Permian High School to present dinner theater

Productions of “Por Que” and “Over the River and Through the Woods” will be staged by the Permian High School Theater program at  7 p.m. Friday (May 17).  

Doors for the dinner theater open at 6 p.m. Dinner and the show start at 7 p.m. at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Celebration Hall, 7601 N. Grandview Ave. The cost is $30 per person and dinner is spaghetti and lasagna, salad, toast, a drink and dessert.

Tickets are on sale at the Permian High School Student Theater through Thursday. Cash or check only will be taken.

Head Theater Teacher Elizabeth Cleveland said this is the second year the dinner theater has been held.

All together with actors, stage management and props, Cleveland said 20 to 25 students are involved.

“Por Que” was written and will be directed by PHS senior Alexandra Aldas. Cleveland said it is done in the style of a telenovela.

“It’s paying homage to that, teasing with it a little bit. That’s about a 15-minute play. Then we’re doing ‘Over the River and Through the Woods,’ which is a delightful story about family and how much do you let them control your life; how much do you have to let go as you’re growing up; and just how complicated those relationships can be with people that you love,” Cleveland said.

She added that she’s very proud of Aldas.

“… It’s funny it’s clever she cast it well. It’s fun to see your students take what you taught them and apply (it) real world,” Cleveland said.

The dinner theater format was chosen as a fundraiser that is unique to PHS theater.

“We figured, hey, we do theater; we do good theater. We might as well. That’s the product we have to offer and there used to be a dinner theater in town, so the tradition of dinner theater is strong in Odessa, but nobody’s been doing it for a while so we thought start trying to bring it back,” Cleveland said.

The funds will be used for tickets for about 20 theater students to see some professional theater in Dallas and San Antonio.

There are about 200 students overall in the PHS theater program. Cleveland said a second teacher, Callie Stenson, will be coming on board next fall.

Cleveland has been at PHS for 15 years.

Christopher Reddick, an 18-year-old senior, plays Nunzio in “Over the River and Through the Woods.” The character is 74.

Throughout his high school years, Reddick said he has often played old men for parties and Halloween.

“I really took to the character. I really enjoy the play; the whole cast; the whole environment,” Reddick said.

He said the dinner theater format is a way to encourage people to come together, sit down and just enjoy the night.

Reddick said he plans to attend Abilene Christian University and major in theology. He wants to be a youth pastor.

Asked if he was looking forward to the dinner theater, he said yes but it means it’s getting closer to the end of his senior year.

Fellow senior Anais Miguel, 17, said she plays Emma, a 75-year-old woman in “Over the River and Through the Woods.”

“I think it’s an interesting challenge,” Miguel said.

She added that she’s 4-foot, 11 so she always gets mistaken for someone younger.

“Playing older, I have to move differently. She also has an accent,” Miguel said.

This is her sixth production at PHS and she has been vice president of the Kaleidoscope Company at the Permian Playhouse.

She plans to attend Odessa College.

Miguel said she she’s looking forward to the dinner theater.

“We’ve been working for this for months now. It’s really fun seeing it all come together. I think it’s a nice way to say goodbye to high school. I’ve been a member of the theater for four years now. It’s good script; probably one of my favorites I’ve worked with,” she added.