Exeter-Milligan Alum Jessica Ruhl will soon be sharing her talents at the Annual Spring Play at Doane College in Crete.
Under the direction of the Doane Theatre Department Head Rob Mc Kercher Ruhl will be playing Natalie, the daughter in the musical “Next to Normal.”
The story is about a family and specifically the mother daughter relationship where the mother struggles with bipolar disease. Ruhl was excited to land this lead her senior year, “There was a lot of competition to get this role. I have worked my way through the theatre starting my freshman year.”
Ruhl was active in theatre through high school before graduating in 2009. She participated in one-act, the all school play and also participated in choir. She also spent many summer participating in the York Playhouse summer production.
The Doane Senior will graduate this spring with a degree in Music with an emphasis in piano.
Theatre is definitely in her blood as she plans to head to California to pursue an advanced degree in video game audio engineering, “My ultimate goal is to be a film scorer.”
This role has allowed Ruhl to explore the world of mental health, “I am getting to learn more about bipolar disorder. The mom in the production struggles with this and that along with the dark past of the family and how the daughter is caught up in it have made it a lot of fun to develop the character. “
The play has been performed on Broadway but Ruhl is trying to “make it my own. I have gotten to work with really amazing actors here at Doane.”
Each spring, the theatre department makes their plans for the following season. In choosing “Next to Normal,” Ruhl hopes that they can help “Raise awareness of mental illness and how it affects families. This play reflects what it does to a family trying to figure out how to operate with someone with a mental disorder.”
Currently Ruhl spends about three hours each evening getting ready to perform for audiences on March 7th through March 10th. Anyone interested in seeing Ruhl and the cast of “Next to Normal” can order tickets online at www.doane.edu or by calling 402-826-8256