With their production of “Wait Until Dark,” Chicago Heights’ Drama Group is venturing into territory unfamiliar to the eight-plus-decades old ensemble.
“It’s a thriller, and it’s a genre that the Drama Group hasn’t really touched on in quite a while,” said its director, A.J. Renzi. “It’s a fun piece, and I thought it might be fun to bring it to the group.”
Opening Friday and running through Oct. 1 at Drama Group’s Milord Studio Theatre, “Wait” is the tale of Suzy Hendrix, a blind woman living in New York City who, unbeknownst to her, has just come into possession of a doll filled with narcotics. A trio of thugs – Harry Roat, Mike Talman and the crooked police Sgt. Carlino – set out to retrieve the doll from Hendrix.
Penned by British playwright Fredereick Knott, whose credits include the equally influential “Dial M for Murder,” “Dark” made its Broadway debut in 1966. Actress Lee Remick was nominated for a Best Actress Tony Award for her performance as Hendrix.
A year later, “Dark” made it to the big screen, with Audrey Hepburn’s portrayal of Hendrix resulting in an Oscar nomination for Best Actress.
“There’s not that many thrillers out there,” Renzi said. “It is a genre that has kind of gone by the wayside. They’re a lot of fun. I think (audiences) will come out saying ‘that was a hoot. That was something I haven’t seen in a while.’”
Jennifer Schreiner from Plainfield is Suzy Hendrix in Drama Group’s staging of “Dark.” She is joined onstage by Geoffrey Purvis from Homewood as her husband, Sam Hendrix, Brian Stanley from New Lenox as Talman, Jeff Peterson from Chicago Heights as Roat and Frankfort’s Nick Markionno as Carlino.
“I have a really good cast,” Renzi said. “Everybody’s working really, really hard with it, and I’m really pleased with the way that it’s moving.”
Next up for Drama Group is a production of the musical “Eating Raoul,” scheduled to open at Drama Group’s Milord Studio Theatre Nov. 10.