Meet the “Wait Until Dark” cast: Rick Spangler relishes playing the villain in CTH’s new thriller

Rick Spangler

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For the past week, the Livingston Post has been profiling cast members of the Community Theatre of Howell’s production of “Wait Until Dark.”

Rick Spangler doesn’t mind playing the bad guy. And in “Wait Until Dark,” he’s playing one of the baddest bad guys in all of theater.

Without spoiling too much of the plot, suffice it to say that Spangler’s character, Harry Roat, is not a nice person.

“Playing a villain role is always an interesting challenge, and I enjoy it,” said Spangler, who also played Gaston in CTH’s “Beauty and the Beast” a few years ago. “There is a transformation process that happens over several months to become your character. The further you have to move from your offstage persona, the more fascinating it is to develop.”

The plot of “Wait Until Dark” is a familiar one for generations of playgoers.

In 1944 Greenwich Village, Susan Hendrix, 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.

Spangler is an engineer who lives in Pinckney with his wife, three kids and “the calmest dog ever.”

He’s been involved in community theater since 2001, and has performed with Clio, Fenton, Hartland and CTH.

“I’ve had opportunities that cover the gambit of offstage roles, as well as enjoyable onstage characters,” he said. “Playing the role of Gaston was a really fun experience. I also had a blast playing multiple roles in “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” (priest/lawyer/convict/husband).”

Rick Spangler

As he prepares to step into the villain’s role in this play, he’s excited for the audiences to see what they’re created.

“The audience can expect to feel anxiety and concern for Susan,” Spangler said. “She’s trapped in the middle of a situation she doesn’t deserve, and it’s not clear that there’s a way out. I like this show as a gripping thriller. It has various surprises and reveals for the audience, and acting it out feels just like it reads.”

As for his favorite part of the play”

“The tense scenes, of course,” he said. “There are some high-intensity moments that happen very close to the audience. George provided a lot of instruction on how to make it look very real. My counterpart in these scenes, Cristian (LaBar), has been fantastic to work with. She’s very focused, and we’ve been able to ratchet up the intensity with each rehearsal.”

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 You can buy tickets by clicking here.

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About Buddy Moorehouse 244 Articles
Longtime Livingston County journalist Buddy Moorehouse is director of communications at the Michigan Association of Public School Academies.

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