Crossroads youth perform ‘Hamlet Thrill-Mageddon’

TAKE THE STAGE: Actors (from left) John Szczerowski, Anna Hammer and AJ Shewan rehearse an amusing scene from the play “Hamlet Thrill-Mageddon,” which will be presented by the Crossroads Youth Theatre from March 27 through March 29 in Reed City. (Pioneer photos/Karin Armbruster)

TAKE THE STAGE: Actors (from left) John Szczerowski, Anna Hammer and AJ Shewan rehearse an amusing scene from the play “Hamlet Thrill-Mageddon,” which will be presented by the Crossroads Youth Theatre from March 27 through March 29 in Reed City. (Pioneer photos/Karin Armbruster)

REED CITY — Although some may argue the works of Shakespeare are dull, hard to follow and outdated, members of the Crossroads Youth Theatre are preparing to perform a modern twist on a classic tale.

“Hamlet Thrill-Mageddon” is a story about a group of teenagers who desire to host a play, but have no money to do so. However, thanks to corporate sponsorships, the group is able to perform the Shakespearean story of “Hamlet” — with a few minor changes because of those sponsors. The result is a comedic performance fit for all ages, with gags and one-liners expected to indice laughs from those in attendance.

Performances will take place at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 27, at 2 and 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 28, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 29, at the performing arts center on the corner of Upton Avenue and Park Street. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door or in advance at the Reed City Depot.

This is the first time an all-youth production has taken place in the theater group. Local teens have done their part to direct, act, produce, advertise, promote and take part in behind-the-scenes action.

Joseph Gerring, a student at Reed City High School, is taking on his first role as director.

“It’s a new kind of stress versus acting, behind-the-stage management and doing sound,” Gerring said. “But it’s enjoyable and it’s rewarding. I couldn’t have done this without everyone’s help.”

Gerring picked the play himself after finding and reading the script last year. It made him laugh out loud, which is the main reason he wanted the group to perform it.

“I love the witty humor and the team can really get into it,” he added. “I’ve always been a fan of parody types of humor. I think all ages will like the show, understand it and laugh along with it.”

Teens Anna Hamner and Max Westgate are two of the actors ready to take their skills to the next level. This is Hamner’s second and Westgate’s first experience in a youth theatre production, and both are enjoying the experience.

“It’s fun,” Westgate said. “I like acting and my friends are here. The play is pretty funny and it changes as it goes. It’s just like a cartoon.”

Hamner said she enjoys her character’s witty comments and interjecting personality.

“I like the intense corporate sponsorship,” she said with a laugh. “It’s a hilarious play and the audience can interact.”

Under Gerring’s leadership, the group has done well, she said.

“He’s a really good director,” Hamner added. “He’s very animated and always gets involved with us.”

For more information about the Crossroads Theatre Guild and the Crossroads Youth Theatre, find the group on Facebook. The organization always is looking for additional individuals who want to be a part of local theater.

BREAK A LEG: Local youth (from left) Max Westgate, Dan Forgue and Stephanie Heater show their acting skills during one of the play’s scenes. “Hamlet Thrill-Mageddon” is a comedy about a group of teenagers wanting to host a play, but with a limited budget. Thanks to corporate sponsoring, however, the production is created.

BREAK A LEG: Local youth (from left) Max Westgate, Dan Forgue and Stephanie Heater show their acting skills during one of the play’s scenes. “Hamlet Thrill-Mageddon” is a comedy about a group of teenagers wanting to host a play, but with a limited budget. Thanks to corporate sponsoring, however, the production is created.

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Posted by Karin Armbruster

Karin is the reporter for Osceola County’s Herald Review. She is the coordinator of the Health page, which runs in the weekend edition of the Pioneer. She can be reached by phone at (231) 592-8382 or by e-mail at karmbruster@pioneergroup.com.

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