What would happen if you were eating at your usual small-town diner and the President of the United States walked in to order a cup of coffee?
Well, the few inhabitants of the quiet town of Turtle Creek are faced with this dilemma, in Knob Noster’s production of HAIL TO THE CHIEF. This 1990s comedy by Craig Sodaro depicts the timelessness of the American presidency, and the classic question many leaders face: my country or my family?
In this hilarious rendezvous between small town folk and the main inhabitants of the White House, President Leland Moore is building a new intersection in Colorado, taking all travelers away from the little business Turtle Creek had, forcing the unhappy citizens of Turtle Creek to close shop and move away.
On his campaign tour, Moore swings by the small restaurant called Turtle Shell Café in Turtle Creek and ends up getting snowed in! Madness ensues as Moore tries to pacify the irritated diner inhabitants, control his crazy fiancee, and finally connect to his motherless children. However, Moore finds that not everyone involved with his campaign can be trusted.
Charlie Gardner stars as President Leland Moore. Gardner does a magnificent job with his role. His speech is clear and understandable, and he smoothly portrays both the role of father and leader. Gardner’s “love interest” of the show is Lauren Lustig, who plays the role of campaign leader Victoria Dey. Lustig does an excellent job portraying the over-controlling, future first lady. She truly captures the manipulative emotions of Victoria Dey, and does a hilarious impersonation of the “evil step-mother.”
The two children of the White House are played by Brooke Hays- first daughter Emily Moore- and Nikolas Petrovski- first son Cliff Moore. Hays and Petrovski energetically throw themselves into their roles, making the audience laugh and sympathize with their antics. Hays is funny as the irritable, snobby first daughter, who is obviously suffering from lack of attention from her father.
The President is assisted by a hilarious team, including nervous, first day on the job Elizabeth Crabtree (Kirsten Orndoff), Jefferson P. Wilmont (Nathan Kjos) and General Titus Bullfinch (Connor Robbins). Orndoff is one of the newest members of the cast, but still does an excellent job with her role. Her portrayal of the nervous Crabtree is sweet and her ‘frozen solid’ impersonation is adorable.
Wilmont also does a fine job with his role, especially with his hilarious show of having food poisoning, an ‘attempted assassination from chili’. Robbins is excellent as General Bullfinch. He is in tune with his character, and keeps the audience in hysterics from his typical army shouting. His costume is also cleverly done, with three stars across the shoulder representing his rank.
The set and costumes are simple and sweet. The simplicity of both represents the timelessness of the plot, and the hard work each member of the cast and crew is putting into this production.
The production of HAIL TO THE CHIEF is an endearing show to watch. The whole cast and crew seem to thoroughly enjoy performing in this production. The timelessness of this show will touch every person’s heart, and will remind us of the importance of family and friends.