US Theatre Department Fully Returns with The Rainmaker


Max Outcalt, Writer

With Broadway finally throwing its doors back open after months of closure, it seems fitting that University School theatre is likewise producing its annual fall play once again. With the world bent so low by COVID-19 and the Delta Variant, we are all in dire need of hope, strength, community, and a miracle or two.

This all makes The Rainmaker, written by N. Richard Nash, a perfect choice for University School’s return to live theatre, the first since the 2019 production of A Few Good Men.

The Rainmaker originally opened on Broadway in 1954 to critical acclaim. It tells the story of a family in the western United States trying to secure marriage prospects for their daughter while also living through a blistering drought. When a mysterious and charming conman proclaims that he can bring rain to the parched land these characters lives are changed forever.

Since its initial release, during which the show ran for 125 performances, the Rainmaker has been made into a Broadway musical, aptly titled 110 in the Shade. The 1956 movie rendition starred Katharine Hepburn, Burt Lancaster, and Earl Holliman and these actors would go on to win numerous awards. Hepburn was nominated for an Oscar, Lancaster and Hepburn were nominated for Golden Globes, and Holliman won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor. Additionally, a Broadway revival featuring Woody Harrelson and Jayne Atkinson was released from 1999-2000. Atkinson was subsequently nominated for Best Actress in a Play at the 2000s Tony Awards.

At University School, rehearsals for the play started on September 1, and the show has been steadily progressing since. Lasting from 6-8:30 every Monday through Thursday, the rehearsals have, for the most part, been a return to normality. The opportunity for an in-person, mask-less show has the entire cast buzzing. Indeed, much of the rehearsal process is quite similar to pre-COVID times, a welcome change from the filmed monologues of 2020.

Opening on October 22nd, this play features a seven-person cast including US Seniors Aiden Burkholder, Max Outcalt, and Alex Kondratov; Juniors Jack Armstrong, Clay Fallon, and Victor DeAnda; and HB Senior Audrianna Imka. The show is, at its core, one about hope and the effects it can have on members of a community.

Perhaps that is what everyone needs right now.