"Squad Room," Payson High School's first dramatic offering of the school year, is "a cross between ‘Barney Miller' and the Keystone Kops," according to John Siler, drama assistant.
"It's a farce comedy, lots of action, some very interesting characters, almost typecast in some ways -- the mobster, the slick lawyer, the wannabe actress, the rich dowager, the con man, the pickpocket," Siler said.
"We've even got a mad bomber, but the way they do the mad bomber you couldn't use the word terrorist."
Written by Tim Kelley and directed by PHS drama teacher Kathy Siler, "Squad Room" is set in New York City in 1975. The PHS Drama Department has high hopes for the production, including its possible selection as a main stage play for the state drama conference.
"There's pressure on the police to clean up Central Park because it's got pickpockets, it's got this and that, so they have to put three of these detectives in drag as undercover," Siler said. "If you can imagine these three guys in dresses with these hairy legs hanging out, you got some idea of where you go with that."
"Squad Room" --hich opens Thursday evening, Sept. 23, followed by a Friday afternoon matinee on Sept. 24 and a final performance Saturday evening, Sept. 25 -- has a little bit of everything and a lot of fun. "There's romance, there's lots of tension because of what the chief of police tries to do to the lieutenant who runs the squad room," Siler said.
Even the technical aspects of the production are elaborate.
"We constructed a portable set that can be quickly assembled and disassembled," Siler said. "It put a very interesting demand on our technical staff."
If you're looking for a moral or a theme in "Squad Room," you won't have to look far.
"It's ‘crime doesn't pay,'" Siler said. "That's about as close as you can get."
PHS junior Carina Peters plays a woman with a guilt complex.
"She admits to everything," Siler said, "everything from Jack and Jill falling down the hill to Alice in Wonderland."
Evening performances begin at 7:30 p.m. and the Friday matinee begins at 2 p.m. Tickets, which can be purchased at the PHS auditorium door, are $4 for adults, $3 for students and seniors, $2 for Renaissance card holders, and free for Thespians card holders.
Police woman: Josie Weigmann
Wannabe movie star: Amanda Thompson
Janitor: Danny Neff
Commander Rainwater: A.J. Hlavacek
Gangster: Tyler Johnson
Slick lawyer: Jonathan Gartner
Detective LaCava: Jared Winebrenner
Pickpocket: Travis Walton
Mad bomber: Myrena Still
Photographer: Heather Buchanan
Bag lady: Hillary Scott
Journalist: Travis Hutchinson
Maid: Jamie Rusovick
Butler: Ben Tackett
Socialite: Shannon Horton
Students: Amber Keller, Amy Martindale, Jessica Kasl
Teacher: Lanee James
Common thief: James Goble
Detective Adams: Calvin Legassie
Lunatic: Chris Ross