Hang on to an offbeat and unexpected musical ride as you board the Department of theaterit’s production of Ride the Cyclone (book by Jacob Richmond, music and lyrics by Brooke Maxwell & Jacob Richmond) opening at 7:30 p.m., Friday, April 8, at the Global Campus Theater. The musical runs until April 17, and all performances are free and open to the public, but tickets are required and can be booked online.
As the title of the musical suggests, the story is full of surprising twists and turns as the lives of six teenagers in a Canadian chamber choir are cut short by a freak accident aboard a roller coaster. A mechanical fortune teller won’t let their fate end there and offers everyone a hint of redemption and the chance to tell the story of an interrupted life. Both strange and intelligent, edgy and beautiful, Ride the Cyclone ultimately reveals the resilience of the human spirit despite a senseless tragedy.
Ride the Cyclone is led by Professor Morgan Hicks, under the musical direction of Professor Jason Burrow, the same creative team that electrified college audiences with Heathers: The Musical, before its run was halted in mid-March 2020 due to COVID. “So, yes, we understand and perhaps identify too much with the theme of a suddenly interrupted life,” says Hicks, who thinks students and audiences will connect deeply to the heart of the musical, because we all have had so many things upside down in the past two years.
While the book has some surprising twists, the score matches it with plenty of breathless turns, as it ranges from hip-hop and glam rock to torch and art songs. A Free time in Chicago reviewer of the 2015 world premiere writes: “As irreverent as it is accomplished, Ride the Cyclone does the job of any good amusement park attraction: it makes you think about your mortality, but leaves you grinning from ear to ear.”
Ride the Cyclone will close the Department of Theater’s 2021-2022 subscription season. For an overview of our Subscription season 2022-23 please visit the Department of Theater website. General auditions for the fall 2022 productions will take place on April 10 and 11; all students – majors and non-majors – are welcome to audition, and Spanish-speaking and BIPOC students are encouraged. Click here for more information on auditions and how to register.
The production will take place at the Global Campus Black Box Theater (2 E. Center St., Fayetteville) in the historic square of Fayetteville. Ticket reservations can be made online at uark.universitytickets.com.