Bexley News

St. Charles thespians choose lighthearted work to lift spirits

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JOSHUA A. BICKEL/THISWEEKNEWS
St. Charles Preparatory School sophomore Carrick Reider (left) of Upper Arlington acts out a scene with Bishop Watterson High School junior Tess Golonka of Hilliard during a dress rehearsal of Almost, Maine Thursday, Feb. 20, at St. Charles. The show runs Feb. 27 through March 2.

The St. Charles Preparatory School Drama Department will be in the spotlight this weekend as it presents Almost, Maine.

According to its director, Doug Montgomery, the staging of Almost, Maine almost didn't happen.

In fact, Montgomery had a much more serious work in mind, Bill W. and Dr. Bob, which tells the story of how Alcoholics Anonymous was launched by a stockbroker and a surgeon in Akron.

But as he and the cast looked over the script upon returning from winter break, the cold and gloom of the outdoors seemed to be reflected on the pages of Bill W. and Dr. Bob.

"We just needed a change," Montgomery said. "We needed something uplifting and we needed something funny."

So he took an abrupt turn and decided upon Almost, Maine, one of the most popular musicals among high schools in the U.S.

"Everything worked out. The students were happy and I was happy.

"It kind of made everyone feel good after we changed the script," he said.

Montgomery called the play "charming, romantic and a bit quirky" -- reminiscent of the old television series Northern Exposure.

The action takes place in the remote, mythical town of Almost, Maine, where residents find themselves falling in and out of love in some very funny, and often unexpected, ways.

The show is made up of numerous short episodes that showcase the sweet, warm-natured, and often amusing encounters of star-struck lovebirds, playing out their relationships under the Northern Lights that hover above them.

Filled with comic and poignant tales, the story focuses on the search for human connection.

"I've always loved this show," Montgomery said. "It's funny, romantic and a little odd at times.

"It's not that we couldn't pull off (Bill W. and Dr. Bob), we just needed a change."

The St. Charles production features actors from its own student body, as well as those from Bishop Watterson High School, the Columbus School for Girls, Grove City High School and Whetstone High School in Columbus.

Almost, Maine opened off-Broadway in 2004, and since has been played out on stages across the U.S., as well as in Australia and Canada. Written by actor John Cariani of the television series Law and Order, Almost, Maine is the evolution of his love of monologues.

Almost, Maine was developed at the Cape Cod Theater Project in 2002, and was put on by the Portland Stage Company where it received its world premiere in 2004.

Show times are 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27, through Saturday, March 1, and 3 p.m. Sunday, March 2, in the St. Charles Campus Theatre, 2010 E. Broad St.

Adult tickets cost $10 each, with students paying $5.

Reservations can be made by calling 614-252-6714 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays.

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