The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus


The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus


The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus


CSU Stanislaus Theatre to Premiere “Ride the Cyclone” this Week


Kiara Taylor singing in tune during music rehearsals. (Signal Photo/Brian Miske)

Originally premiering in British Columbia, Canada in 2008, ”Ride The Cyclone” is a musical dark comedy written and composed by Jacob Richmond and Brooke Maxwell.

The show follows an ensemble of teenage ghosts and an automaton fortune teller, who blames himself for their untimely demise in the theme park where he was stationed.

As the fortune teller awaits his impending doom at the hands of a rat chewing through his cords, he offers the ghosts an opportunity. Each victim must tell a story about their short lives for a chance to escape death.  

Makena Early (Junior, Theatre), plays Jane Doe in , says not to let the plot synopsis turn you away from a genuinely funny show.

“When you hear the description of the show, it sounds a little, like, strange. Like it’s about these kids that are dead, and you kinda think ‘Oh, that’s really sad,’ but it’s actually a comedy,” Early said.

Earley goes on to say that these conflicting elements are what’s going to make the audience laugh.

Jake Leahy (senior, Creative Media), another actor in the production, spoke about what the audience can expect when they go to see the show.

“They should expect to laugh,” he said, “They should expect to probably tear up a little bit, you know, I mean it’s a roller coaster, figuratively and literally.”

Carin Heidelbach, the play’s director, found herself attracted to the morbid charm and human storytelling of “Ride The Cyclone”.

“I’m always looking for weird, funky musicals because I just love, like dark comedy and musicals that people haven’t been exposed to around here as much,” she said.

Heidelbach enjoyed “Ride the Cyclone” due to the story it tells about kids who are trying to enter life once more after the adults in their lives failed them. The individual stories that are being told cause a roller coater of emotion.

She continued by saying she feels ”Ride the Cyclone” embodies many emotions experienced by young people who have grown up during the pandemic.

She said that because the characters are around the same age as most of the students new to Stan State, that the experiences the characters go through is similar to that of which a large portion of CSU Stanislaus students have gone through.

“I think that, given the state of the world right now, post-pandemic, all of that. It just feels very prescient. It feels very, very current,” Heidelbach said.  

With a cast made up almost entirely of seventeen year olds, many young Stan State students will see themselves represented in these characters. 

Despite Jane Doe’s lack of backstory, Early relates to her personality and social failings.

“I’m an introvert,” Early said, “So it’s very hard for me to talk to new people and stuff. I feel like she’s very scared to talk to people and to make friends, and I feel like she knows she’s scary and that she is the way that she is.”

Heidelbach believes those in the Central Valley bring a unique lived experience to these characters that may at first seem foreign due to the Canadian setting.

“Yeah, it’s about kids from Saskatchewan, but you know that kids in Saskatchewan aren’t that much different than the kids in the Central Valley. They’re in the plains, it’s a farming [community]. The only thing different is that they dig uranium,” she said. 

“Ride The Cyclone” will be performed at the Stanislaus State Mainstage Theater on October 13th, 14th, 15th, 19th, 20th, and 21st.

Tickets can be purchased here.

The show will be at 7:30pm on the 13th, 14th, 19th, 20th, and 21st, and at 2:00pm on the 15th.

Maryland Theatre Guide gave Ride The Cyclone an age advisory of 13+ for mild sexual themes and discussions of violence. The show has a runtime of about 90 minutes without an intermission.

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CSU Stanislaus Theatre to Premiere “Ride the Cyclone” this Week