Earthquake

Sister Mary Downing (Michaela Moore) and Shirley (Catherine Skojec) jump to avoid a falling pillar during an earthquake. This is just one of the many disastrous situations included in the plot of Disaster! which opens Friday.

Although tornado season is over, a new series of natural disasters are taking Abilene by storm, no pun intended. “Disaster!,” a 70s movie-musical, opens Friday at Great Plains Theatre. The show runs until July 21.

Mitchell Aiello, a fan-favorite professional performer at GPT, describes “Disaster!” as “a high-energy, toe-tapping, catastrophic show that will have our audiences leaving crying of laughter while humming numerous 70s hit songs that are a sensible blast to the past.”

Each song in the musical should bring a nostalgic vibe to audience members who grew up in the era of disco, roller skates and leisure suits. The music includes hits by Diana Ross, The Jackson 5, Queen, Chicago, Barry Manilow and other famous artists.

Nick Wright provides a unique insight to the production, as he is both in the cast and part of the technical team.

“’Disaster’ is a lot of fun, that’s for sure,” Wright exclaimed. “It takes the elements of common disaster movies of the seventies, throws them into one mixing bowl: earthquake, tsunami, in a casino, exciting extravagant things like that. There’s a lot of story lines going on at the same time, mixing and mingling with each other, but it’s still easy to follow.”

Although the subject matter of the show is supposed to be tragic and serious, it plays as humorous.

Aiello exclaimed, “This show is filled with jokes and wacky scenarios that keep the audience guessing, ‘What could possibly happen next?’”

Wright’s role in the show exemplifies this idea of a tragic comedy.

“I personally die, like, three times in this show. That’s a fun thing. I have, like, four costumes, starting off as the chef. Then the chef dies. Then I come back.”

There is a variety of characters in this show from “a nerdy professor to a disco queen to a heartbroken reporter,” according to Aiello.

Equally as diverse are the show’s settings.

Wright elaborated: “It happens in a dressing room, the casino, the kitchen, a secret office. The show is so fast, breakneck-paced that we don’t have time for 45-second set changes, so the majority of the set is represented by four pillars and how they’re arranged lets the audience fill in the blanks. That’s the style we were going for, one that works with this show.”

To purchase tickets for the “Disaster!” experience, call (785) 263-4574 or visit greatplainstheatre.com. Despite the show’s name, this GPT production looks like it will be anything but a disaster.

Contact Tim Horan at editor@abilene-rc.com.

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