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Coshocton Footlight Players present ‘The Rainmaker’

| February 27, 2017
Cast members of "The Rainmaker" are pictured practicing a scene from the play that opens March 3 at the Triple Locks Theater.

Cast members of “The Rainmaker” are pictured practicing a scene from the play that opens March 3 at the Triple Locks Theater.

COSHOCTON – Coshocton is in for a treat when the Coshocton Footlight Players presents “The Rainmaker” on March 3 & 4, 10 & 11 and 17 & 18. Jill Baumgardner, producer of the play, said she believes this is a great play for Coshocton because it is a classic and because of the historical context of the play.

“The Rainmaker” is set during a drought in the 1920s. The Curry family consists of a father, two sons and a daughter and this is the story of the men in the family dealing with the drought, but also trying to find the perfect man for Lizzie (played by Christa Ciotola) to marry before she is considered an old maid. HC, the father, is played by Tom Heil and Lizzie’s brothers are Noah (Jamie Hostetler) and Jim (Quentin Wherley).

As the drought becomes more serious, a man arrives in town that says he can save the day. Starbuck (Heath Chaney) tells the Curry family for only $100, he can make it rain – any kind of rain they want. The family decides to pay him and hope for the best. Lizzie and Starbuck are attracted to each other, but she believes he lives in a dreamer’s world, while she lives in the real world.

Baumgardner said the play is a romantic comedy and that she thinks people who see it will see an authentic family who have problems, but who work them out because they love each other. She also said it is a sweet play, but not sugar-coated and the underlying message is to believe in yourself. Baumgardner believes everyone has met a Starbuck in their life – a stranger that everyone wants to believe in and trust.

Co-director Jon Cotterman said this is a family play with a lot of laughs, but that there are serious life experiences there, too. Cotterman said Lizzie has to make an important decision – whether to marry a dreamer or a practical man. Starbuck opens up possibilities to her that she had never considered and he brings hope to the Curry family. He said Noah is mired in family responsibilities and needs to learn from Starbuck to have hopes and dreams.

Chuck Hathaway is the other co-director. He said “The Rainmaker” teaches people to dream, but to remember they can’t live in dreams alone. He said the play is very funny, but the humor is subtle at times. Hathaway said the cast of the play had a lot of lines to learn, as the play was written in the 1950s and that was the style during that time period.

The sheriff in the play is Frank Ackerman. He said he tries to do one play a year since he retired and that he started as a backstage crew member. He enjoys being on stage and prefers smaller parts. Ackerman said Heath Chaney is awesome as Starbuck and that his character plays a father figure to File, a young deputy who may have feelings for Lizzie, too. He also said that he and Grant Cullison (File) add some of the comic relief to the story.

Chaney said he never saw the 1956 movie that starred Burt Lancaster as Starbuck and Katherine Hepburn as Lizzie. He wanted his portrayal of Starbuck to be based on the script and not him trying to be the character that Lancaster was in the movie.  He said he read the script and liked that the dialogue was true to life and that most of the characters in the play interact together. Chaney thinks anyone who sees the play will see themselves in one of the characters because the script is so well written.

Tickets for the play can be ordered online at www.footlightplayers.com or by calling the theater at 740-622-2959. All shows start at 8 p.m.

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Category: Arts & Entertainment

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