When Cooper Wutzke auditioned for Columbia Basin College’s production of The Foreigner, he thought he might nab the supporting role of Ellard.
After all, his dad — Jim Wutzke, a professor at CBC — had played that part in a production years ago.
But instead, the younger Wutzke earned the lead role. He plays Charlie, a sweet proofreader who’s at the center of the action in Larry Shue’s beloved comedy.
And Wutzke is having a great time.
“It’s a fantastic show,” he said. “I wasn’t sure what I was walking into when I started it, but man, is it fantastic.”
CBC’s production runs Nov 16-19. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. in the school’s theater.
The show is rated PG.
The Foreigner debuted off Broadway in 1984, going on to be hugely popular and critically acclaimed.
It centers on a fishing lodge in rural Georgia, where shy Charlie heads for a vacation. Because of some personal drama, Charlie doesn’t feel up to talking much, so his friend introduces him as a man from an exotic land who speaks no English.
If people need something to laugh about, this play will provide it for them. If they need to smile, “The Foreigner
Ginny Quinley, director
Ginny Quinley is directing the play, and she said it’s the funniest she’s seen her long career.
“It’s not one-line jokes. These are in-depth characters. It’s plot-driven, which is far more clever and funny,” Quinley said. “If people need something to laugh about, this play will provide it for them. If they need to smile, The Foreigner will do it for them.”
Along with Wutzke, the cast includes Ben Howard, Victoria Coronado, David Rommereim, Dan Aimone, Anjuli Herr, Doc Chisholm, Peter Adams and Michael Jackson.
Andrew Pogue is assistant director, Verna Schwilke is handling costumes and Ronn Campbell is handling lighting and scenic design.
Wutzke, 19, of Kennewick, is a stage veteran, with multiple shows at CBC and through other theater groups under his belt.
The Foreigner has been a lot of fun, he said.
Charlie is an interesting character who goes through a significant transformation, from shy and meek to something else.
And the cast and crew are great to work with, Wutzke said.
With acting, you’re not pretending to be someone else, but instead you’re “unlocking a part of yourself that you didn’t know. It’s about letting emotions you had inside of you really shine,” Wutzke said. “You become a new person, with new friends, a new (theater) family. That’s what I love about it so much — the relationships.”
Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for seniors and students. They’re available at Adventures Underground in Richland, JD’s Time Center in Kennewick, the CBC Bookstore and at the door.
IF YOU GO
What: Columbia Basin College’s production of the comedy, The Foreigner.
When: 7:30 p.m. Nov 16-19.
Where: CBC Theatre on the school’s Pasco campus at 2600 N. 20th Ave.
Cost: $12 for adults and $10 for seniors and students. Tickets are available at Adventures Underground in Richland, JD’s Time Center in Kennewick, the CBC bookstore and at the door.