Preview: <em>Ride The Cyclone</em> At Seattle’s ACT Theatre

Comedy meets tragedy in Ride the Cyclone is a macabre life-and-death musical about six small-town teens from a high school choir hurtled to their deaths when a faulty rollercoaster derails. Co-produced by The 5th Avenue Theatre and ACT Theatre, the West Coast premiere of Ride the Cyclone runs through May 20th at ACT Theatre. Don’t miss this wild ride! Get ticket into more info and tickets here! They even list which performances have the best availability.

With music, lyrics & book by Brooke Maxwell and Jacob Richmond, Ride the Cyclone was first developed at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, based on a cabaret from Canada.

8:17 PM: The Saint Cassian High School Cham­ber Choir boards the Cyclone roller coaster. 8:19PM: the front axle breaks, sending them to their tragic demise.

Trapped in this fantastical carnival-like purgatory in a dilapidated warehouse — part fancifully broken-down carnival, part limbo; the recently deceased teens discover a penny-arcade fortune-telling machine called The Amazing Karnak, a direct steal from Zoltan in Big. A master manipulator with empty lights for eyes, Karnak possesses an unwanted ability to prophesize when and how people will die. He invites the dead choir members to tell their stories of life inter­rupted, with the promise of a prize like no other. Karnak devises a competition in which, after a unanimous vote, one will be chosen to return to life. (Can you say reality TV?)

The unclaimed headless girl named Jane Doe, now a zombie doll, spins upside down in the air while singing coloratura. The boy with the degenerative neurological disease tosses away his crutches and transforms into a glam rocker from a faraway star run by cats. The gay Jewish boy dreams of being a decadent cross-dresser prostitute from French new-wave cinema, and the crotch-hugging hunk from Ukraine has hip-hop ambitions.

Tiffany Tatreau as Ocean and the cast of Ride the Cyclone (Photo Credit Liz Lauren) on equality3665

Tiffany Tatreau as Ocean and the cast of Ride the Cyclone (Photo Credit Liz Lauren)

Rachel Rockwell, a Chicago director and choreographer, stages the show with an intentional homemade quality, neat special effects, and lots of video — both absurd and poignant. Returning to their original roles are Lillian Castillo as Constance, Emily Rohm as Jane Doe, Tiffany Tatreau as Ocean, Kholby Wardell as Noel and Karl Sean Hamilton as Karnak. Joining them is Adam Standley as Misha and Connor Russell as Ricky. The production will showcase new developments to the script and score.

The bizarre musical may induce dreaded high-school memories — of peer pressures, insecurity, popularity contests and private hells. It shares some creative DNA with Carrie, the legendary Broadway flop based on the Stephen King novel.

Before landing in Seattle, the musical played Off-Broadway at the Lucille Lortel Theater. New York critics described the production as “goofy, in bad taste, and unconventional.”

If you enjoy the macabre, you may find Ride the Cyclone creepy, campy and amusing. If your knees go weak and your heartbeats turns tachycardia at the mere thought, let alone the sight, of a roller coaster, you might want to stay home and watch reruns of Glee.

The Cast of Ride The Cyclone

Lillian Castillo as Constance
Emily Rohm as Jane Doe
Tiffany Tatreau as Ocean
Kholby Wardell as Noel
Karl Sean Hamilton as Karnak
Adam Standley as Misha
Connor Russell as Ricky

Ride the Cyclone runs Tuesday-Sunday through May 20 at ACT – A Contemporary Theatre (700 Union Street), tickets start at $49, available for purchase at, by phone at 206-292-7676 or at the ACT Box Office.

If you want to check out what The 5th Avenue Theatre has to offer next season click here.

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Starla Smith

Starla Smith

Starla Smith is a career journalist, writing features for such publications as The New Yorker, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Daily News, The Des Moines Register, Vibe and a prize-winning Gannett Newspaper. She helped launch Theater Week Magazine and eventually became its publisher. As a regular contributor to Playbill, her interviews and photos were featured in Playbill and Playbill-on-line. Smith was featured in the New York Times "Style" section for her "Word Portraits," specialized tributes, speeches, and presentation profiles. And she covered theater and features for City Search, Digital City, and the Tena Duberry WOW! Radio show. She previously served as astrology guru for Out Magazine, and she hastens to assure her readers that "Starla" is indeed her real name.

1 Reply to “Preview: Ride The Cyclone At Seattle’s ACT Theatre”

  1. Eileen Walls says:

    The preview of “RIDE THE CYCLONE” was fantastic. We were a bit leery of the story line but were pleasantly surprised. The sets, the actors, the story line and music were absolutely wonderful We really enjoyed the show.

    Sincerely, Eileen and Keith Walls

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