Arts & Culture

UK Theatre's 'Radium Girls' takes the Briggs Theatre stage

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"Radium Girls"
photo of 2 cast members working in UK Theatre's "Radium Girls"
UK Theatre's "Radium Girls" web banner

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 10, 2022) ­— Opening its 2022-23 season, the University of Kentucky Department of Theatre and Dance presents D.W. Gregory’s “Radium Girls. Performances run Oct. 13-16, in Briggs Theatre in the UK Fine Arts Building.  

In 1926, radium was a miracle cure, Madame Curie was an international celebrity and luminous watches the latest rage — until the girls who painted them began to fall ill with a mysterious disease. Inspired by a true story, “Radium Girls” traces the efforts of Grace Fryer, a dial painter, as she fights for her day in court.  

Grace’s chief adversary is her former employer, Arthur Roeder, an idealistic man who cannot bring himself to believe that the same element that shrinks tumors could have anything to do with the terrifying rash of illnesses among his employees. As the case goes on, however, Grace finds herself battling not just with the U.S. Radium Corporation, but with her own family and friends, who fear that her campaign for justice will backfire.  

"’Radium Girls’ is a powerful story told by an exceptionally talented ensemble,” says Peter Allen Stone, director. “Grace Fryer's fight for justice resonates with so many working people today." 

Radium Girls” is a fast-moving, highly theatrical ensemble piece written with warmth and humor. Called a "powerful" and "engrossing" drama by critics, “Radium Girls” offers a wry, unflinching look at the peculiarly American obsessions with health, wealth and the commercialization of science. 

UK’s production of “Radium Girls” features Addison Adams, Tristen Boyer, Lexi Brady, Macy Laine Brockman, Kathryn Schaub, Alexandra Brown, Michael Daniels, Jacob Ernst, Cory Samuel Lee Evans, Daniel Hilbourn, Charles Hunter, Audrey Niehaus, Katy Rucker, Emily Spencer and James Wharton. Danitza Piper serves as stage manager ad Nate Neal and Elizabeth Watson as assistant stage managers, with costumes by Tracy Barber, lighting and sound by Heather Brown, make-up by Conor Donnolly, and technical direction and production management by Zak Stribling. 

Helping the cast and crew bring the play to life on stage was also the student designer, interiors senior Caitlin Herndon, from Paducah, Kentucky.  

I love the relationship between interior design and theatre; there is so much opportunity for design when telling stories on a stage. 

For ‘Radium Girls,’ it was important for the design to evoke the same sense of uncertainty, emotions and aspirations as those being told in the story. The design is inspired by German expressionism, the real-life factory in Orange County, New Jersey, and the idea of showcasing the complexities of the characters' lives,” said Herndon. “For this production, specifically, it was beneficial to utilize the existing elements of the theatre to further emphasize and create the atmosphere of the factory, an industrial feel.” 

"Radium Girls" will take center stage 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Oct. 13-15, and 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, Oct.15-16. General admission is $10 for students and $15 for adults (plus $2 ticketing fee). Tickets are available through the Singletary Center for the Arts Box Office at scfatickets.com or by calling 859-257-4929.   

Radium Girls is produced by special arrangement with THE DRAMATIC PUBLISHING COMPANY of Woodstock, Illinois. 

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.