‘Local Girls’ at Muhlenberg Theatre & Dance, April 20-23

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Love Is Loud
News ImageTeenage metal band longs for love and triumph in ‘Local Girls,’ April 20-23 at Muhlenberg Theatre & Dance

Allentown, Pa. (March 29, 2023) — Anyone who has ever felt stuck in their circumstances, dreaming of escape, will find familiar themes in Emma Goidel’s “Local Girls,” says Beth Schachter, who will direct the play for Muhlenberg College’s Theatre & Dance Department, April 20-23.

“The show calls attention to the limits and constraints on people in their late teens, heading out into life,” says Schachter, a professor of theater at Muhlenberg. “It also exlores the importance of sticking with relationships where you love somebody, even if that person fails you or you fail them.”

A play with music about searching for big-time glory in a small town, Goidel’s 2016 “Local Girls” depicts very real characters in a lively and comic way, Schachter says. Diskit is a high school chemistry genius in need of friends; Riley is a high school burnout in need of a screamer for her metal band. A local contest could transform these two high school girls from losers to rock gods. But will it be enough to get them out of Tucker, Georgia?

“The show highlights the feeling of being passionate about something,” says musical director and composer Jeff Yorgey. “There’s a lot of metal out there that has a positive message — and not a lot of people realize that. Heavy metal is an outlet when there’s no way to get certain feelings out other than shouting them at the top of your lungs.”

All of the cast members have a musical background, but most of them wouldn’t have described themselves as metal-heads. So Yorgey has been working closely with them since January, helping them learn how to play and sing like rock stars and transform themselves into Thigh Trap, the band at the heart of Local Girls.

“We need to believe that these characters are lifelong metal musicians,” says Yorgey, “So it’s been my main challenge to get the actors up to speed on how these instruments are played in the frame of metal music.”

The cast says that actually playing their instruments has benefited their character development in more ways than one.

“Having live music honestly makes the process more comfortable,” says Christine Norton, who plays Riley. “To have my instrument with me when I’m on stage helps me make a deeper connection with my character — and it’s fun! I think that’s what the show is all about: finding a way to describe what the feeling of music brings to people and what exactly makes them feel that way.”

The show features a cast of just six actors, including an understudy and a guest performance by acting professor Jim Van Valen as Diskit’s dad. Tomomi Lewis-Noguchi, who plays Diskit, says that discovering the intimate relationships among the characters has been a crucial element of the rehearsal process.

“All of the characters have been friends, or are just becoming friends,” Lewis-Noguchi says. “So we’ve needed to develop these relationships in order to portray them realistically.” Schachter agrees.

“We can really benefitting from this intense imaginative piece,” she says. “Everyone is contributing in rehearsal and the actors are like adventurers — they keep making discoveries about how their characters care for each other.”

Schachter says she was drawn to “Local Girls” by its authentic depiction of teenage life — the struggle for love and belonging. The actors agree, and say they’ve been delving into their own fairly recent teenage experiences as they formulate their characters — angst, hard-hitting drama, close friendships, and confusion.

“Expect to be taken back to high school — in good and bad ways,” Lewis-Noguchi says. “The show calls attention to that feeling of not knowing anything about yourself, and then learning things about yourself from the people you love.”

Local Girls runs April 20-23: Thursday at 8 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Performances are in the Studio Theatre, in Muhlenberg’s Trexler Pavilion for Theatre & Dance, Muhlenberg College. The production includes adult language and themes. Tickets are $15 regular admission; $8 for youth tickets, and $8 for LVAIC students, faculty and staff. Tickets are available online at muhlenberg.edu/seeashow or by phone at 484-664-3333.

About the Muhlenberg College Theatre & Dance Department
Muhlenberg offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in theatre and dance. The Princeton Review ranked Muhlenberg’s theatre program in the top twelve in the nation for eight years in a row, and Fiske Guide to Colleges lists both the theatre and dance programs among the top small college programs in the United States. Muhlenberg is one of only eight colleges to be listed in Fiske for both theatre and dance.

About Muhlenberg College
Founded in 1848, Muhlenberg is a highly selective, private, four-year residential, liberal arts college offering baccalaureate and graduate programs. With an enrollment of approximately 2,200 students, Muhlenberg College is dedicated to shaping creative, compassionate, collaborative leaders through rigorous academic programs in the arts, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences; selected preprofessional programs, including accounting, business, education and public health; and progressive workforce-focused post-baccalaureate certificates and master’s degrees. Located in Allentown, Pennsylvania, approximately 90 miles west of New York City, Muhlenberg is a member of the Centennial Conference, competing in 22 varsity sports. Muhlenberg is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.


Information Provided By:
Scott Snyder
Marketing Manager
Muhlenberg College Department of Theatre & Dance