The show, created by Joseph Zettelmaier, follows a group of radio actors rehearsing when they hear the infamous “War of the Worlds” show that induced panic of an alien invasion. Performances take place Oct. 27, 28 and 29, as well as Nov. 3 and 4.
Martians are on their way to invade the James R. Hartman Theatre at Schoolcraft College…or are they?
That’s the question as the stage is set for the latest theatrical production, “It Came From Mars,” which will open this weekend. The show, created by Joseph Zettelmaier, is set during the 1930s. It follows a group of radio actors rehearsing when they hear the infamous “War of the Worlds” show that induced panic of an alien invasion.
Performances take place Oct. 27, 28 and 29, as well as Nov. 3 and 4. All performances will take place in the James R. Hartmann Theatre inside the Liberal Arts Building on the College’s Livonia campus.
The show, directed by Michael Alan Herman, has been years in the making: it was originally scheduled to run in the spring of 2020, but was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns. Herman said this fall was the right time to bring the show to the stage.
The performance follows a crew of actors who do not realize the 1938 radio performance by Orson Welles is a fictionalization, prompting them to fall into comedic disarray.
“They legitimately think the world is ending and dissolve into slapstick mayhem as they try to starve off the end of the world,” Herman said. “It’s one of Joe Zettelmaier’s very best plays and we are overjoyed to share this story with the Schoolcraft community.”
Actors have rehearsed for several weeks, preparing their lines and getting into character. Zachary Hantz plays Quentin, “a very self-centered but passionate director who wants nothing more than to get his radio show ready and on the air.”
A student studying theater technology, Hantz said he’s excited to present such a great show to the community.
“I’m extremely excited to perform this show for everyone. I’ve never been a part of and worked with a more supportive and committed cast and all of us have been working so hard to put on the best show to everyone who comes out,” he said. “What makes it special for me is that I feel like it’s been a real test of my skills as an actor and more than that the cast have all become wonderful and unforgettable friends of mine and I could not have asked to be welcomed to a better show.”
Ronya Mallard, a former Schoolcraft student who last attended the school in 2012, returns to the stage to portray Julia, Quentin’s ex-wife. “It Came From Mars” is her 19th performance overall and 10th on the stage at Schoolcraft. She said she always remembers what Hartman, who died in 2017, said when it came to performing.
“Every new show is always special. The cast, the crew, the director, the story, the stage. It’s always different. Dr. Hartman always quoted Stanislavskis method of giving every performance ‘The Illusion of the First Time.’ That’s always stuck with me,” she said. “For anyone who comes to see the show, it is their first time. Every moment, every beat, every scene. It’s always the first time for that audience and the thrill of preforming live has always elevated me as not only an actor but as a person as well.”
The show is recommended for middle school and up, for mild language and thematic elements. Performances will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 27, 28, Nov. 3 and 4, and 2 p.m. Oct. 29. It will take the stage inside the James R. Hartman Theatre, which is room 500 in the Liberal Arts building. Tickets are $20 for general admission and $15 for students with ID. Tickets can be purchased by calling 734-462-4596, online at schoolcraft.edu/theatre or at the door.