Northwestern Press

Monday, April 22, 2019
PRESS PHOTO BY LOU WHEELANDPonyboy, played by Jake Diem of North Whitehall Township, and fellow Greasers, Darry, portrayed by John McClure, of Red Hill; Ana Zetterberg of Lower Macungie and Sodapop, played by Ben McClure of Red Hill, rehearse a scene from “The Outsiders” to be performed 7 p.m. April 11-13 and 2 p.m. April 13. Copyright - Lou Wheeland      Photography PRESS PHOTO BY LOU WHEELANDPonyboy, played by Jake Diem of North Whitehall Township, and fellow Greasers, Darry, portrayed by John McClure, of Red Hill; Ana Zetterberg of Lower Macungie and Sodapop, played by Ben McClure of Red Hill, rehearse a scene from “The Outsiders” to be performed 7 p.m. April 11-13 and 2 p.m. April 13. Copyright - Lou Wheeland Photography
PRESS PHOTOS BY LOU WHEELANDPonyboy, played by Jake Diem, and the cast rehearse a scene from the play “The Outsiders” at Living Hope Presbyterian Church, Lower Macungie Township. Copyright - Lou Wheeland      Photography PRESS PHOTOS BY LOU WHEELANDPonyboy, played by Jake Diem, and the cast rehearse a scene from the play “The Outsiders” at Living Hope Presbyterian Church, Lower Macungie Township. Copyright - Lou Wheeland Photography
Johnny, played by Alejandro Rodriguez of Allentown, and Ponyboy, played by Jake Diem, of North Whitehall, talk in a park, but are later attacked by Bob, played by Aiden McKee, of Washington Township, and Randy, portrayed by Gerard Behe of Lower Saucon. Bob was killed by a switchblade wielded by Johnny during a fight between the Socs and Greasers. Copyright - Lou Wheeland      Photography Johnny, played by Alejandro Rodriguez of Allentown, and Ponyboy, played by Jake Diem, of North Whitehall, talk in a park, but are later attacked by Bob, played by Aiden McKee, of Washington Township, and Randy, portrayed by Gerard Behe of Lower Saucon. Bob was killed by a switchblade wielded by Johnny during a fight between the Socs and Greasers. Copyright - Lou Wheeland Photography
Ponyboy, played by Jake Diem, of North Whitehall Township, Johnny, portrayed by Alejandro Rodriguez of Allentown, and Dallas, played by Reed Wiren, of Perkasie, look on in dismay at Bob, played by Aiden McKee, of Washington Township, following his death at the hands of Johnny. The stabbing occurred after Bob, and Randy, portrayed by Gerard Behe, of Lower Saucon, tried to drown Ponyboy in the Copyright - Lou Wheeland      Photography Ponyboy, played by Jake Diem, of North Whitehall Township, Johnny, portrayed by Alejandro Rodriguez of Allentown, and Dallas, played by Reed Wiren, of Perkasie, look on in dismay at Bob, played by Aiden McKee, of Washington Township, following his death at the hands of Johnny. The stabbing occurred after Bob, and Randy, portrayed by Gerard Behe, of Lower Saucon, tried to drown Ponyboy in the Copyright - Lou Wheeland Photography
PRESS PHOTOS BY SUSAN BRYANTThe cast rehearses the church fire scene from “The Outsiders” April 6 at Living Hope Presbyterian Church, Lower Macungie Township. Copyright - Lou Wheeland      Photography PRESS PHOTOS BY SUSAN BRYANTThe cast rehearses the church fire scene from “The Outsiders” April 6 at Living Hope Presbyterian Church, Lower Macungie Township. Copyright - Lou Wheeland Photography
Josh Wilbers of Quakertown, as the doctor, Wiren Reed of Perkasie, as Dallas, and Jake Diem of North Whitehall, as Ponyboy, practice a scene from “The Outsiders” o be performed 7 p.m. April 11-13 and 2 p.m. April 13. Copyright - Lou Wheeland      Photography Josh Wilbers of Quakertown, as the doctor, Wiren Reed of Perkasie, as Dallas, and Jake Diem of North Whitehall, as Ponyboy, practice a scene from “The Outsiders” o be performed 7 p.m. April 11-13 and 2 p.m. April 13. Copyright - Lou Wheeland Photography

Players of the Stage to perform ‘The Outsiders’

Wednesday, April 10, 2019 by Susan Bryant sbryant@tnonline.com in Local News

Players of the Stage, a Christian home-schooled theater group, will present “The Outsiders” April 11-13 to benefit Hope Kids of Allentown.

The play is based on S.E. Hinton’s novel of the same name, and adapted by Christopher Sergel.

The play tells the 1960s story of the conflict between two rival gangs, the working class “Greasers” and the upper class “Socs” as told by Ponyboy Curtis, a young Greaser.

North Whitehall resident Jake Diem, who plays Ponyboy Curtis spoke with The Press about his character.

“Ponyboy is the youngest member of this tough gang of the lower class,” he said.

“Although he is younger, he has an easier time in his dealings with most of the gang than does the older Johnny, played by Alejandro Rodriguez.”

“This is because he has his older siblings to help him, although he doesn’t think his oldest brother, Darry, played by John McClure, cares about him at all.

“He’s different from everyone else because he’s very studious and an avid reader and he draws comparisons from Pip from ‘Great Expectations’ to describe his gang’s relationship with the upper-class gang, the Socs, who always look down on them.”

Diem likes the emotional complexity of Ponyboy and how different he is from just about everyone else in the Greasers.

Allentown resident Alejandro Rodriguez said his character, Johnny, is the “pet” of the Greasers.

“After taking a severe beating from the Socs, he is left to deal with an incredible amount of anxiety and depression,” Rodriguez said.

“Johnny is used to being beaten and knows how to take a punch, coming from an abusive home with a drunken father and neglectful mother, which is what scares the group the most about his fragile state.

“He is forced to kill the leader of the Socs, who is responsible for Johnny’s suicidal state.”

Rodriguez said the depth of his character is incredible and he has to really dig into the vast emotional pool that is Johnny’s feelings. It is both challenging and extremely rewarding as an actor.

Reed Wiren, of Perkasie, said his character, Dallas, goes to jail a lot and he doesn’t have much respect for anyone.

“He’s definitely not a person any normal human would want to be,” Wiren explained.

“I would not say there’s much I enjoy about playing this character, besides the fact I get a cool costume.

“I’d say my favorite part is just getting to kind of be the top dog of the gang.”

Bianca Giannantonio, of Kutztown, said her character, Cherry, a popular, no-nonsense cheerleader is one of the Socs.

“Her life is shattered when she meets a couple of Greasers and she has to rediscover life and the people around her as she knows it,” Giannantonio said.

Giannantonio enjoys portraying Cherry’s strong and confident character.

“The Outsiders” is directed by Miriam Barshinger.

Barshinger said she chose this play as she has several teenage, male actors who have been with Players of the Stage for a long time, so she wanted to select a piece that would cater to their talents and give them something challenging.

“‘The Outsiders’ is a play that explores the barriers created between people, socially, economically and relation-wise,” she said. “It is told through the eyes of Ponyboy, a 14-year-old boy who is filled with discontent over the way things are.

“The play shows that even while we create differences between us, we are all more similar than we think and it is about the importance of relationships and community.”

Hope Kids of Allentown was chosen for the fundraiser as it supports inner city Allentown youngsters with after-school programs including the arts and faith-based programs.

“The Outsiders” will be performed 7 p.m. April 11-13, and 2 p.m. April 13, at Living Hope Presbyterian Church, 330 Schantz Road, Lower Macungie.

Tickets for all performances are free, but reservations are required.

In lieu of an admission fee, a freewill offering will be taken to benefit Hope Kids of Allentown.

For tickets, call 610-310-7604 or email potstickets@gmail.com.

For more information about Players of the Stage, visit playersofthestage.com.