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Teamwork Triumphs as Riverside Theatre Prepares for 'EVITA' and 'She Kills Monsters' This Weekend

Written in collaboration by Courtney Fields and Carrie Beth Wallace

She Kills Monsters and Evita will both run simultaneously this weekend at Columbus State University's Riverside Theatre Complex.

CSU reached out to the Springer Opera House about hosting Evita when massive flooding in the Springer's basement caused the theatre to lose the majority of their technical and electrical equipment needed to produce the show. While contractors could have provided temporary solutions to allow Evita to open at Springer in time, Springer's Artistic Director, Paul Pierce, knew a more permanent solution was a better option.

"We knew that our local contractors were willing to provide everything needed to get Evita on stage, but quickly realized those resources would be better used to provide more permanent solutions to the damage we sustained," said Pierce in a recent press conference. "We were still trying to decide what to do when we received the call from CSU offering to host Evita at Riverside for us. They simply made us an offer we couldn't refuse."

Riverside Theatre. Image courtesy of Columbus State University.

She Kills Monsters is a fantasy that tells the story of Agnes Evans as she leaves her childhood home in Ohio following the death of her teenage sister, Tilly.  Agnes’s comedic life is a coming-of-age story full of various obstacles that she has to overcome. This story is for anyone who has felt geeky, adventurous, heroic, or basically anyone who has ever been an adolescent.

The New York Times called She Kills Monsters “kind of dopey and kind of invigorating and kind of remarkable. It will slash and shapeshift its way into your heart.” Viewers are cautioned that the play, written by Quil Nguyen, contains mature themes and simulated violence typically associated with a PG-13 rating. In an email this week, Krystal Kennel, director of She Kills Monsters at CSU, confirmed that CSU has adhered to the suggested PG-13 rating for their production as well.

With She Kills Monsters and Evita running simultaneously this weekend, Kennel said it's a good idea for audience members to arrive early and allow extra time for parking.

"This upcoming weekend will be the real test to see how we do manage two shows at once," explained Kennel. "So far, the Riverside Theatre Complex has held up very well to our shared residencies."

Evita runs at Riverside Theatre through March 24.

The seemingly unlikely marriage between the Springer and CSU was, in fact, already existent in some respect. The two organizations' collaboration to open Georgia Repertory Theatre over the past few years meant that many of their employees and staff have already worked together - albeit a few blocks apart. Georgia Repertory's development also meant that Springer and CSU already had the same ticketing software in place, so all it took was re-assigning ticket holders new seats in Riverside Theatre.

Kennel said that many people are making both Evita and She Kills Monsters run smoothly this weekend at Riverside.

"Interim Department Chair, Timothy McGraw, will be overseeing the front of house positions, such as the box office and lobby to make sure the members of the audience make it to the correct performance," explained Kennel. "Recent alum and current box office assistant, David McCray will be working closely with Mr. McGraw in the Box office as well."

Kennel went on to add that members of the production team for Evita have worked in Riverside Theatre before. "We are fortunate to have more CSU alums who have gone on to land leadership roles at The Springer Opera House," said Kennel. "CSU graduate, Matthew Swindell, is the Director of Production and another graduate, Rebecca Gossett, is the Stage Manager for Evita. They are both familiar with our Mainstage space as they both worked here during their studies at CSU."

CSU and Springer's teams consist of many more people who are involved in making the transition possible. "Sam Renner (CSU Technical Director) made room in our scene shop and on stage for The Springer," explained Kennel. "Chris Head (Lighting Design Professor) helping The Springer get their lighting rig up and running in our space. Kim Garcia (CSU Costume Shop Supervisor) cleaned out a dressing room to allow Evita actors a place to get prepared for the show. Bethany Moody (CSU House Manager) will be working with Tim McGraw to direct audiences, Julianne Slaton (CSU alum and audio engineer for Evita), Constance Tolbert (CSU alum and production assistant for The Springer), David Jones (CSU alum and carpenter for The Springer), Katie Underwood (CSU alum and assistant producer for The Springer), the list really goes on and on."

As for which production to see? Kennel was cleverly unbiased. "Both productions promise to be fun," she said. "One has more singing and one has a dragon!"

While She Kills Monsters closes this weekend, Evita will run through March 24 at Riverside. Visitors to Riverside from the Springer audience should allow plenty of time to park and find their new seats. Multiple ushers and team members will be on site to assist those in need of help navigating the venue.

Still not sure where to go? Here's a map!

Even though Evita has moved to Riverside Theatre, tickets for the show can still be purchased in person at the Springer Opera House Box Office, which has been temporarily located inside the Springer Education Office at 1017 2nd Avenue. Tickets may also be reserved by phone at 706-327-3688 or online at ◼︎

If You Go:

What: She Kills Monsters

When: March 8 & 9 at 7:30 p.m each night. Where: Riverside Theatre, located at the corner of 10th and Bay Avenue. Cost: $17 for adults, $15 for seniors/military/ CSU alumni, and $12 for children. More to Know: *Keep in mind this show has a PG-13 rating.*

What: Evita

When: March 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23 at 7:30 p.m. and March 10, 17, 24 at 2:30 p.m.

Where: Riverside Theatre, located at the corner of 10th and Bay Avenue.

Cost: $22-$47



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