THE FOREIGNER, a Mussleman High School Senior Directing Project, Will Open This Weekend


The Foreigner, an American comedy by Larry Shue, will be performed at the Apollo Civic Theater this weekend, today, May 17-19, as a senior directing project by a Mussleman High School senior, marking the first time the Mussleman High School Theater Department produces a show off-site.

The Foreigner, the popular comedy originally performed on Broadway in 1984 and later revived at the Roundabout Theatre Company starring Matthew Broderick, tells the story of a shy young man, Charlie Baker, visiting a rural fishing lodge in Georgia. Charlie accompanies his friend, Froggy LeSuer, to the lodge for the weekend. Knowing how incredibly shy Charlie is and how difficult it is for Charlie to converse with strangers, Froggy tells the lodge company that Charlie is a visitor from a foreign country and does not speak English. And so, the fun begins as all of the lodge guests, including the red neck villain Owen Musser, pretty heiress Catherine Simms and her half-wit brother Ellard, begin revealing their deepest secrets and dangerous plans in front of Charlie, mistakenly assuming he cannot understand anything they say.

"Through a series of misunderstandings, everybody thinks I can't speak English. It lets me be privy to everything that is going on in the house and I learn a lot of things that I should not have learned in the first place" said Rick Harner, who plays Charlie Baker.

Not a show featured in the Apollo Civic Theater's main stage season, The Foreigner is actually a high school final directing project by Mussleman High School senior Giulianna Marchese. She is directing the show as a requirement of an independent study project off-site of Mussleman High School. Marchese has performed in shows at Mussleman High School and the Apollo Civic Theater. She has also worked as a stage manager, sound operator and publicity manager. She previously directed Gorgeous Raptors, a competition piece at Mussleman High School, which received a Regional Outstanding Performance Award. This is the first time the Mussleman High School Theater Department has produced a show off-campus at the Apollo Civic Theater.

"It [the production] is unique in that it is being directed by a high school senior. Giulianna has taken on the task of leading a diverse group with different levels of experience. I joined the show already in the rehearsal process, so I've had some catching up to do. I trusted Giulianna knew what she was doing when she put me in this role" said Anthony Marchese, who plays Owen Musser.

The demands of some of the iconic comedic roles in The Foreigner were an enjoyable challenge for the cast in this production.

"Playing this character [Owen Musser] has certainly been a challenge because his views are entirely contrary to my own. I've had to explore Owen's background and his world to learn why he is the way he is. Costumes and props are also a great help. When I put on Owen's outfit, the cast starts treating me differently. They swear I'm actually intimidating" added Marchese.

The Foreigner features Rick Harner as Charlie Baker, Raoul Anderson as Froggy LeSueur, Kathy Bost as Betty Meeks, Brenden Dozier as David Marshall Lee, Helena Lizon as Catherine Simms, Brett Bullard as Ellerd Simms, Anthony Marchese as Owen Musser, and Mary Pennington, Maddy Maestry and Adam Wilson as Townspeople. The Foreigner will run tonight, May 17 and 18 at 8:00 PM and May 19 at 2:30 PM at the Apollo Civic Theater, located at 128 East Martin Street, Martinsburg, West Virginia. Tickets are $15 for adults and $7 for students. Tickets may be reserved in advance by calling the box office at 304- 263-6766 or visiting the Apollo Civic Theater website at

"This is a great production, put together by a great cast and crew. Old and new theatre people came together for this show. It is really coming along and the cast is working so well together. I can't wait for opening night" said Marchese.

Photo Credit: Giulianna Marchese

West Virginia THEATER

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Johnna Leary Johnna Leary recently graduated with a B.A. in Musical Theater from Shepherd University. She previously worked as the Arts and Styles Section Editor of the Shepherd University newspaper, The Picket and interned at the Contemporary American Theater Festival. She also writes as a local correspondent for DC Metro Theater Arts. Johnna frequently performs in educational and local theater productions. Her favorite roles include Johanna (u/s) and Young Lucy in Sweeney Todd at Shepherd, Briar Rose/Sleeping Beauty in Enchanted Sleeping Beauty at Pumpkin Theatre, Cosette in Les Miserables at Way Off Broadway, Olive Ostrovsky in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and Maggie in Lend Me A Tenor at the Washington County Playhouse. She can also be seen on several documentaries and mini series on Investigation Discovery Channel, the History Channel, and National Geographic.


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