By Samantha Calderone

March 31, 1977

The Second Story theater group flew to new heights by premiering “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” in the WEJL radio theater on the fifth floor of the Scranton Times Building.
The free show, which ran from March 31 to April 2, revolved around main characters Randle Patrick McMurphy and Nurse Ratched. In order to avoid physical labor in prison, McMurphy pleads insanity and is sentenced to a mental institution. There, McMurphy is both a witness to and subject of the nurse’s cruel actions.

people sitting in a theater

TIMES-SHAMROCK ARCHIVES The Second Story theater group performs “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”on the WEJL radio station stage at The Scranton Times Building on March 31, 1977.

Dunmore native and University of Scranton alumnus William “Bill” Risse played McMurphy. He also was one of the founders and chairman of Second Story. Risse went on to work with the NBC production team at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea.
Actress Gail Piasecki of Scranton played Nurse Ratched under the direction of Wilkes University alumna Agnes Cummings. Cummings was previously seen in Second Story’s production of “Godspell” and later performed in “A Cry of Players.”

man and woman in costumes

SUBMITTED PHOTO Agnes Cummings and Peter Tamm star in “Godspell.”

man and woman in costumes

SUBMITTED PHOTO Agnes Cummings portrays Anne in a scene from “A Cry of Players” alongside Charles Charette, who portrayed William Shakespeare.

After acting and directing for Second Story, Cummings went on to direct shows at University of Scranton. She later performed at the Fulton Opera House in Lancaster and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
Other local actors who appeared in “Cuckoo’s Nest” included Brian McGurl, Tee Malakin and Frank J. Graeff.

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