Hickory – Although the plot of David Lindsay-Abaire’s comedy, RIPCORD, centers around the conflict between two women fighting over a room at a retirement home, there is a wonderful ensemble of actors playing a wide variety of characters who fill out the story. In the Hickory Community Thaeatre production, which opens March 25, those roles are played by a group of very talented local actors.

Diane Albers, who plays the Creepy Clown, has been working with HCT, both onstage and off, for over a decade. Onstage she’s had roles in many shows, including 9 TO 5 and THE MUSIC MAN. Backstage she’s taken on many different tasks and in 2021 she was the stage manager for EXIT LAUGHING, which received the HCT Kay Award for Outstanding Ensemble. “My favorite things about HCT,” she said, “the mission, the friends I’ve made and all of the people here.”

Chrissy Colavecchio, who plays The Woman in White, was also part of the Outstanding Ensemble of EXIT LAUGHING, in the role of Millie. Her previous HCT credits include THE KITCHEN WITCHES and END DAYS. Colavecchio has a degree in theatre from the University of Florida. She moved to the Hickory area about 20 years ago. When asked what her favorite thing about Hickory Community Theatre was, Schramm said, “The dedicated and talented people.”

Allison Finch, who plays Colleen, has a BA in Drama from UNC Greensboro. Finch has had roles in four HCT productions, including THE THANKSGIVING PLAY in November, and she most recently served as stage manager for THE COLOR PURPLE. “I chose to audition for RIPCORD,” she said, “because it has a lot of unexpected turns to keep the audience guessing and laughing.” Finch is a jeweler’s assistant for Charles Babb designs and lives in Conover with her husband Matt.

Donovan Harper, who plays the attendant Scotty, is a very familiar face at HCT. He was most recently on stage as Dez in SKELETON CREW last spring. Harper made his directing debut in 2021 with THE THANKSGIVING PLAY. Harper has averaged two shows a year at HCT since he first stepped on stage for the title role in WILLY WONKA JR. in 2014. “What I like about my role,” he says, “is that I used to do Scotty’s job, so I have a lot to pull from.”

Taylor Kerr is making his HCT debut as Derek in RIPCORD. He’s a recent arrival to the Hickory area, having moved here just a year ago from Miami, FL. Since arriving he’s had roles in three productions at other theatres, THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL and BARNUM with Black Star Theatre Company and BEAUTY AND THE BEAST at the Lincoln Theatre Guild. Kerr says, “I auditioned for this show because I wanted to a show locally and this looked like fun. Plus I get to sky dive.”

Eric Seale, who plays Lewis and Benjamin, is the Artistic Director at HCT and has served in that role since May 2020. Originally from Lexington, KY, he has been involved in theatre since his teens. RIPCORD marks his second time on the HCT stage, the previous time was playing Lloyd in NOISES OFF. In his native Kentucky, Seale was a co-founder of Balagula Theatre Company, Artistic Director for the Actors Guild of Lexington and Managing Artistic Director at the Central Kentucky Community Theatre in Springfield.

Performances of RIPCORD are Fridays and Saturdays, March 25 through April 9 at 7:30 pm; Sunday, April 3 at 2:30 pm and Thursday, April 7 at 7:30 pm. Opening night, March 25 features reduced-price tickets: $12 for adults and $10 for youth & students. Tickets for all other performances are $16 for adults and $10 for youth and students.

Tickets are available online at hickorytheatre.org, or by phone at 828-328-2283. Weekday box office hours are 12-5, Wednesday through Friday, or one half-hour before any performance.

Due to the continued risk of Covid-19 in Catawba County, and in accordance with the latest guidance from the CDC, the Hickory Community encourages patrons to wear a mask or other face covering while inside the building. RIPCORD is rated PG-13 for strong adult language.

The Hickory Community’s 73rd season is sponsored by Paramount Automotive and Sunbelt Xpress. HCT is a funded affiliate of the United Arts Council of Catawba County. RIPCORD is produced by The Guild at Hickory Community Theatre.

PHOTO (L-R): Eric Seale, Donovan Harper, Diane Albers, Chrissy Colavecchio, Taylor Kerr and Allison Finch make up the ensemble in RIPCORD, opening Friday, March 25 in the Jeffers Theatre at the Hickory Community Theatre. Photo by Lauren Albers.