, Muskogee, OK

May 15, 2014

MHS takes ‘Osage County’ challenge during tough time

By Cathy Spaulding
Phoenix Staff Writer

— It’s the last month of the school year — state tests, final exams, graduation.

Perfect time for a show, right?

Muskogee High School performing arts students will put on not just a show, but a complex, dark comedy.

Students will present “August: Osage County” at 7:30 p.m. tonight at Muskogee Little Theatre.

“This is the most challenging time of the year,” said MHS senior Trae Havens, who directed the show. “But we have a very dedicated cast and crew.”

MHS students are performing as well as doing backstage and design work, he said.

“Everything you see here was done by students,” Havens said, showing the homelike set on stage and photo frames along the theater walls. “It was cut by students. Costumes were designed by students. That’s what makes me most proud.”

The play by Tracy Letts focuses on an Oklahoma family in Osage County.

MHS junior Maci Conaway plays the lead character, Violet, whose husband has been missing for more than five days.

“She’s a very diverse character,” Maci said. “She’s addicted to different types of pills, which affect her in different ways, so you have to adapt your acting.”

Maci said she could “definitely relate Violet to a combination of all my grandparents.”

Another character, Steve, reminds her of her uncle.

“He’s a very playful character,” she said.

Maci said she has been amazed at the hard work students put into the play.

“We’ve got our EOIs and AP tests going on,” she said, referring to End of Instruction and Advanced Placement tests. “But Trae Havens has been great about getting us out in time to study.”

MHS theater coach Penny McGill, the play’s producer, said students often put on “some kind of spring show.”

However, Havens chose to do a more challenging show, McGill said.

“Muskogee Little Theatre has been awesome to us,” she said, adding that the MHS Performing Arts Center would have been too large for such an intimate show.

“I thought it would be a challenging piece for the class,” Havens said. “It’s a beautiful piece about Oklahoma and real Oklahoma relationships.”

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or

The cast

• Violet: Maci Conaway.

• Barbara: Adisen Hamm.

• Bill: Patrick Kays.

• Jean: Luci Whitaker.

• Ivy: Kate Lester.

• Karen: Drew Hutchison.

• Mattie Fae: Ashley Luckey.

• Charlie Aiken: Ashtonn Thompson.

• Little Charles: Aundre Parish.

• Johnna: Maria Fernanda Coronado Pineda.

• Steve: Ryan Summerhill.

• Sheriff: Jordan Meggyes.

• Male Understudy: Omar Ortiz.

The crew

• Director: Trae Havens.

• Technical director: Jeran McGill.

• Stage manager: GeorgiAnn Johnson.

• Stage crew: Rachel Cragg, Maria Jose Coronado, Sara Smythe, Chianna Szalay, Maryah Reavis and Samantha Shafer.

• Theater coach/producer: Penny McGill.