Just in time for spring training season, the baseball-inspired comedy “Bleacher Bums” opens on April 12 at Colorado Mountain College in Spring Valley. Populated with rabid fans who make the pilgrimage to the cheap seats at Wrigley Field for every home game, “Bleacher Bums” celebrates the hilarity and heartbreak of rooting for a doomed sports team. From placing outrageous bets to honoring deep-rooted superstitions, this play’s misfit group of die-hards will do anything to see their beloved Cubbies win. Gary Ketzenbarger, the play’s director and also director of the college’s theater program, chose the piece to involve a large number of students and to engage the audience in “the most raucous play to date” at CMC Theatre. “We’re even planning to have vendors walking the aisles, to create the atmosphere of a ball game,” Ketzenbarger said. ‘Bleacher Bums’ inspired, shaped by improvisation Conceived by Joe Mantegna, “Bleacher Bums” was written collaboratively by a group of improvisational actors at Chicago’s Organic Theatre Company. The nine-inning comedy first hit the stage in 1977 and was immediately heralded as a home run hit. CMC student actor Jarrod Majkut welcomed the challenge of performing in a play born from the chaos of improvisation. “A lot of the lines overlap,” he said. “So the timing is critical, and we all have to keep our energy up, even when the focus isn’t on us.” Shelby Lathrop, who plays Melody, agreed. “Because this play is so rapid-fire,” she said, “we have to be very precise.” Another challenge of the piece, according to actor (and adjunct theater instructor) Brad Moore, is that it calls on the student actors to play characters that may fall outside their comfort zones — both in behavior and in age. Lathrop said she finds her role especially demanding because the bombshell she portrays is radically against type for her. “I used to have black hair with a pink streak,” she said, “and now I’ve dyed my hair blond. I even had to get a spray tan.” Ensemble learned about ‘Cubs Culture’ to capture play’s spirit To help the student and community performers understand the essence of the quintessential Cubs fan, Ketzenbarger invited valley local and former principal of Glenwood Springs High School, Mike Wells, to talk to the group. Wells, a Chicago native and longtime Cubs fan, shared the futile joy of following a team that almost never wins. The cast
CMC Theatre presents nine innings of fun with ‘Bleacher Bums’
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