Radium Girls

"Radium Girls" at work in rehearsal. (Submitted photo)

MOUNT VERNON -- Amy Stoner loves history and she loves community theater.

"Radium Girls," which has a two-show run Oct. 22 and 23 at the Woodward Black Box Theater, offers both.

Stoner, a veteran Knox County actress with the Mount Vernon Players, is directing the show, the troubling tale about the rapid rise of the U.S. Radium Corporation and how it hid the dangerous effects of radium from hundreds of girls while using radium paint in a variety of ways.

Radium Girls

Those uses included painting dials for the military, allowing them to glow in the dark, and then branching into other markets.

"I always enjoy directing a true, historical piece, accurately, but this one has the added dimension of challenging makeup," Stoner said.

Keep in mind that 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.

The play, written by D.W. Gregory, is inspired by a true story, tracing the story of Grace Fryer, a dial painter, as she fights for her day in court against her employer as well as pushback from family and friends who fear her effort will backfire.

Amy Stoner

Amy Stoner directs during a rehearsal of "Radium Girls." (Facebook photo)

As the "Radium Girls" deteriorate during the show, Tammy Souhdra and Becky Wentworth are tasked with making the girls' injuries from the radium effects seem real on stage.

"I am so impressed with how it's all coming together and how well our cast, ranging in age from 8 to 60-plus, has performed."

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased by calling 740-504-9399 or visiting the Mount Vernon Players Facebook page.

Seating is limited at the 107 S. Main St. theater, though some tickets may be available at the door. Performances will be Oct. 22 at 7 p.m., Oct. 23 at 2 p.m. and Oct. 23 at 7 p.m.

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