So in April, I had the honor of stage managing Art House Productions’ latest play, “Murder on Ice” for about a week. It was fun being involved in theater again but unfortunately, it didn’t work out with my busy schedule and I also had all sort of transportation issues so I had to drop out.
But of course, being part of and later seeing the play was a great experience and the cast and crew were super awesome. Here’s the advance article I wrote about the play which highlights actor Johnny Ginther who took on his first lead role as the mysterious Bobby Hatch.
Art House Productions presents chilling comedy ‘Murder on Ice’ in Jersey City
Actor Johnny Ginther may admittedly be a little “wet behind the ears,” but he can be more insightful than many his age.
Ginther, who will have his first lead role in Art House Productions’ upcoming original play “Murder on Ice,” has been working long hours with his castmates to perfect the comedy-drama-murder mystery.
They’ve practiced simulated ice skating with choreographer Morgan Hille-Refakis, learned stage combat from director Jack Halpin and dissected every word of the script by company founder Christine Goodman.
As Ginther reads a scene with costar Katherine Damigos, Halpin asks the Norristown, Pa., native, “What’s the difference between ‘thrilled’ and ‘happy’?”
Ginther thinks carefully. “‘Thrilled’ is acute,” he says. “‘Happy’ is chronic.”
The 25-year-old will play Bobby Hatch, whom Goodman described as “a mysterious man with a past, a love of dancing, a lust for life and a temper.”
The show, which is set in 1945, focuses on the Sunshine Sparklers Ice Show at Red River Ice Rink where Hatch comes to find a second chance at life. Things aren’t perfect, though.
A flyer for the play says it perfectly: “As the show gains popularity, tempers start to rise, someone gets ice and anyone could be the killer!”
Ginther, who has only been acting for four months, is just one of the many young thespians eagerly jumping into the project.
“He’s a sponge,” said Halpin. “He absorbs everything he can.”
“I am young, I am wet behind the ears,” admits Ginther. “That’s why I came here — to become ‘unwet’ behind the ears.”
“He is dedicated to his craft,” said actress Chantal Gagnon, who plays his love interest and star of the ice show, JoBell Martin. “He takes it a step further to make sure he nails it.”
“The simulated ice skating is a really unique idea,” said Ginther, who spent hours jumping, spinning and doing arabesques on the theater’s specially-made “rink.”
“The audience will have fun and be surprised by our theater-in-the-round staging and how we brought the audience into this world of the ice rink,” said Goodman.
Goodman also believes that theatergoers will be touched by the show’s theme of second chances and new beginnings.
“We see how Bobby Hatch is redefining himself on his own terms and becoming his own person in the world,” she said. “We can make our lives anything we want them to be. We have the power to create ourselves.”
The play ran from May 13 to May 21 at Art House Productions, 1 McWilliams Pl., Jersey City.