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Bethel College to present "The Fantasticks" during Fall Festival

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. -- Students at Bethel College will present the musical "The Fantasticks" by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt four times during the college’s Fall Festival, Sept. 29-Oct. 2. Stage director is Peggy Mead-Finizio, adjunct instructor of communication arts and head of the Phi Kappa dance program in Newton. Musical director is Kathryn Kasper, associate professor of music.

Performances are set for 7:30 p.m. Sept. 29-30, 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 1 and 2 p.m. on Oct. 2 in Krehbiel Auditorium of the Fine Arts Center on the Bethel College campus. Tickets are $10 for adults, $9 for students and adults 65 and older and $6.50 for children ages 3-12.

All seats are reserved and sell-outs are expected. For tickets, call the Thresher Bookstore ticket line at (316) 284-5281.

"The Fantasticks" is the longest running musical in the world and the longest running show of any kind in the United States. The story line features a girl, a boy, two parents and a professional abductor, who is also the narrator, named El Gallo. The two parents pretend to feud in an attempt to bring their children together, with the hopes that they will some day marry each other. As the play progresses, the parents realize they need to end the feud by employing El Gallo to stage an abduction. The abduction goes as planned, but the children’s reactions to each other are not what had been expected.

Set designer is Arlo Kasper, 1961 Bethel College graduate and retired professor of theater. This year’s production marks the fourth time he will have been involved in production of "The Fantasticks" at Bethel College, either as part of a community theater show or Fall Festival.

"It’s one of those pieces of live theater that uses the audience’s imagination to make it work," said Arlo Kasper. "Even though it has a simple plot, it has a real variety of theatrical elements."

Cast includes Jenna Boettger, freshman from Hesston, as Henry; Daniel Graber, sophomore from Marion, S.D., as El Gallo; Kristin Wedel, sophomore from Hutchinson, as the mute; Chelsea Chaffin, sophomore from Lawrence, as Hucklebee; Andrew Findley, sophomore from Lawrence, as Bellomy; Caitlin Welch, junior from Lawrence, as Luisa; Ben Kliewer, sophomore from Buhler, as Matt; Angela Carriker, senior from Colby, as Mortimer.

Bethel College hosts its 35th annual Fall Festival Sept. 29-Oct. 2. Other weekend activities on campus include food and entertainment for all ages, arts and crafts, alumni gatherings, athletic events and the dedication of the new $5.5 million sports complex.

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