‘RUMORS’ flourish at Parkrose High Theater

See why the well-acted, witty dialog presented in this sparkling comedy makes for a fun evening at the theater …

From the outset, things go awry when guests Ken Gorman (played by Nate Frary), and Chris Gorman (played by Hannah Hamling), call their host’s physician – as the PHS Drama Department production of RUMORS begins.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

The modern Neil Simon play RUMORS was a great selection to kick off the 2014 theater season for the Parkrose High Thespians.

The cast of ten actors, assisted by at five-person technical crew of the Parkrose High School Theater Department, ably present playwright Neil Simon’s only farce – a situation comedy, based on compounding misunderstandings.

Guests Lenny Ganz (acted by Jacob Van Horn) and wife Claire Ganz (Althea Murin), wonder why Ken and Chris won’t tell them why the host and hostess are absent.

Because it’s an ensemble comedy play, the student actors learned page after page of dialog and stage direction. “It is a dialogue-oriented play,” said PHS Theater Instructor and the show’s director, Tom Cavanaugh. “Our actors prepared themselves well, which is the key to making it a success.”

Indeed, watching a dress rehearsal, all of the actors in the ensemble make their dialog sparkle, coming off as real conversation – not merely recited “lines”.

Clair tries to explain to newly-arrived guests Ernie Cusack (played by Kai Fiser) and his wife Cookie (Bailey Golar) what is taking place, while Lenny and Chris listen to the tale unravel.

About the story
RUMORS begins as guests Ken Gorman (played by Nate Frary) and his wife, Chris Gorman (Hannah Hamling) arrive at the 10th anniversary party of Deputy Mayor of New York City Charlie Brock and his wife, Myra – neither of whom, or “the help” can be located at their swanky townhouse.

Additional guests, accountant Lenny Ganz (acted by Jacob Van Horn) and wife Claire Ganz (Althea Murin), arrive, as do Ernie Cusack (Kai Fiser), a psychologist, and his eccentric cooking-show host wife Cookie (Bailey Golar). Added to the mix are the final guests – State Senate hopeful Glenn (Jason Gutierrez), who constantly bickers with his gal, Cassie Cooper (Liz Hurliman).

Complicating the evening is the arrival of guests Glenn (played by Jason Gutierrez) and his shrewish gal, Cassie Cooper (Liz Hurliman).

The guests try to help as Cookie, about to fix dinner, has a back spasm.

The guests discover that Deputy Mayor Charlie Brock is surviving a gunshot – while dealing with their own medical miseries, including injuries sustained in a car wreck, back spasms, burned hands – and a sudden onset of deafness.

Come see RUMORS and discover:

  • Who will learn what really happened to Deputy Mayor Charlie Brock?
  • Will Lenny and Claire survive gossip spread at “the club” about them?
  • Can Ernie and Cookie prepare a dinner that will satisfy the other guests?
  • Will the guests come together enough to tell a cogent story, when Officer Welch and Officer Pudney come to the townhouse?


You’ll smile as you see these upper-class guests trip over themselves, literally and figuratively, to care for their wounded host, to serve dinner, and to concoct “a story”, as RUMORS unfolds.

Lenny tries to communicate with Ken, who has suddenly gone deaf, and is trying to figure out what is transpiring.

It’s bedlam in the townhouse, as guests try enjoy the party, held under very odd circumstances.

What is remarkable about this production, is how professionally these Parkrose High actors have prepared for this show, and thus, drawing the theater patron into the story they weave.

Their technical crew ably hits the music cues, sound effects and staging. Get ready for an enjoyable night at the theater, when you go to see RUMORS.

RUMORS continues through November 22
Make plans now to see Parkrose High School Theater’s comical and clever season opener, RUMORS.

The curtain again rises on November 15, and then the show runs on November 20, 21 and 22.

Why did the cops show up – when no one called the police?

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

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

The cast of RUMORS takes a well-deserved bow, as this enjoyable show comes to an end.

© 2014 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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