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Robu adapts play for 2020’s virtual requirements

October 1st, 2020

Antoinette Brown Blackwell

You can still watch the Fall Festival theater production, No Cross, No Crown – Covid Edition, on Bethel's YouTube channel.

It should surprise no one to learn that the Fall Fest play needed to move from live stage to online. While many events had to be be canceled, a few were able to go on, just virtually.

One such was No Cross, No Crown – Covid Edition, written and directed by Bethel Instructor of Theater Karen Robu.

“I wrote the play in 2010 as an independent study project when I was attending Phillips Theological Seminary pursuing my Master of Divinity degree,” Robu says.

“It follows the life of Antoinette Brown Blackwell, the first female ordained minister in the United States, and her involvement with the woman’s suffrage movement.

“The play seemed timely, considering this is the 100-year anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment.

“But it had to be rethought and video recorded to accommodate social distancing and the wearing of masks [by actors] when in close proximity.”

No Cross, No Crown – Covid Edition will be available to view on Bethel’s YouTube channel beginning Oct. 2 at 7:30 p.m. (see

The cast is Jessie Thomas, junior from Sedgwick, as Antoinette Brown Blackwell; Allison Weaver, sophomore from Hesston, as Lucy Stone; Charlotte Ehrmann, junior from Wichita, as Ernestine L. Rose; Jaxie Gerk, senior from Holyoke, Colo., as Susan B. Anthony; Rachel Geyer, sophomore from Oxford, Iowa, as Elizabeth Cady Stanton; Nathan Garber, junior from Newton, as Stephen Foster; Nathaniel Schmucker, junior from Moundridge, as himself; Hayden Honomichi, freshman from Great Bend, as Rev. Luther Lee; Lilly Rainwater, junior from Henryetta, Okla., as herself; and Brad Born, professor of English, as Zoom Professor.

Special guest artists are Injoy Fountain (from The Voice) as Sojourner Truth and Yannic Dozier as Frederick Douglass.

The Women’s Choir is Annie Carlson, junior from Hurley, S.D., Charlie Gibson, junior from Ashland, Addie Regier Kauffman, senior from Newton, Bethany Powls, junior from Garnett, Julianna Schrag, sophomore from Goessel, and Allison Weaver.

Musical direction is by William Eash and technical direction by Damon Klassen. The stage manager is Rachel Geyer. Sound technician is Jesse Balzer, junior from Hurley, S.D., and the videographer is Jacob Prickett. The costumer is Kaci Wilson, with hair and wigs by Jaxie Gerk.

Bethel is a four-year liberal arts college founded in 1887 and is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Known for academic excellence, Bethel ranks at #14 in the Washington Monthly list of “Best Bachelor’s Colleges” and #26 in U.S. News & World Report, Best Regional Colleges Midwest, and earned its third-straight NAIA Champions of Character Five-Star Gold Award, based on student service and academic achievement, all for 2020-21; is’s highest ranked Kansas small college with the highest earning graduates; has the #10 RN-to-BSN program in Kansas according to; and is #57 among 829 U.S. colleges and universities named by as “Best for Financial Aid,” as well as #23 “Safest College Towns in the U.S.,” ranked by for 2020-21. For more information, see

About Bethel

As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.