Oct 15, 2022
SERIES HOST — Indian Creek High School will be the location for the Nov. 2 appearance by Jeff Hatcher as part of the Herald-Star Speaker Series, Presented by Eastern Gateway Community College. Helping to plan the event are, from left, Indian Creek Superintendent T.C. Chappelear; Assistant Superintendent John Belt; and Principal Louie Retton. — Ross Gallabrese
WINTERSVILLE — Administrators in the Indian Creek Local School District are excited about being able to show off everything their new buildings have to offer to members of the public.
One way is by hosting special events.
They will do just that on Nov. 2 when Jeff Hatcher takes to the stage in the auditorium at the new high school as part of the Herald-Star Speaker Series, Presented by Eastern Gateway Community College.
“I think it’s a great opportunity to introduce our facilities to the community and to some people who might not have had opportunities or other reasons to attend an event here,” said district Superintendent T.C. Chappelear.
What will make the evening more special is that Hatcher, who has numerous credits as a screenwriter and a playwright, is a 1976 graduate of the former Wintersville High School and a native of Steubenville.
Hatcher’s work for the stage includes the adaptation of the best-selling book “Tuesdays with Morrie,” which he wrote with the book’s author, Mitch Albom; “Compleat Female Stage Beauty,” which he adapted into the film “Stage Beauty,” which starred Claire Danes and Billy Crudup; “Three Viewings;” “Ella,” the musical biography of jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald; “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde;” and “Holmes and Watson.”
His movie credits include “Casanova,” which starred Sienna Miller and Heath Ledger; “Mr. Holmes,” which starred Ian McKellen; and “Good Liar,” which starred Helen Mirren and McKellen. Hatcher’s TV credits include episodes of “Columbo” and “The Mentalist.” His work has earned numerous awards, and he is a member or alumnus of the Playwrights Center, the Dramatists Guild, the Writer’s Guild and the New Dramatists.
The presentation by Hatcher, the son of the late Virginia and Paul Hatcher, will be among the first major events at the high school. The two-story, 115,000-square-foot facility was built as part of a $63 million-districtwide transformation project that included the construction of the new Cross Creek Elementary School on Bantam Ridge Road and renovations to Hills Elementary School in Mingo Junction. The local match for the project was generated from a 6.1-mill levy that was approved by voters on May 8, 2018.
The state-of-the-art auditorium will be the perfect setting for the speaker series, Chappelear explained.
“It’s a good indication of what our community team wanted when we did our master planning,” he said. “We wanted an auditorium to be able to do special events like this.”
Louie Retton, the principal at the high school, agreed.
“I think it’s a big deal,” he said. “We haven’t had a venue like this to hold anything of this caliber in our district. Now, we’re lucky enough to have one of the nicest venues in the area for productions, events, the speaker series — for things of that nature. I think it’s a nice feather in the district’s cap to be able to get something like this.
“It brings more culture into the district,” Retton continued. “The arts and things of that nature, which we’re very much into. I think it will help us grow as a community.”
That’s a factor that can’t be overlooked, according to Ross Gallabrese, executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times, who said past presentations in the series, which dates back to 2012, have been held at Steubenville High School and Catholic Central High School.
“We’re excited to be able to bring the series to the new Indian Creek High School,” said Gallabrese. “It’s another example of our commitment to continue to be a part of the communities we serve. The new auditorium will be a great setting for the presentation.”
The timing to have Hatcher, who has numerous awards to his credit and ties to the school and district, speak also is perfect — the school is taking advantage of its new facility to beef up its drama program, which is under the direction of Robert Zinsmeister.
“With us starting for the first time an actual theater program as part of our core schedule, it’s a great opportunity for the students who are interested in following that path,” said John Belt, the assistant superintendent. “To actually be able to hear from someone who came from here and who is doing professionally what they are doing coursework in is an excellent way to break in this facility.”
Belt said the school’s theater program has really caught on — they have been able to offer two sections of freshman theater; a set and design section a costume; and make-up section as well as acting and script analysis.
General admission tickets for the presentation are $25 each. A VIP package is available at a cost of $75 for one ticket and $125 for two tickets. That includes access to a private reception, which is scheduled to run from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Gaslite on Canton Road in Wintersville. The evening will feature a meet-and-great with Hatcher and a chance to have a photo taken with him, hors d’oeuvres, a drink ticket, transportation to and from the high school and preferred seating for the presentation.
For information or to purchase tickets, visit the Herald-Star at 401 Herald Square, or call Diana Brown at (740) 283-4711. Tickets also can be purchased on the websites of the newspapers.
Area high school and junior high school students will have the chance to attend the presentation at no charge, thanks to the support of local organizations, including the Steubenville and Weirton Heights Rotary clubs and the Steubenville Kiwanis Club.
Joining the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times as sponsors for the presentation are Eastern Gateway Community College, the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Main Street Bank, the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce and WTRF-TV. Special support is being provided by the Indian Creek Local School District, Em-Media, the Gaslite, Steel Valley Regional Transit Authority, Downtown Bakery, the Inn at Franciscan Square and Rich and Shirley’s Quick Print.
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