HAYS — A delusional southern beauty surrounded by misfits and mental cases tries to build a road to redemption out of a small-town pageant in ways that are funny but not soul-destroying in “The Miss Firecracker Contest,” a Southern Gothic play by Pulitzer Prize-winner Beth Henley, coming Nov. 14 to Fort Hays State University’s Felten-Start Theatre.
Performances are at 7:30 p.m. from Nov. 14 to Nov. 16. A matinee is at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17. Felten-Start is in Malloy Hall on the FHSU campus.
Set in Brookhaven, Miss., the play tells the story of Carnelle Scott, played by Brenna Cole, and her attempt to overcome her reputation as “Miss Hot Tamale” by winning the titular beauty pageant despite her lack of self-confidence and the fact that she dyed her hair an impossible shade of red.
The play also revolves around Elain Rutledge, Carnelle’s unhappy, narcissistic bombshell cousin, played by Jill Herbert, and Delmount Williams, Elain’s psychotic brother, played by Timothy Tarkelly. Popeye Jackson, the impressionable and unpredictable seamstress played by Sarah Werling, junior, rounds out the main cast.
“Even in the beginning stages,” said Jill Herbert, the play’s Elain Rutledge, “I could tell this was going to be a wonderful show filled with wonderful people both on the stage and behind the scenes.”
Tickets are $15 for the public and $10 for senior citizens and FHSU students with a valid ID. For more information or ticket reservations, call the Department of Music and Theatre at 785-628-4533 or email email@example.com
Cast includes: Brenna Cole, junior (playing Carnelle), Andale; Timothy Tarkelly, senior (Delmount), Chanute; Jera Gales, sophomore (Tessy), Coldwater; Gabriel Bristow, senior (Mac Sam), Golden, Colo.; Courtney Campbell, freshman (stage manager), is a 2013 graduate of Great Bend High School in Great Bend. She is the daughter of Robert Campbell of Hoisington and Audrey Johnson of Liberal; Sarah Werling, junior (Popeye) Solomon; and Jill Herbert, sophomore (Elain), Wichita.