By Micah Campbell
In fear of another night of mediocre entertainment at the touch of a button, a point and click night of minor excitement and binge watching, an invitation from my friends, Joe and Marc, to a community play was a welcome turn of events on a Monday night. I am more used to going to the community theater to see a musical, so when I learned that the Draper Historic Theater was putting on a dramatic play, I was intrigued.
Richard Nash’s The Rainmaker, written in the early 1950s and first opened at the Cort Theater in New York in 1954, is the story of a cattle rancher and his family in the drought-ridden American West. During a hot summer day, Lizzie Curry (Holly Anderson ) returned after a failed trip to obtain a husband. Her father, H.C. (Jordan Hyde), and two brothers, Noah (Noah Curry ) and Jim (Jeremy Ellsworth), are worried about Lizzie and her future more than they are about the dying cattle. Lizzie is on the verge of accepting her fate as a spinster when a charming conman comes to the ranch selling rain or rather his ability to make it rain for only one hundred dollars. And Lizzie, though skeptical of the conman, comes to see herself in a different light.
Director Diedre Celeste Miranda, who has worked in Los Angeles in the Glendale Centre Theatre and the Hale Center Theatre in Gilbert, Arizona, brings to life the 50s Depression-era West with a delightful cast and a beautiful set, constructed by Marc Navez and Robert Murdock. With Diedre Celeste Miranda’s stage direction, the cast was able to bring this play to life.
The cast of the Curry family worked so well together to create a family dynamic that made a Family Home Evening night feel like an actual night at home with family. Ms. Anderson brings the spinsterish Lizzie to life with the help of Jordan Hyde, as Lizzie’s father, the energetic acting of Jeremy Ellsworth, as Jim “Jimmie” Curry, and Stephen Watkins, as the honest “tells it like it is” older brother Noah Curry. Anderson, Hyde, Ellsworth, and Watkins’ chemistry worked to set the scene of a struggling family who only want the best for their sister and daughter.
There is some romance between Lizzie, the Deputy Sherriff File (Dan Larsen), and then the charismatic conman Starbuck, as brought to life by Brennen Vaughn. The minimal chemistry between File and Lizzie is outshone by the attraction between Lizzie and Starbuck. However, spoiler alert, Lizzie does not end up with Starbuck, but that is okay because she believes in herself at the end. And in the end, the conman’s con actually comes with a crack of thunder and a flash of lightning. And coincidentally, it was raining outside when I left the theater.
The Rainmaker, opened on June 9th at the Draper Historic Theater on 12366 South 900 East in Draper. There are performances every Friday, Saturday, and Monday night at seven PM with the last showing on the night of June 24th. Purchase your tickets online at drapertheatre.org. Come early to get your concessions at the front and sit in comfortable movie theater seating while the beautiful cast, highlighted by performances from Andersen, Hyde, Vaughn, and Ellsworth and an introduction by the director, entertain you. This family-friendly performance is a good night out with the family or date night with your favorite person. Come and enjoy a beautiful telling of The Rainmaker. Believe me, it will be worth every minute.