When Cheryl Glassman couldn’t find a script she liked for Hays Community Theatre’s annual February show, she decided to take matters into her own hands — and write her own.
“My Deadly Valentine” will debut Friday in Hays with a dinner show and performances on Saturday and Sunday.
The dinner show has sold out, but the $10 tickets are still available for the Saturday and Sunday performances at www.hctks.com. Performances are 6:30 p.m. Friday, 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.
Glassman said she had always wanted to write a play. Her daughter, who lives in New York City and recently collaborated on writing a musical, encouraged her to do so.
“I really loved English and writing in high school and college. So I took a stab at it,” Glassman said.
The project took her about six months, she said.
“Characters and story line came to me at different times and many of the characters are a grouping of individuals that I have known in my lifetime. It was an enjoyable experience to write the script,” she said.
Still, she was nervous when presenting it to the cast at HCT.
“I didn’t think I’d be nervous, but man, I tell you what, I was so nervous,” she said with a laugh.
But the cast laughed in the right places, and Glassman said they put their effort into the production.
“I know they’ve always put 100% into it, but I really fell like they put more into it knowing that it was something I wrote and they wanted to help me feel comfortable with it,” she said.
Glassman directs the show as well but has given her cast some license with the characters.
“They’ve been ad-libbing a little bit,” she said. “Not to the point where they’re doing it every night, but they’ve added some lines and they’ll look at me like, ‘Is that OK?’ ”
Glassman even did a little bit of rewriting early on in the production process and added a small role with two lines for herself at the end.
The play tells the story of Christopher Valentine, who owns a coffee shop in upstate New York. When he learns his uncle has been murdered, he goes to New York City to handle his uncle’s affairs and discovers he has inherited a theater company.
Christopher is to meet with several eclectic individuals at the request of his late uncle, and the group becomes trapped in the theater. Two more people are killed, and the rest of the cast must find out who the killer is.
The production has allowed Glassman — a founding member of HCT — to come full circle in a way, as two of the cast members in “My Deadly Valentine” started out as young children in their first HCT productions.
Cody Kreutzer plays the lead role of Christopher Valentine, and Annie Wasinger plays a waitress.
Kreutzer has been in productions with Fort Hays State University as well as HCT and directed HCT’s “The Little Mermaid” last summer. He was 5 or 6 years old when he was in his first production, Glassman said.
Wasinger, a junior at Thomas More Prep-Marian High School, in addition to her involvement with HCT, spearheaded the weeklong Center State Theater Camp last summer for people with disabilities. She started with HCT at age 3.
“I think they see what theater can do for people and how it can help you grow as a person,” Glassman said. “And they’re giving back through this.”
She’s also working with some other longtime HCT actors and crew, and a few new faces, all of whom are volunteers.
“It’s just amazing that these people come and want to be part of these shows, but it’s a good feeling,” Glassman said. “And when you can hear the people laugh and respond to what’s going on on stage, that’s what it’s all about.”
HCT debuted the show last weekend in Great Bend, where it received a great response, Glassman said.