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Cast named for CCHS spring play M*A*S*H

By James Grob,

When it was 8 p.m. on a Monday night in or around the year 1978, it was time for M*A*S*H.

Loyal viewers might even miss the first half hour of Monday Night Football, just to tune into the popular sitcom.

The television series was one of the highest-rated in TV history. It ran from 1972 to 1983, and the series finale was the most-watched and highest-rated single television episode in US television history at the time, with a record-breaking 125 million viewers. In its 11 years, the series was nominated for more than 100 Emmy awards, winning 14.

Charles City residents can experience some M*A*S*H nostalgia this spring, when Charles City High School presents a stage version. The show will be at North Grand Auditorium on Friday, April 17 and Saturday April 18. 7 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets will go on sale in mid-March.

“I was looking for a story that would be recognizable to a large number of people,” said CCHS drama director Michelle Grob. “M*A*S*H is a pretty well-known show for adults in the community, and because of reruns, many of our students know about M*A*S*H as well.”

Grob and fellow directors Mike Lembke and Amy Wolfe held auditions and cast the play last week, and 36 high school students learned what roles they would play this week.

“Even though the stage version will miss some of the characters that people love — for example, there’s no Klinger in the play — that’s OK, there are other interesting characters that you’ll meet,” Grob said. She added that the lead role of Hawkeye is “a very similar character to what you see in both the movie and the TV series.”

The role of Hawkeye — played by Alan Alda in the TV series and Donald Sutherland in the movie — went to Griffin Franksain. Grob said that she believes Franksain will be able to capture the essence of the lead character, who has to be “very funny, but very serious at times.”

“Hawkeye has to display a wide range of emotions,” she said. “He has to have excellent comedic timing, and have serious parts, too.”

Some of the other well-known characters from the television series who will be portrayed include Trapper John McIntyre (Tyrell Baglan), Maj. Frank Burns (Christian Howe), Maj. Margaret Houlihan (Emily Woodard), Col. Henry Blake (Cael Ruzicka), Radar O’Reilly (Anders Haglund), and Father Mulcahy (Zach Greasier.) Some other main characters include Duke, played by Sincere Collins; Ugly, played by William Wilson; Bridget, played by Harper McInroy; Janice, played by McKenna Oleson and Louise, played by Lily Woodard.

“Because it was such a popular show, there will be characters who people in the audience believe they know, because they’ve seen them so many times,” Grob said. “I tell students that part of live theater is that you see different actors interpret characters differently. The feel of those characters is still present in this play, and that will be something that we’ll try to draw out from our actors.”

The movie, television series and stage play were all adapted from the 1968 novel “M*A*S*H: A Novel About Three Army Doctors,” by Richard Hooker. All are very different interpretations of the book, with many similarities.

“This play is adapted by Tim Kelly, who is known for putting out plays that are accessible to anybody — communities, high schools, middle schools,” Grob said. “There are not a lot of content or language issues.”

The play is described as a “wild, free-flowing comedy” about a team of doctors, nurses and support staff serving in a mobile army surgical hospital (a M*A*S*H unit) during the Korean War. The script includes several humorous moments as well as some romance and drama.

“One of the things I liked about the play is that it has up to 15 roles for men and 15 roles for women, it has room for extras and gives you suggestions for doubling up,” Grob said. “We had a large number of students interested in playing a role, so I needed to have a play that could provide for that.”

Cast of M*A*S*H
CCHS Spring Play
April 17-18, North Grand Auditorium
HAWKEYE — Griffin Franksain
BLAKE — Cael Ruzicka
DUKE — Sincere Collins
UGLY — William Wilson
RADAR — Anders Haglund
WALT — Lance Shivers
DEVINE — Breyer Ellison
TRAPPER — Tyrell Baglan
MULCAHY — Zach Greasier
HO-JON — Aaron Montemayor
BURNS — Christian Howe
LOPEZ — Drew Roethler
BOONE — Kylie Effle
HAMMOND — Cade Williams
BRIDGET — Harper McInroy
JANICE — McKenna Oleson
LOUISE — Lily Woodard
NANCY — Sydney Spieker
MARGARET — Emily Woodard
FRITZI — Ella Rogstad
MITZI — Jacie Wink
AGNES —Emma Schmiedel
KOREAN WOMAN 1 — Selah Opp
KOREAN WOMAN 2 — Gea Calpito
KOREAN WOMAN 3 — Shemaiah Lara
DEAN LODGE — Eliza Wolford
MS. RANDAZZLE — Anna Hersbrechtmeyer
CONNIE —Teagan Prigge
GOLDFARB — Rosie Baldus
DR. RUTH — Monika Kacprzak
EXTRAS — Hannah Hitchcock, Sydney Otto, Emily Usher, Eboni Patterson, Jillian Mutch