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Esther to be shown first time in 20 years

15 March 2016

PCC's spring musical has only been performed once, 20 years ago, but is coming back to Pratt Community College’s stage for a second time.

"Esther", based on the book of Esther in the Bible, was written by Prattan Rose Beilman with music by Ed Davis and performed at PCC in 1996.

“Twenty years ago, as a student at PCC, I had several teachers who really helped me define who I was and find my place in the world,” said Misty Beck, director. “Two of the teachers were Ed Davis and Rose Beilman, my music and theatre teachers. That sophomore year we were privileged to get to produce a play they had just finished writing and composing. We worked songs in Encore to ‘try them out’ and had the very unique experience of being the first cast to produce an original musical, one of the best I’ve ever been in or seen. As the 20 year anniversary of that semester approached I knew I wanted to produce that same musical in honor of my mentors who inspired me to do what I do. With a little convincing I was able to win them both over on the idea.”

Beilman, now the Pratt High School theatre director, and Davis, now a music and worship pastor at the First United Methodist Church in Stillwater, Okla., made a difference in many students lives, which is apparent from looking at the cast list.

“It has been a joy to share this musical season with a fabulous cast,” Beck said. “Several cast members from 1996 are in the 2016 cast as well as children of the ’96 cast and many of Davis and Beilman’s students past and present.”

One student who is excited to be in the play because of the people involved from the beginning is Zach Stone, freshman from Pratt.

“Being a part of Esther is a huge honor for me since it was written by my high school theatre and forensics coach and my college theatre teacher was in it and is now directing it,” he said. “It’s fun to put this show together with a cast that I’ve gotten to work with on different shows throughout the last three years.”

One other PCC student who claims Esther as his first role in a musical, is excited to be in it "again".

“When Esther was done in 1996, I was actually in the show,” said Garrett Geesling, freshman from Turon playing Bigthan. “My mom was pregnant with me and played the role of Esther. It is now exciting for me to see my sister playing that same role and to have a role of my own.”

The book of Esther was written approximately 470 B.C. in Persia, post exile about Jews who stayed behind after most returned to Jerusalem. In the story, Esther is personally chosen by the king to become queen and her love and faith save the Jewish people.

While the story of Esther has stayed the same, changes in technology are one of the many things past and present cast members are excited about.

“It’s exciting to tackle “Esther” once again and to have several members of the original cast in this production,” said Gale Rose, who played Xerxes in 1996 and is playing Zethar this time. “I’m anxious to hear the new musical arrangement for the band as opposed to the synthesizer we had in the first production.”

PCC’s Performing Arts Department will perform the show April 1 and 2 at 7:30 p.m. and on April 3 at 2:30 p.m. The show will take place in Carpenter Auditorium and tickets will cost $5 at the door.

On April 2 there will be a dinner option before the show and tickets for that are $15. The meal will start at 6:15 p.m. To make reservations for the dinner call 620.450.2212.

Cast list:
Esther Kayley Geesling – Fairfield HS junior
Mordecai Johnathon Hurt – PCC sophomore from Pratt
Eilizabeth Danielle Geesling – PCC alum
Xerxes Josh Jacobs – PCC alum
Haman Dan Gillig - Pratt
Teresh Zach Stone – PCC freshman
Bigthan Garrett Geesling – PCC freshman from Turon
Hegai Jacob Brubaker – PCC freshman from Bird City
Dara Angela McGraw -- Pratt
Shani Tara Pagenkopf -- Pratt
Samara Amber Jellison-Harris – Pratt High sophomore
Myrtle Kaycee Rogers – PCC freshman from Haysville
Naomi Brittney Thelen – PCC freshman from Kingman
Lizelle Miranda Ghumm – Skyline senior
Hakim Phil Harris - Cunningham
Zethar Gale Rose -- Pratt
Asher Doc Hunter -- Pratt
Zara Kelley Bishop - Pratt
Farkai Keenan Stultz – PCC freshman from Goessel

Soldiers Logan Kalmar (soloist) Fairfield High senior, Peyton Kalmar – Fairfield High sophomore, Tanner Hansen --Fairfield High freshman Caden Donnenwerth Pratt High Freshman

Vashti Melissa Jacobs—PCC faculty

Advisors Doc Hunter, Phil Harris, Gale Rose, Keenan Stultz, Drew Taylor – Pratt High sophomore, Peyton Kalmar, Logan Kalmar, Caden Donnenwerth, Jason Wiltshire - Pratt, Greg Bacon – PCC faculty/alum

Scribes Caleb Powell Liberty Middle School 6th grader and Rafe Donnenwerth Liberty Middle School 7th grader

Foreign Dignitary Drew Taylor

Old Woman Ellen Larson -- Cunningham

Servants Caleb Hitz – PCC freshman from Pratt, Kayla Harbaugh – Pratt homeschool senior, Kat Ghumm – PCC freshman from Pratt, Brenna Fischer—PCC freshman from Meade

Dancers Music Theatre Dance Class

Mothers (small group) Angela McGraw, Brittney Donnenwerth-- Pratt, Tiffany Riley -- Pratt

Townspeople Chorus:
Jason Wiltshire, Brenna Fischer, Ellen Larson, Amber Jellison-Harris, Adison Hampton, Abby Geesling, , Drew Taylor, Tanner Hansen, Logan Kalmar, Kayla Harbaugh, Kat Ghumm, Peyton Kalmar, Angela McGraw, Tiffany Riley, Brittney Donnenwerth, Caden Donnenwerth, Greg Bacon, Rafe Donnenwerth, Corinne Donnenwerth, Cory Hampton, Sydney Riley, Noah Riley, Jenna Harbaugh, Amelia McCaskey, Angel Diaz, Jeremiah Westerhaus, Bailey Bell, Olivia Jacobs, Thatcher Jacobs, Caleb Powell