Catawba College and Lee Street theatre present ‘Reefer Madness’

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 3, 2016

By Catawba student B’Jion Wright

As part of an ongoing collaboration, Lee Street Theatre and Catawba College’s Theatre Arts Department will present the musical “Reefer Madness” at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 10-12 and 17-19, at Lee Street Theatre, 329 N. Lee St.

“Reefer Madness” is based on the 1936 exploitation propaganda film of the same name. The original movie’s purpose was to scare youth away from the demon weed that will turn them into killers and insane sex machines. This musical maintains satirical and parody elements because it mimics the original film, but makes fun of the possible “dangers” of marijuana.

Jimmy Harper, an upstanding all-American boy in 1936 has his whole life ahead of him, including an education and a beautiful girlfriend, Mary Lane. His seems an idyllic life, until a cryptic man by the name of Jack offers to teach Jimmy how to dance to impress Mary.

Jack takes Jimmy back to his reefer den where he is coaxed into trying reefer for the first time. This leads him down a path of unfortunate and unexpected events, creating a fun ride with a dark turn.

BFA musical theatre major Randy Stull says, “I’ve been preparing by watching the movie, listening to soundtracks, and trying out different character choices for the cute, happy-go-lucky, all-American boy that Jimmy Harper is.” Stull, a sophomore from Frederick, Md., is appearing in his third show and his first musical at Catawba College.

Charlee-Beth Haddock, a sophomore BFA musical theatre major from the Shoals’ area of Florence, Ala., plays Mary. “This my first lead role and I am very excited to show my talents. At times, it can be a little scary, but as rehearsals go on I know everything will be great.”

This show is directed by Catawba theatre arts professors Beth Homan and Meredith Fox, who both collaborated with Lee Street Theatre in 2014 for the musical “Rent.”

“For me, the ‘Rent’ collaboration reinforced the importance of community and acceptance of diverse individuality both within the heart of that particular work and the nature of that project,” says Fox, who choreographed that production. “Each person is unique in the gifts, experiences, and perspectives that he/she brings into a community”.

Homan agrees. “In particular, I like working with the mix of students and community members and watching them teach and learn from each other. I love working with the Lee Street staff in that amazing space, and I really appreciate the mixed audiences that we get for collaborative productions.”

Tickets for “Reefer Madness” are $20 at the LSt box office, 329 N. Lee Street, at or at 704-310-5507.

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