Boise Little Theater performs ‘Ride the Cyclone’, a show that explores the fragility of life through dark humor and phenomenal music

Courtesy of Boise Little Theater

Jacob Richmond and Brook Maxwell’s 2008 musical “Ride the Cyclone”, a musical centered around a group of teens who die on a rollercoaster and must compete for a second chance at life,  is making its debut at Boise Little Theater Jan. 12 through Feb. 3. A story filled with wacky plot points, dark humor and heartfelt ballads, the actors at Boise Little Theater have made this show their own. 

Nico Lanza, a junior geoscience student cast as Noel in the play, touched on why he believes audiences are so drawn to this show.

“I think it’s very inclusive and that it’s a bunch of very different people,” Lanza said. “They all get their moment to shine, to speak their truth and I think that appeals to any audience really.”

Sammi van Ormer, a junior visual arts student playing the character Ocean in “Ride the Cyclone”, discussed the unconventional nature of this show and the ways it differs from the norms and conventions of typical musicals.

“It’s not the classic tap dancing big numbers of the early 1900s, it is very eclectic,” van Ormer said. “There’s a lot happening in it, so it’s really something for everybody.”

Each character in this show approaches death in a unique way. Some of the characters are depressed and some characters are angry over what they feel is wasted potential. van Ormer shared that she found the humanity in her high-strung character, which aided her growth as an actress.

“I kind of had to tap into a really wide range of human emotions to be able to play my character in a likable way,” van Ormer said. “She’s a little unlikable at the beginning of the show, but she’s able to transform so much and I feel like I’ve kind of transformed with her a little bit. 

Brooklyn Blair, a junior education student playing Jane Doe in “Ride the Cyclone”, feels that the show has grown in popularity due to the accessibility of the material and the fast-paced plot. 

“I think it’s one of those shows where even if you don’t relate to it, it’s consistently entertaining,” Blair said. “You can’t look away for any moment because you’ll miss so much, and I just think everyone in it is so crazy talented.”

Although the source material for this show may sound incredibly dark, the show utilizes humor to provide an experience that presents these themes in an accessible way.

“The premise of the show is six teenagers dying on a roller coaster, how do you make that funny, right?” van Ormer said. “The show somehow manages to do that, it taps into that idea that death is something we all have to face and [asks] ‘What are you going to do with your time while you’re here?’”

Lanza echoed this sentiment, suggesting that darker moments in a show can further emphasize the joyful ones.

“The morbidity sort of helps to highlight the joyous moments,” Lorenza said. “It’s a very dark grief-stricken sort of play at times, but it’s also a very positive, hopeful play that even in these horrible circumstances you can find good moments.”

van Ormer shared why theater lovers in Boise won’t want to miss this incredible show. 

“I would say it’s one of the biggest shows that Boise Little Theater has put on,” van Ormer said. “Technology-wise it’s really engaging. The set is gorgeous and strange and bizarre, the music is quirky, the characters are insane and it is just a roller coaster of fun.”

One of the shining elements of this show is its unpredictability. You’ll think you know where things are headed at certain points throughout the show, yet you’re continuously astounded. The talent of this cast is unbelievable, there are so many stand-out moments from each of the actors, from fabulous costume changes to incredible physical feats while singing opera. 

Don’t miss Boise Little Theater’s production of “Ride the Cyclone” running Jan. 12 through Feb. 3 with tickets priced at $25. This cast of incredible performers is just dying (pun intended) to take you on the theatrical ride of a lifetime.

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