Clever comedy ‘RUMORS’ comes to Parkrose High Theater

Learn more about this witty Neil Simon play, set to open on November 13 …

During a rehearsal for their new show, RUMORS, anniversary party guests Claire Ganz (played by Parkrose High student actor Althea Murin) ponders the absence of their hosts, as does Chris Gorman (Hannah Hamling) – while Lenny Ganz (Jacob Van Horn) suffers from a headache after being involved in a car wreck on the way to the anniversary party.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The Parkrose High School (PHS) theatrical season opens this year with the contemporary Neil Simon play RUMORS.

In the PHS Theater, fifteen Stagecraft students have been busily building the two-story set, creating costumes, and rounding up the props needed for the play, which opens on November 13.

Parkrose High School Theater Instructor – and the show’s Director – Tom Cavanaugh goes over “stage notes” with the cast of the upcoming production, RUMORS.

“We were looking for a bold ensemble farce,” said PHS Theater Instructor and the show’s director, Tom Cavanaugh. “RUMORS fits the bill.”

Playwright Simon, known as a master of writing clever dialog, created this light, humorous play – known as a “farce” – in which the improbable plot depends upon skillfully exploited situation comedy.

“This show appeals to our student actors here at Parkrose,” Cavanaugh told East Portland News at a rehearsal session. “We had a big turnout for auditions for the play, and our cast is really enthusiastic.”

Because the story line is carried in the dialogue, the ensemble of ten actors have been earnestly preparing by learning their lines. “They show they are really committed to making this highly dialogue-oriented play a success,” Cavanaugh said.

Before starting dinner, since the household staff is nowhere to be found, eccentric guest Cookie Cusack (played by Bailey Golar) considers her options, as guest Ken Gorman (Nate Frary) assesses the situation. And, while psychologist Ernie Cusack (Kai Fiser) calls his host’s physician on the phone, he discovers that the host has accidently shot himself.

About the story
Ready to celebrate the tenth wedding anniversary of a deputy New York City mayor and his wife, four couples arrive at the townhouse to attend a party and find odd circumstances.

The guests soon discover that there are no servants, the hostess is missing – and although the deputy mayor has shot himself in the head, he’s still very much alive.

At the bar, Glenn (played by Jason Gutierrez), a politician running for State Senate, and his girlfriend Cassie Cooper, (Liz Hurliman) illustrate why folk say they have a “very strained” relationship.

In trying to prepare a “cover story” – and prepare a dinner – comedic complications ensue as the upper-class guests trip over themselves, literally and figuratively, to care for their wounded host, to serve dinner, and to concoct “a story” before other guests arrive.

This fast-paced comedy poses such questions as:

  • Can their host survive the evening?
  • What happens when the Cusacks try to serve dinner?
  • Will the guests be able to tell a convincing story to the police officer who arrives at the house, without being summoned?
  • When the guests finally believe they’re in “the clear”, what incredible development occurs in the basement?


Come find out, and be thoroughly entertained, at the PHS Theater production of RUMORS!

The guests head upstairs to find out what has happened – after they hear another gunshot in the townhouse.

RUMORS opens November 13
Make plans to be there at 7:00 p.m., when the Parkrose High School Theater curtain rises for their funny, clever season opener, RUMORS.

The show also runs November 14 and 15, and then again on November 20, 21 and 22.

Tickets are available at the door, and are a reasonable $5 for students/seniors, and $7 for adults.

The Parkrose High Theater is located at 12003 NE Shaver Street 97220, just west of NE 122nd Avenue.

© 2014 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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