The cast for the Eastland Performing Arts presentation of Leaving Iowa is large, but director Doreen Dunn said there is a reason for it.
"There were so many multi-talented students that I wanted to find a play that had as many roles as possible to show off their talent," she said.
"I wanted to find something that had comedy as well as a little bit of a dramatic challenge. Leaving Iowa is such a funny show with a blend of heartfelt emotion between a father and a son that it fit the bill perfectly."
The "sentimental comedy" about a family on a road trip vacation features 26 characters.
The play was written by Tim Clue and Spike Manton.
Public performances will begin at 8 p.m. Nov. 16 and 17 in the Reynoldsburg High School auditorium, 6699 E. Livingston Ave.
Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for seniors and students.
Dunn said a special student performance preview will begin at 7 p.m. Nov. 15 at the same location, with $1 admission for all students.
Call 614-501-4071 for more ticket information.
Student actors in leading roles are seniors Dylan Harvey, Logan Baker and Taylor Phillips and junior Jordan Stinson, from Reynoldsburg.
Students in other roles include seniors O'livia Artis and Megan Williams, from Pickerington; senior Corrine Buuck, Gahanna; junior Clay Davis, Canal Winchester; junior Tyelar Garee, Lancaster, and junior Cody Thomas, Baltimore.
Other cast members are freshman Daria Swisher; sophomores DeMario Crawford and Ana Bravard; juniors Sergio Cardenas, Krysteen Hammon, Heather Keefe and Natalie Love and senior Kimberly Desir, from Reynoldsburg.
Reynoldsburg senior Christina Gilmore is the stage manager, with assistance from junior Katie Vandergriff.
Dunn said the play presents a number of challenges for her student actors.
"The challenging tasks for this production are that everyone is onstage for the entire play and that requires a great deal of focus for the company of actors," she said. "There are numerous light and sound cues per page that will really challenge the stage manager and her crew and we have the inside of a real car that moves on and offstage."
Dunn said the Eastland Performing Arts Program serves 16 school districts and is a satellite program of the Eastland-Fairfield Career and Technical Schools, housed at the Reynoldsburg High School Livingston Road campus.
"Theater is a collaborative art that provides students with the organizational, leadership and communication skills necessary for success in any career field," she said.
She said recent graduates of the program are studying and performing at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, DePaul University, Kent State University, North Carolina School of the Arts, Otterbein University, Point Park University, the University of Akron and the University of the Arts.
Dunn said the program's alumni are also working professionally in the arts in acclaimed dance companies such as the Jennifer Mueller Dance Co. and in leading roles on national tours, such as Beauty and the Beast and Shrek and in technical theater, or teaching in post-secondary positions.
She said an articulation agreement with Columbus State Community College gives students college credits for the performing arts classes.
"We've also had more than $2 million in scholarship offers to performing arts students in the past two years," she said.