Jessie Seward
Jessie Seward seems to relish his role as a flesh-eating trapper in "Cannibal, the Musical." The show opens tonight at the Katharine Cornell Theatre in Vineyard Haven. Photo by Ralph Stewart

Yummy, tastes like chicken

By Anna Marie D'Addarie - June 21, 2007

Sometimes, the world is black.
And tears run from your eyes.
And maybe we'll all get
really sick.
And maybe we'll all die.
Let's build a snowman!
We can make him our best friend.

When you write a comic musical about the only person in America to be convicted of cannibalism, these lyrics make perfect sense. But don't expect a history lesson from writer Tray Parker. His musical is a singing, dancing, people-eating, evening of fun. The kind of fun you would expect from Mr. Parker, the creator of "South Park."

Island Theatre Workshop (ITW) will open "Cannibal, the Musical" tonight at 8 pm at the Katharine Cornell Theatre in Vineyard Haven. The story follows the true tale of Alferd Packer, the sole survivor of a trip into the Colorado Territory in the 1800s.

Jon Ryan, home from his second year at Emerson College in Boston, is the director and he is having fun bringing this show to life. His cast of 15 have been working hard these last few weeks. Mr. Ryan had to step in and take over a role when someone was forced to drop out, so his job became a little harder.

He is getting lots of support for his first directing project from ITW and from a little closer to home. His father, Kevin Ryan, is in the show and the two are also building the set.

Director Ryan said that casting the play was the hardest part. He started the search early enough, but the actors' busy schedules and ITW's production of "Into The Woods" cut into his acting pool. In an interview last week, Mr. Ryan said he's thrilled with his cast and can't wait for opening night.

This show should appeal to a younger audience. Mr. Ryan hopes the 16- to 30-year-old crowd, "South Park" fans, will see this show. Another thing that separates this show for other recent ITW shows is the 10 pm curtain time for three of its eight shows. Sounds like the perfect time for a show that Mr. Ryan says includes, "a collection of severed limbs and quarts of fake blood."

This new director hopes that audiences will remember this production as "a fun show."

"Cannibal, the Musical," June 21, 22, 23, 24, and 28, at 8 pm and June 25, 29, and 30, at 10 pm, at Katharine Cornell Theatre, Spring Street, Vineyard Haven. Presented by Island Theatre Workshop. Tickets $15. Mature content; not suitable for those under 16. 508-627-3166.