(COVINGTON, La.) — A campus favorite has returned to St. Paul’s to the delight of the student body and the public alike. “The Outsiders,” opening Nov. 11 in the Alumni Memorial Theatre, explores the complex world of an impoverished gang in Tulsa, Okla., as they deal with hardships from murder to gang wars to teen love.
This production represents the fifth time the Marian Players will bring the beloved novel to life on the stage under the watchful eye of director Denny Charbonnet.
The play, written by Christopher Sergel and based on the novel by S.E. Hinton, is set in the 1960s and centered on a turf war in the city of Tulsa, Okla., between the upper-class Socials (Socs) and the lower-class Greasers. The play, while mainly focused on a tragedy that occurs early in the play, keeps the difference between the classes at the very forefront of the production.
“I chose (the play) because it has so much to say,” Director Denny Charbonnet said. “It is the most requested fall show. Our students love it. We had almost 100 students, guys and girls, come out (to audition) for the show.”
Another reason Charbonnet enjoys producing this play has to do with the underlying message.
“The ultimate message is to see people for who they are,” Charbonnet said. “Don’t look at the surface, appearances, labels of any kind. The story tells us to appreciate the beauty of each individual. Johnny’s message to Ponyboy, ‘Stay gold,’ sums it up. As a Catholic school, we take it another step. We are asked to see ourselves and other as God sees us. Our goal is to look for the beauty in each one of us and to appreciate the unique qualities in each individual.”
This underlying theme can be seen in many ways throughout the entire show. Even in the brutality of the rival gangs, a glimmer of hope emerges in the form of a Soc who agrees to not further the violence by fighting in a “rumble” between the two gangs. Another major point of the play is the chivalry exhibited by a troubled Greaser, even though the entire world seemed to look down on him and others like him.
While this same story has been told many times by the Marian Players, each cast presents something unique to the show.
“I think that this cast will bring something special to the story,” Charbonnet said. “Every time I repeat a show, I look forward to seeing what each new cast can bring of themselves, their gifts and personalities to the story. I love to work with them as they see the characters and the story through their eyes. It always brings something fresh, a new perspective. This cast is doing that very thing…adding layers to an already well-developed story.”
The leading cast includes Anthony Bonano as Ponyboy, Luke Vargas as Johnny, Reagan Hill as Randy, Isaac Hebert as Bob, Margaret Baglow as Cherry, Parker Layman as Dallas, Brooks McMahon as Two-Bit, Bradley del Rio as Darry, Logan Haydel as Sodapop, Emily Ruli as Marcia, and Caitlin Smith as Sandy.
Additional characters are played by Chloe Charbonnet as Miss O’Briant, Julia Albright and Grace Pierson as nurses, Thomas Harris as Steve, Patrick Stewart as Anthony, Spencer Albright as Bobby, Kurt Thompson as Paul, Nico Arcuri as Tim Shepard. Justin McCleskey as Tony, Kyle Shiell as Jerry, Austin Scheyd as Mr. Syme, and Eli Simpson as Chief Orderly.
Additional ensemble cast members for the show are Sam Nuss, Zac Russ, Mark Larson, Ian Nicaud, Shane Davies, A J LaCroix, Sam Kenney, Chris Gemet, Addison Nick, Gabe Daigle, Cray Pennison, Colin Patrick, Michael Oubre, Andrew Aceves, Brady Meibaum, Callan Danenhower, Julian Contreras, John Baglow,and Anthony Pennison.
Charbonnet is supported by a dedicated production group including Assistant/Technical Director Barrett Baumgartner, Set Coordinator Michael Boudreaux, Lighting Designer Ellen Lipkos, Costume Designer Elise Angelette, stage combat choreographer Ed Morvant, light board operator Brandon Gallego, sound board operator David D’Antonio, Stage Manager Christopher Damare, and stage crew Ethan Hopel.
Additional credit goes to Janet McRae and Shelley Falkenstein for make-up design, Jean Charbonnet for sound mix, parent coordinators Trisha Stewart and Kim Hill, Nick Ashton for drums, Logan Haydel for poster design, Janet McRae for ticket sales, Michael Sitarz for program layout, Bobby and Annette Thomas for t-shirts, Jenny Pierson and Christine Baglow for preview night coordination,Trisha Stewart for cast food coordination, Kathy Oubre and Robin Scheyd for cast party coordination, and AJ LaCroix, Christi Simoneaux and Karen Hebert for publicity.
Performance dates are Nov. 11, 12, and 14 at 7 p.m. and on the Nov. 15 at 3 p.m. Tickets will be $10 for students and $15 for adults and are available by contacting St. Paul’s School at (985) 892-3200 (ext. 0) or can be purchased at Braswell Drugs on Tyler St. in Covington.
“The Outsiders” is produced through special arrangement with Dramatic Publishing Company of Woodstock, Illinois.