CenterStage Presents “Ride The Cyclone”


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By Tiffani Stitz

CenterStage, a student-run theater group at CUA, is set to open its spring musical of Ride The Cyclone, which will run from February 9-11 in the Callan Theater. 

“Ride The Cyclone” is a musical about six teenage chamber choir kids who get killed in a freak roller-coaster accident. After their death, they get stuck in the afterlife and are given a chance by a fortune teller to sing their way back to life.  However, there is another twist: only one of these six students will get chosen to survive. 

Despite how morbid this show may sound, it is quite the opposite. The high-energy songs and dance numbers, the comedic scenes, and the nature of the show will have you laughing from the start until the end. 

Anthony Desouza, the director of “Ride The Cyclone” and Artistic Director of Centerstage, shared what he believes is at the center of this dark comedy.

“The premise seems bleak — a group of teenagers dying in a tragic accident brought back in limbo and presented a second chance at life. But through its increasingly outlandish songs and explorations into each character, the heart of Ride The Cyclone reveals itself,” Desouza said.“It’s an appreciation of life and all the moments we take for granted. And the writers did a brilliant job at making sure we experience that in the most human way possible: through laughter.”

Each character in this musical has a unique life story with their struggles, hopes, and dreams. These are presented to the audience when the fortune teller gives them a chance to make their best case for why she should choose to revive them instead of the other candidates. These characters’ stories are crazier than the next, spanning from wanting to rule a planet of cats to sharing a fascination with auto-tuned gangster rap. 

The small yet powerful cast of this production has been working very hard in rehearsals over the last few weeks. The cast is eagerly awaiting to share this hilarious musical with an audience.

“It’s been such a great rehearsal process because everyone in the cast, and on the creative team, always brings their A-game to each rehearsal. I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to work with on such a fun show,” said Mary Kelly, a junior musical theatre major.

This production stars junior Mary Kelly as Jane Doe, senior Alex Lopez, as Ocean, sophomore Jackson Biggs as Mischa, sophomore Emily Scholl as Constance, freshman Luke Plunkett as Noel, freshman Chase as Ricky, senior Emma Hanks as The Amazing Karnak, and sophomore Keira Baueras as the swing. This star-studded cast is solely made up of musical theater majors.

Similarly,  the creative team is solely made up of musical theater majors. Senior Anthony Desouza, served as the director, senior Maya Nellum served as the choreographer, and senior Giovanna Marcheses served as the Music Director. This crew has brought their talents and minds together to bring this crazy story to life, creating many new perspectives for this show. 

“It’s my first time choreographing a full show, but it’s never felt like a solo project because I’ve gotten to work with such an incredible and supportive creative team,” Nellum said.

“This cast has taken every crazy thing I’ve thrown at them, and I’ve thrown a lot. They just ran with it with such dedication,” Nellum said.

This production will also have a band solely made up of CUA students, which will flesh out the sound of this show and make it a standout production. 

“Live music adds a new dimension to both the emotions of the characters and the world of the play.  I wanted to give the cast an opportunity to work with live musicians, and allow student musicians a chance to use their talents in a different space,” Marchese said. 

CenterStage has been around for over 40 years and has provided students of all majors an opportunity to get involved in a host of annual productions. 

“What’s great about Centerstage is that it allows anyone who wants to be involved in theater to join. While a lot of us, myself included, are immersed in it all day due to our major, it’s easy to forget that not everyone at the school is so lucky. Centerstage lets everyone at CUA not only watch theater but get involved in it firsthand,” said Olivia Buckley, a senior musical theater major and the Marketing Director of CenterStage. 

Tickets are available for the 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. showings on the CenterStage Instagram Bio (@centerstagecua) and the CenterStage website. Get ready to Ride The Cyclone from February 9-11! 

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