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RLT’s “Runaways” Suffers Due to a Weak Script

RLT's Teens on Stage's two-week run of "Runaways" ends on July 24-26 (photo by Curtis Brown Photography)

RLT‘s Teens on Stage’s two-week run of “Runaways” ends on July 24-26 (photo by Curtis Brown Photography)

For its annual Teens On Stage production, Raleigh Little Theatre has chosen Runaways, written by Elizabeth Swados and directed by Linda O’Day Young. Runaways is more like performance art than a play; it chronicles the lives of a large group of homeless teens through song, dance, and brief vignettes into their lives.

All of this fast-moving action plays out against an incredible mishmashed set designed by Shannon Clark. The set, which is composed of metals, garbage, and even a few discarded toy parts is a work of art in itself.

Against this grimy backdrop, a very large cast of teen characters, all eerily made-up and greasy looking, share their stories and struggles with the audience. All of the young actors give strong performances and impressively move through the complex choreography with ease. And, at first, the show, with its blend of different languages and stories, feels very intimate and powerful.

Unfortunately, though, that type of tension and power is hard to sustain, and though the cast does a good job and the production values are strong, Swados’ script quickly loses steam. The monologues get longer and longer and more melodramatic until, instead of being powerful, they’re unintentionally laughable, and its message, once poignant, starts to feel like overkill. As one of the show’s songs states, “Sometimes too much of something is just as bad as not enough,” and that’s definitely the case here.

Raleigh Little Theatre‘s Teens on Stage present RUNAWAYS at 7:30 p.m. July 24, 1 and 5 p.m. July 25, and 1 p.m. July 26 in RLT‘s Gaddy-Goodwin Teaching Theatre, 301 Pogue St., Raleigh, North Carolina 27607.


BOX OFFICE: 919-821-3111 or

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NOTE 1: All shows are wheelchair accessible, and assistive-listening devices are available for all shows.

NOTE 2: There will be a post-show discussion, facilitated by the staff of Haven House Services, after the 5 p.m. Saturday, July 25th performance.

NOTE 3: Bring a new pair of socks to the show! RLT is partnering with Wrenn House & Safe Place, a division of Haven House Services, to support Project SAFE (Socks Are for Everyone) for homeless teens.


Runaways (1978 Off-Broadway and Broadway musical): (Samuel French), (Internet Off-Broadway Database), (Internet Broadway Database), and (Wikipedia).

Elizabeth Swados (playwright, composer, and lyricist): (official website), (Internet Broadway Database), (Facebook page), (Twitter page), and (Wikipedia).

Linda O’Day Young (director and RLT‘s youth theatre and education director): (Facebook page).


Susie Potter is a Raleigh, NC-based freelance writer and editor. She is a 2009 graduate of Raleigh’s Meredith College, where she majored in English. She holds graduate degrees in teaching and American literature from North Carolina State University in Raleigh. In addition to her work for Triangle Arts and Entertainment, she is an award-winning author of short fiction. Her works have appeared in The Colton Review, Raleigh Quarterly, Broken Plate Magazine, Big Muddy: A Journal of the Mississippi River Valley, the Chaffey Review, and Existere. To read all of Susie Potter’s Triangle Arts and Entertainment articles and reviews, click To read more of her writings, click and

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