Fragrant and velvety air settles over Hesston College’s theater department

by JD Hershberger – Horizon Sports Editor

Hesston College has a proud tradition of theater. Just look at the success of last year’s fantastic shows, “The Boys Next Door” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” as all the proof you need that that tradition is alive today. But many might not know too much about said history. How did it all begin?

On September 29, Laura Kraybill and Bradley Kaufmann plan to tell you all you’ll ever need to know about it in the humorous and heartwarming original play “The Fragrant and Velvety Air.” The play is a mock radio show that combines skits, music, and audience participation to teach its listeners all about the beginnings of HC’s performing arts history, while giving a little fictitious filler along the way.

“Oh my gosh, I’m so excited!” exclaimed Kraybill of the upcoming show, which will be performed on homecoming weekend and performed by a diverse cast of current students, alumni, and faculty.

“It’ll be a lot of fun for the audience, not just because they get to interact in the play, but also because it’s written in such a way that they can really connect with what’s going on, and have a laugh while they’re at it.”

“I am very excited to be a part of it,” said Mitch Stutzman, and RD and actor in the upcoming production. “Playing multiple roles should be a lot of fun, because the structure of the show allows you to do a lot more exaggerated vocal acting, which makes jumping between characters enjoyable.”

Stutzman most notably plays the role of the narrator, the principal character. Anyone who has seen or heard the show “A Prairie Home Companion” will be able to identify Stutzman’s character as the Garrison Keillor of this show.

Stutzman also said this production stands out because it was written by faculty members, Kraybill and Kaufmann.

“It’s rare to see a show that’s written by faculty, and I think because of that the audience should be expecting a lot more authentic of a show in terms of representing Hesston College.”

The cast of “The Fragrant and Velvety Air” consists of Stutzman, Kraybill, Kaedi LeFevre, Cory Bowman, Margaret Wiebe, Tien Tran, Howard Keim and JD Hershberger, among others. Musical acts include our very own Cameron Ponce, The Tall Grass Wanderers led by Tim Shue, Ken Rodgers on piano, the Sunflower Trio, and J.D. Martin and Jan Garrett.

The show will begin at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $10 for adults but are free for children under 12 and Hesston College students.

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