The River Ridge High School Theater Department is bringing the true story of a fight well fought, justice and reform to the stage with their performance of “Radium Girls” from April 18-22.

Starring students Hailey Carter, Lily Dammann, Paul Berent, Cole Whitney and Tristian Kirk, “Radium Girls” begins in 1926 when radium worked like magic and luminous watches were on trend. When the girls who painted those trendy watches began to fall mysteriously ill one by one, the question of workplace safety became a rising issue. Grace Fryer (played by senior Hailey Carter), a dial painter, fights for justice while also falling more and more ill from the element that was once believed to cure even the most vicious diseases.

Director Rob Fields said that when the students were asked whether they wanted to do an upbeat spring musical they quickly declined and chose to go with a “hard hitting” show.

“It’s one of those shows that we felt like we needed to get every line exactly right,” Fields said. “We don’t want to miss any detail or lose any of the impact.”

Putting in more than 100 hours of work between set building, lighting and sound cues, script analysis and making sure every detail was correct on stage, Fields believes this is their best drama yet.

“You will hopefully leave this show changed from it. The kids really wanted to do something impactful and I think we have done a great job telling the story,” Fields said. “I feel that everybody will identify with it. It’s the age old battle of the worker versus the employer.”

Although it’s clear that Fields is proud of the work he and the students put into the show, the kids are leaving this show changed as well.

Emily Boettjer, a sophomore, said, “It’s a very powerful show. It leaves a lasting impact from how intense and heartbreaking the story really is.”

Senior Meghan Salain was excited to be able to portray a feminist icon.

“Madame Curie is so awesome in real life and it is an honor to play her,” Salian said.

Don’t miss this opportunity to experience the past and appreciate the people who changed the U.S. for the better. The River Ridge Theatre Department performs “Radium Girls” at 7 p.m. April 18-22 in their theater, 400 Arnold Mill Road. Tickets are $10 each and kids ages 10 and under are free with the purchase of an adult ticket.

Born and raised in the Canton/ Woodstock area, a graduate of Reinhardt University and a lover of life.

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