Cast members of The Best Worst Day of My Life in costume

Members of the cast of “The Best Worst Day of My Life” include, top row from left: Dillon Nemitz (as Trip McClusky ) and Jacob Mueller (Cody Crawford); middle row, Bennett Josephs (Donny), Justin Schmitz (Max Griffin), Lizzie Riley (The Narrator), Mady Straub (Amanda Hughes), Eric Birenbaum (Brittney), Sarah VonderVellen (Felicity), and Lexie Sheridan (Farrah); front row, Andrew Van Norwick (Luke).

PHS presents 'Best Worst Day' as fall play

Posted October 23, 2017

Plymouth High School will be presenting an original script about an unlikely high school alliance as its fall play Nov. 2-5.

“The Best Worst Day of My Life” follows geeky Max Wilkinson (played by Justin Schmitz) and popular Amanda Wade (played by Madilyn Straub) on the worst day of their lives. The setting is Plymouth High School, the day of the big homecoming game against Sheboygan Falls, and the day before the homecoming dance. The school bully, Trip (played by Dillon Nemitz), has stolen the only copy of the screenplay Max is planning to film, while Amanda’s just been dumped and humiliated by her boyfriend in front of the entire school.

“They decide to team up and help each other in hopes of turning this typical school day into the best worst day of their lives,” said Janet DeJean Newton, director and PHS drama teacher.

The play is also filled with the traditional and somewhat stereotypical characters found in a high school: the crazy chemistry teacher (Deklan Solonika), the overly dramatic English teacher (Emma Helmer), the tyrannical gym teacher (Adam Carbaugh), the sweeter-than-sweet lunch lady (Sydney Tackes), and the boring history teacher (Matthew Klemm). The show will feature an original score of incidental music created by Canadian composer Tom Grazckowski, as well as some spontaneous dancing, and maybe even a zombie or two.

The play was written by Dick Grunert, a former student of Mrs. Newton’s from Cedarburg who now is a professional writer and film director/producer based in Los Angeles. He studied film/video at Columbia College in Chicago, worked as a writer on the Emmy Award-winning Cartoon Network series “Adventure Time,” and has written for TV shows at Sony, Fox and Warner Bros. He also has written and directed numerous short films, including “The Trap,” which played at over 30 film festivals.

When he was a sophomore in 1990, he expressed an interest in writing film scripts, so Mrs. Newton challenged him to write a play for Cedarburg High School.  He wrote “The Substitute” in 1992, and the play was a huge success. Mr. Grunert also wrote a play for PHS in 2008 called “Scenes from a Dance,” which immediately was published and since has been produced at least 20 more times.

“He and I have talked many times about him writing another play for PHS, and last year he promised to write one for 2017,” Mrs. Newton said. “Don't miss it!”

Mr. Grunert plans to come to PHS to see the show. He is excited to see the debut performance of his work, and he is hoping his friends from Cedarburg High School will come to Plymouth and see the show, too – and maybe even have an unofficial class reunion.

Performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2; Friday, Nov. 3; and Saturday, Nov. 4; with a matinee at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 5, in the school auditorium, 125 Highland Ave. General admission tickets are $6 and will be available in the PHS office and at the door.

The public is invited to stay after the Thursday night premiere for a “talk back” about the performance with Mr. Grunert and the student actors.


Cast and Crew


Lizzie Riley: Narrator
Justin Schmitz: Max Griffin (aspiring student film director)
Bennett Josephs: Donny (one of Max’s Three Amigos)
Andrew Van Norwick: Luke (another of Max’s Three Amigos)
Madilyn Straub: Amanda Hughes (the most popular girl in school)
Erica Birenbaum: Britney (one of Amanda’s BFFs)
Lexi Sheridan: Farrah (another of Amanda BFFs)
Sarah Vondervellen: Felicity (another of Amanda BFFs)
Jacob Mueller: Cody Crawford (the most popular guy in school)
Adam Carbaugh: Blake (one of Cody’s entourage)
Louis Gentine III: Eli (another of Cody’s entourage)
Michael Krusiec: Mitch (another of Cody’s entourage)
Dillon Nemitz: Trip McClusky (the bad boy & Max’s nemesis)
Emily Lavine: Mrs. Schumacher (the principal)
Deklan Solonika: Mr. Bosley (the chemistry teacher)
Emma Hellmer: Ms. O’Toole (the English teacher)
Louis Gentine III: Mr. Ridge (the PE teacher ever)
Jordyn Anderson: Nancy Richards (Cody’s dance date)
Sydney Tackes: Mrs. Gunderson (the lunch lady)
Matthew Klemm: Mr. Strickland (the history teacher)
Amanda Sager: Mrs. Deetz (the librarian)
Gracie Nohl: Student #1
Olivia Straub: Student #2            
Kiara Smeltzer: Student #3
Zoe Zwick: Student #4
Kenzea Crawford: Student #5
Anne Sedlacek: Student #6
Caitlyn Goetsch: Student #7      
Sara Birenbaum, Tessy Carbaugh, Meghan Caster, Sicily Geiken, Nicole Walber, Isaiah Voss, Margaret Williamson: Students & Zombies

Student Production Team

Student Directors: Matthew Klemm, Anne Sedlacek, Kenzea Crawford
Student Theatre Manager: Jaxsen Schermacher
Student Technical Director: Charlie Waitkus
Costume Mistress: Brynn Wiltzius
Costume Crew: Lexi Sheridan, Mady Straub, Emma Hellmer, Lizzie Riley, Sandy Meyer
Prop Master: Amanda Sager
Prop & Set Crew: Nicole Walber, Margaret Williamson, Kiara Smeltzer, Sicily Geiken, Zoe Zwick
Set Crew: Tessa Carbaugh, Caitlyn Goetsch, Olivia Straub
Publicity: Emily Lavine, Erica Birenbaum, Sarah Birenbaum, Jordan Anderson, Graci Nohl
Lights & Sound: Thomas Diehlmann, Robbie Grimes, Paul Hammes, Carter Lund, Reese Justinger