Start to stage ‘M*A*S*H’Written by Chase Will | | email@example.com
Toledo’s relation to the hit TV show “M*A*S*H” will come full circle when Start High School stages its production of the play May 8-9.
Toledo native Jamie Farr, who joined the show as Cpl. Max Klinger near the end of the first season, made several references to the Glass City during the TV show’s run, including wearing a Toledo Mud Hens jersey and talking about Tony Packo’s Hungarian hot dogs.
“He’s a fan favorite, but ironically he’s not in the play at all,” said director Nancy Ludden. The stage production portrays the show up until the end of the first season, just before Farr’s arrival, she said.
The play includes several other fan favorites, however, including Maj. Frank Burns, Maj. Margaret Houlihan and Capt. Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce.
This stage adaptation is about the M*A*S*H crew going to great lengths to send Ho-Jon, a young Korean boy, to college in the United States. Their methods include such hijinks as fixing a football game and running a fake raffle.
“It’s very much like an episode of the show, where there’s mundane day-to-day life and then something exciting happens,” Ludden said.
After the success of the school’s winter play, “White Christmas,” Ludden said she needed something equally strong with lots of parts available for students eager to flex their dramatic and comedic acting chops. She decided “M*A*S*H” was perfect because it’s a flexible adaptation with a wide range of parts.
In preparing for the production, students watched several episodes of the TV show. Ludden said she was a huge fan of “M*A*S*H” growing up, so she was able to assist her actors with character development by giving them information not included in the stage adaptation.
Ludden also said although her cast members were all born long after the show went off the air, the students found ways to connect with their characters despite the generation gap.
“Reading the script, talking to the directors and stuff gets a lot into it,” said Hayle Tant, 16, who plays Bridgette. “Usually as a show goes on for me, I personally try to become the character, so it’s a natural thing.”
Performances are set for 7:30 p.m. May 8-9, with a 2:30 p.m. matinee May 9. Tickets are $10.