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Talking Tombstones Date Set for October 15, 2016

Oct 3, 2016


Hutchinson, Kan. – Stage 9 will hold its annual fundraising event, Talking Tombstones, on October 15, 2016, featuring actors who portray dearly departed residents of Hutchinson and Reno County, whose spirits reside at Eastside Cemetery. There will be two performances, 5:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

As a special celebration of Stage 9’s 100th Anniversary and the 10th Anniversary of Talking Tombstones, ten characters have been selected for revival.  Only five characters are presented in each tour with a discounted ticket price offered to patrons who want to see the entire event. 

Guides will lead the way through the historical tombstones as actors bring voices from the past to life. This year’s resurrected local residents and the actors portraying them are:

Thurman J. Bixler, bottler, inventor, and entertainer (Bob Colladay)
Sister Broadwell, sister to Dalton Gang member, Dick Broadwell (Marcie McKinnell)
Mary Collingwood, early settler of Pretty Prairie (Sarah Kovach)
The Harvey Girl, iconic waitress of the Harvey Houses (Sarah Winkler)
Solomon Butler, Olympic caliber athlete (John Zackery II)
Mattie Moore Blanchard, grieving mother of five children (Deidre Mattox)
Rivers Banks, early Reno County pioneer, Civil War Veteran, orchard founder (Jordan Gajewski)
Bernice Delano, young spurned ingénue (Nikki Hase)
Samuel Slack, early Hutchinson settler (Bob Callahan)
Ann Owens, freed slave and local Hutchinson resident (Jocelyn Woodson)

Talking Tombstones will be held on Saturday, October 15, 2016. Eastside Cemetery, located across from the Hutchinson Correctional Facility on Severance Street, will serve as the location for the fundraiser. The two walking tours will take place at 5:30 p.m. and at 8:00 p.m. with each tour featuring five of the characters listed above.  To get the full Talking Tombstones experience in 2016, attendees are encouraged to attend both tours so there is an opportunity to see all ten characters.  Patrons are requested to check in with Stage 9 representatives 10 to 15 minutes in advance of both the 5:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. performance.

Talking Tombstones is a partnership with several local organizations. The characters in the fundraiser are researched by the Reno County Genealogical Society throughout the year.  Charles Johnston and Peggy Livingston, the directors of the event, utilize the information researched to write scripts, audition actors, and assist in preparing their performances.

Besides the bonus characters added for this special anniversary edition of Talking Tombstones, new for 2016, Lynn Ledeboer, Curator of the Reno County Museum, will provide a fascinating look at funerary related artifacts from local funeral homes as well as a related mystery artifact recently donated to the museum. The program will take place just after the 5:30 p.m. tour ends and before the beginning of the 8:00 p.m. tour, at approximately 7:15 pm.  The program will occur near the mausoleum. 

Tickets are $20 for general admission to the event. Two tour ticket packages are available for $30.  The program at 7:15 pm is included in the price of admission. Tickets may be purchased in advance online at stage9hutch.com as well as at Apron Strings, located at the intersection of Sherman and Main Street in downtown Hutchinson. Patrons may also purchase tickets at the mausoleum thirty minutes prior to a performance. 

For additional information about the performance, please contact Stage 9 by email at info@stage9hutch.com or by phone at 316-350-PLAY (7529).

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Stage 9’s mission is to produce and offer to the public community-based theatrical productions and to educate and promote interest and enjoyment of the dramatic arts in Hutchinson, Kansas.  A 501(c)3 organization, Stage 9 strives to produce quality entertainment and provide opportunities for artistic expression for all Hutchinson community members, specifically focused on ages 18 and up.  At home at 9 S. Main in downtown Hutchinson, Stage 9’s 100th Anniversary 2016 Season features Ellen McLaughlin’s adaptation of The Trojan Women, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare [Abridged], Long, Singer and Winfield’s hysterical comedy romp, Menken and Ashman’s off-Broadway smash Little Shop of Horrors, the hard-hitting modern drama Time Stands Still by Donald Margulies, Stage 9’s popular hit Greater Tuna by Howard, Williams and Sears, the crowd pleasing Nunsense! the musical  by Dan Goggin, Stage 9’s annual fundraiser Talking Tombstones and Sarah Ruhl’s quirky comedy Dead Man’s Cell Phone.