winning combination for Cooke and her production team.

“There’s nothing greater than working with this group of seasoned, talented cast members,” said Cooke, “who have the utmost respect for each other and the production team.”

There is definitely an element of trust with this group of performers, said theatre troupe member Kristi Wink.

“It's like throwing on a favorite pair of jeans,” she said. “I'm always so comfortable performing with them.

“We work well as a team and truly enjoy each other's company,” added Wink.

It takes much more than the actors on stage to pull off a production like this, explained Cooke.

“Everyone who ever does a show knows it’s not a show without the backstage crew. They make everyone look good and are the unsung heroes,” she said.

The stage crew for this year includes: Barb Yaksic, Rhonda Arnold, and Paige Mosley. Tom Danner is providing sound and lights.

Diane Ehrman leads the orchestra and Nathan Haubert serves a duel role as vocal director, as well as his responsibilities on stage. Orchestra members are Dave Johnston, Kathy Reber, Guy Schlichting, Jacob Schlichting, and Bill Swihart.

It takes so many people to pull a production together successfully, reiterated Wink. People like Sharon Gale, who volunteers with each show, and of course all the orchestra members.

“We are so grateful to the many people who give graciously of their talent and time,” said Wink. “The arts community in Marion is truly blessed.”

Tickets for Personals are available in advance by calling 740-725-6341 or at the door the evening of the event. Advance ticket orders can be placed with a credit card by phone. If paying cash or by check, visit the Ohio State Marion Office of Community Relations and Development, Maynard Hall, Room 240.

Patrons are encouraged to get their tickets early based on the success of previous musical theatre productions at Ohio State Marion’s Morrill Hall Auditorium. Tickets are $15 general admission and $10 for seniors (60 and up) and students.

Special thanks to media sponsor The Marion Star and all those community minded businesses that have helped make Personals possible.