What a way to start your career in plays.
It’s like getting to play quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys in the first football game you’ve ever played.
Such is the situation for Cristian LaBar, who landed the lead role of Susan in the Community Theatre of Howell’s production of “Wait Until Dark.” It’s one of the most iconic thrillers ever, and Susan is the victim at the center of the action. It’s a spectacular role for any actress.
“This is my first play, and consequently, my first lead role in a play…ever!” LaBar said.
LaBar, who lives in Howell with her husband, Josh, is a Pediatric Occupational Therapist at the Livingston Educational Service Agency (LESA).
While this is her first role in a play, it’s not her first time on stage.
“I started with CTH almost two years ago, when I randomly walked in to try out for a WCTH Radio Hour show,” she said. “Ever since, I’ve been involved in CTH’s comedy improv troupe, just recently finishing their eighth show. Last summer, I was the assistant high school instructor for the summer camp put on by CTH.”
The plot of “Wait Until Dark” is a familiar one for generations of playgoers.
In 1944 Greenwich Village, Susan Hendrix (played by LaBar), a blind yet capable woman, is imperiled by a ruthless killer in her own apartment. As the climax builds, Susan discovers that her blindness just might be the key to her escape, but she and her tormentors must wait until dark to play out this classic thriller’s chilling conclusion.
To enhance the thriller, CTH is staging the show in an unusual manner. All seating will be on chairs and risers directly on the stage, so that the audience can feel as though it’s right in the middle of the action.
The show is directed by George Popovich and produced by Kim Carnahan.
“I auditioned for ‘Wait Until Dark’ because I love thrillers,” LaBar said. “It’s so exciting that CTH is putting on this type of show on and I’m ecstatic to be along for the ride.
“I’m enjoying playing the role of Susan because it’s so hard. It’’ been a unique experience playing Susan, because when you don’t have your vision to rely on, your other senses really do heighten. Maneuvering a set and having conversations becomes much more complex because you’re now relying on your hearing and touch so much more.”
LaBar said the unique seating arrangement for the show adds a special element to the production.
“The seating is on the stage, allowing the audience to feel the emotions in the air as the plot thickens,” she said. “This show does a phenomenal job of bringing the audience along for the ride and giving them a more intimate experience with a show.”
The Community Theatre of Howell is presenting “Wait Until Dark” at the Howell High School Freshman Campus, 1400 W. Grand River Ave., Howell. Shows are Jan. 31, Feb. 1-2 and 7-9, with showtimes at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday each weekend.
Tickets are $14 for adults, $12 for students and seniors, available at Finding Roots in Howell, Maria’s School of Dance in Fowlerville, Big Acre in Brighton, and Ed Bock Feed and Stuff in Pinckney. Tickets are also available by calling 517-545-1290, or online at cththeatre.org. You can buy tickets by clicking here.