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Former MMCC student directs My Antonia

MT. PLEASANT — In 1991, Craig Hutchins was in the chorus of Hello Dolly at MMCC. The next year he was in Charlie’s Aunt and that is where his directing skills got started.  Nearly 20 years later, he’s directing My Antonia at the Broadway Theatre in downtown Mt. Pleasant.

“When I did Charlie’s Aunt I was also the assistant director in charge of working with the actors,” Hutchins said. “ A couple of years later I was attending The Art Institute of Pittsburgh and I directed a couple of short clips there for a video class.”

Hutchins found himself missing the theater but wasn’t interested in acting. Cameron Lovett, a member of the Friends of the Broadway Board of Directors, got him in touch with the chair of The Broadway Players.

“He put me in touch with Lauren McConnell who adapted My Antonia from the book, and we sat down and discussed her vision and reinvoked my passion for the theater,” Hutchins said. “At that point she gave me the opportunity to direct this play and I have been loving every minute of it since.”

The Broadway Players will be presenting a version of My Antonia adapted by McConnell of Mt. Pleasant. Adapted from Willa Cather’s groundbreaking novel, the show tells of the friendship and coming of age of two young people as they grow up in Blackhawk, NE at the turn of the 20th century. It’s filled with humorous incidents, touching moments, and larger-than-life characters.

My Antonia will be presented at 7 p.m. June 14, 15 and 16 and at 2 p.m. on June 17. Tickets are $8 each and will be on sale in advance at Ace of Diamonds, Ric’s Food Center, the Friends of the Broadway web site (www.friendsofthebroadway.org), and at the Broadway Box Office an hour and a half before show time.

Cast list:
Narrator Jim – Jeremy Smith
Jim/Vendor – Alex Barill
Young Jim – Ryan Smith
Young Antonia/Townsperson – Adreanah Griffin-Strand
Antonia – Arlena Tyree
Grandmother – Cindy Kilmer
Otto Fuchs/Russian Husband – Devin Snider, former MMCC student
Mr. Shimerda/Conductor/Harry – Thomas Trenkamp
Mrs. Shimerda/Russian Bride/Passenger 3 – Cynthia Drake
Yulka/Anna – Emmalee Morrow
Nina/Passenger 4 – Samantha Carrier
Mrs. Harling/Passenger 1 – Lindsey Read
Cutter/Vanni/Pavel/Passenger 2 – Brian Ketner
Peter/Tramp – Joe Conrad

(Janet Sowle, Laker Current Editor, contributed to this story.)

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