Radium Girls: A Behind the Scenes Perspective

by Andy Peters(’26)

The cast of Radium Girls with director Molly Levin(’23)

Welcome to the first installment of A Play on Words, a fun and relaxing column about theater productions happening in our community! This column is made to be a creative experience and hopefully you will enjoy reading it. Recently, IA put on its production of Radium Girls by D.W. Gregory, which I had the honor to be a part of. Normally, this article would talk about the show and how much I enjoyed seeing it, but I thought I’d spice it up a little and provide a “behind the scenes” point of view for the show.

If you were fortunate enough to go to one of the three shows, you would have gotten to see the amazing talent and stars we had! Radium Girls was roughly two hours long and yet we only had two months to put the show together. The cast consisted of many bright and colorful personalities which starkly contrasted the show, yet in the end everyone learned to enjoy their character even if it meant they were not allowed to smile on stage. 

In case you were unable to make one of the performances, here’s a brief synopsis of the show. A young character named Grace Fryer works at the US Radium plant along with her friends Irene Rudolph and Kathryn Schaub. Together the women paint dial using paint infused with radium. As time goes on, the girls begins to notice severe pain in their jaws. Soon both their jaws and lives fall apart after the death of one of their coworkers is left unexplained. Meanwhile, Arthur Roeder, the newfound president of the company, is forced to reckon with the fact that his radium could be killing these girls. Roeder has conflicting feelings and doesn’t take action against the radium, forcing Grace to find her own way to gain justice. The second act of the show follows Grace and her team(Mr. Berry and Miss. Wiley) fighting for her rights despite the wishes of her family, all while Mr. Roeder, Mr. Lee (the VP), and their lawyer Edward Markely struggle to figure out their next move. 

Throughout the show we follow this main story but along the way we meet lots of other fun and interesting characters such as Marie Curie, The Reporters, and of course Lovesick Cowboy. This amazing show was very dark and yet a joy to watch and be a part of. The show was very unique and shared an inspiring message of never losing hope and standing up for both what you believe in and yourself, an important message that still rings true to this day. Finally, I would like to shout out the director of this show, Molly Levin, for putting this amazing product together, and Mort the stuffed animal for being a true inspiration to others. Personally, I enjoyed getting to work with all the other cast members(even as a newbie). I found myself laughing with others, making jokes, and growing as an actor. If any readers out there are interested in joining Phoenix Theater Company don’t be afraid to because this is one of the best casts I’ve gotten to work with. Overall, this show was a 10/10 and I highly recommend to keep your eyes out for future PTC productions and future installments of A Play on Words!

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