WBU to present The Nerd at Spencer Theatre in Ruidoso

May 20, 2014

 

RUIDOSO, N.M. -- Wayland Baptist University theatre director Dr. Marti Runnels has his group preparing for its ninth annual trip to Ruidoso and the Spencer Theater for the Sacramento Mountain Collaborative. This year, Runnels and crew will bring The Nerd to life on the Spencer stage.

The single performance is set for Friday, June 6 at 8 p.m. Tickets may be purchased through the Spencer Theater box office at www.spencertheater.com or by calling (888) 818-7872 or (575) 336-4800.

Each year, Wayland Baptist University hosts a group of actors and crew who spend a week of intensive preparation and rehearsal in Ruidoso, culminating in the one-night event. Runnels has selected a wide variety of plays throughout the years. Last season, the group performed Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie, a heavy drama. This year, he wanted to focus more on the lighter side of theatre with The Nerd, written by Larry Shue.

“I try to mix it up when we go in there,” Runnels said. “If we do a serious piece one year, the next year we try to do something funny.”

The NerdRunnels said The Nerd definitely fits the bill as the laughs just keep coming from playwright Shue. The story centers on architect Willum Cubbert who is hosting an evening with his friends when Rick Steadman, a man who saved his life in Vietnam but whom he has never met, shows up. The laughs begin to roll as Steadman, the “nerd,” begins influencing the lives of Cubbert, his friends and his boss.

Runnels directed the play for the Wayland stage in 2006 and said it is one of the funniest shows he has ever done. He explained that even though he had read the script numerous times, was directing the play and knew what the actors were doing, he couldn’t stop laughing as the jokes kept coming.

“(Larry Shue) just writes clever stuff. This is the kind of stuff that people will just get tickled and get carried away with,” Runnels said. “A lot of the humor comes from what the nerd gets people to do.”

A number of WBU theatre veterans will fill the cast, including Tim Fisher, who was in Runnels’ original cast in 2006. Fisher, who currently lives and works in Chicago as an actor and film director, will reprise his role at Willum Cubbert. Fisher’s younger brother Zachary Fisher, a current Wayland student, will play Warnock Waldgrave, Cubbert’s boss.

WBU alum Rachel Steed will play Cubbert’s friend Tansy McGinnis. Steed currently lives in Austin, where she works as an actress. Wayland students Josh Walters and Ashlee Taylor will take on the roles of Axel Hammond and Thor Waldgrave respectively. WBU alums Jon Lennon, who teaches acting in Midland, and Jennifer Riley, the theatre teacher at Plainview High School, are also in the cast. Riley plays Clelia Waldgrave and Lennon takes on the role of the nerd as Rick Steadman.