BTG hopes ‘Firecracker Contest’ is red hot

  “The Miss Firecracker Contest” is a play by Beth Henley which will be performed by the Beverly Theatre Guild May 16 through May 18 at the Morgan Park Academy Arts Center’s Baer Theater.
  Fred Eberle, a lifelong resident of Beverly/Mt.Greewood and Jeff Ortmann of Oak Lawn are the producers of this Southern Gothic comedy/tragedy. The director, Beth Lynch-Giddings from Blue Island, captures this play’s quirky characters while producing a positive message about self-confidence, courage, perseverance, and compassion with warmth and humor.
  It takes place in a small Mississippi town in the 1980’s on the 4th of July weekend during the town’s annual holiday celebration. Pageants, particularly in the South, are important events and truly exemplify all the qualities one would expect to find in a Southern woman, as well as stressing the importance of class and community. Often in Southern pageants, the winner is chosen not because of her beauty or merit, but simply because of her family connections, social standing, and the values of her community. This is where these characters of Miss Firecracker give us the humor and what the perception of how important, or not, a pageant is like in their small town.
  Carnelle, played by Kathy Oliva (Crestwood), is an orphan with more than just a spotty reputation around town. She has entered the pageant which she has been talking about for years. Her pampered first cousin Elain, Laura Wolframski (Chicago), has come to town to deliver a speech for the Miss Firecracker Contest which she won 14 years earlier and made her a local celebrity. Elain’s brother Delmount, played by Brian Whitlock (Beverly), shows up unexpectedly, determined to sell the family home his mother left him and start a new life following a stint in a mental institution.
  Elaine Cosgrove Casey (Alsip) is playing the sweet and quirky seamstress, Popeye, who is a new comer to town and falls in love with Delmount instantly. While Tessy, Katy Franklin (Oak Park), who has a past with Delmount, runs the contest backstage. At the contest, Carnell meets an old boyfriend, Mac Sam played by Jason Taylor (Pullman), a carney who is sickly but still gets a kick out of life.
  A Dinner/Theatre Promotion from Jenny’s Steakhouse 111th Street (11041 Menard Ave, Chicago Ridge) for all three shows for $39. For more information and to make reservations for this package deal call Jenny’s Steakhouse at 708-229-2272.
  All performances will at the Baer Theater located at Morgan Park Academy Arts Center, 2153 W. 111th Street in Chicago. The May 16 and 17 performances at at 8 p.m. and the May 18 matinee is at 2 p.m.
  To reserve tickets call 773-284-8497 or order on line at Tickets are $20 and discounted Group Sale Tickets are available.
— Submitted by Beverly Theatre Guild