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Twisted Tales: Ethan Fite is Noel Gruber in RIDE THE CYCLONE

When six members of the St. Cassian Chamber Choir meet a tragic demise while riding a roller coaster, they find themselves in limbo literally singing for a second chance at life. Buckle up for the supernatural musical sensation RIDE THE CYCLONE, playing in the Jeffers Theatre at HCT from February 1st through February 10th.

He's a fast food worker with femme fatale dreams. He's Noel Gruber, and he's played by Kay Award winner and hula hoop virtuoso Ethan Fite.

Fite, a Texas transplant-turned-Granite Falls resident, holds an Associate's Degree in Arts & Science from Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute. As Assistant to the Artistic Director at HCT, Fite can be found putting as much time and energy into behind-the-scenes work as he puts into his on-stage performances. When not "selling his soul to the theatre," Fite enjoys getting crafty with his love of crocheting.

Fite made a memorable Hickory Community Theatre debut as Lady Macduff/Menteith in MACBETH. Subsequent roles included: the doomed D'Ysquith family members in A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER; Simon in EXIT PURSUED BY A BEAR; one of the Angel trio in KINKY BOOTS; and, Franz in ROCK OF AGES, for which Fite received a Kay Award for Outstanding Supporting Performer in a Musical. Outside of HCT, Fite has performed in CABARET at Theatre Statesville, as well as FROM THIS DAY FORWARD and CYRANO DE BERGERAC at Old Colony Players. So it comes as no surprise that Fite was nominated for an 2023 Emerging Artist of the Year award by the Metrolina Theatre Association.

For Fite, Noel Gruber is a "dream role." He is grateful for the continuing challenges he finds as an artist at HCT, for the supportive presence of HCT Canine Ambassador Sir Samuel, and for any opportunity to show off his hula hoop skills.

Performances of RIDE THE CYCLONE are Fridays and Saturdays, February 1st through February 10th at 7:30 PM; Sunday, February 4th at 2:30 PM; and, Thursday, February 8th at 7:30 PM. 

Tickets are $16 for adults, $10 for youth and students.

Tickets are available online at, or by phone at 828-328-2283. The theatre box office is open from 12-5 PM Wednesday through Friday, or one half-hour before a performance.

RIDE THE CYCLONE is presented without intermission. It is rated R for mature subject matter.

RIDE THE CYCLONE is produced in association with Sandra Clay and George Clay III. The Hickory Community Theatre’s 75th season is sponsored by Paramount Automotive, SunBelt Xpress and Green Park Dentistry. HCT is a funded affiliate of the United Arts Council of Catawba County.

(Photo by Eric Seale)

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