|Maggie (Jessica Fredrickson) and Harry (Tyler Michaels)|
The remaining six cast members play multiple roles of students, teachers, and gods, with minor costume changes (hoody = student, no hoody = teacher). Norah Long has a lot of fun with her three distinct characters - the shallow popular girl, the stereotypical gym teacher (slash goddess Diana), and our heroine's sympathetic mother - and manages to bring depth and interest to all of them. Mark Rosenwinkel comes alive when his coach character is revealed to be the god Mars ("Thank God I'm a God Again"). Austene Van is truly divine as the beautiful teacher all the boys have a crush on, who is actually Venus, the goddess of love. Matt Rein is the outrageous bully as well as the nice guy teacher who wants to live a normal mortal life. Randy Schmeling is the poor picked on kid who finally gets revenge on his nemesis (ironically named Randy) as well as the nerdy A/V teacher who is actually (spoiler alert) Zeus! Finally, Aleks Knezevich truly hams it up as the stupid jock, the creepy janitor with changing accents, and especially as the evil Hades, god of the underworld. I've only seen Aleks in more serious singing roles so it was fun to see him let loose with something a little lighter. In addition to being great individually, the ensemble works and plays wonderfully together. There are some fun group numbers, including "The Most Beautiful Parking Lot." I know, it sounds strange, but it's so fun and infectious you can't help but smile.
I'm a little bummed that I only caught the tail end of Illusion Theater's Fresh Ink series. I'll pay more attention next year; I love seeing and supporting new original works of theater. I imagine in a program like this, the cast is there to showcase the work. But in this case, the cast was the star of the show. And the show was a great vehicle to showcase some incredible talent.