The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

July 21, 2013

Andra Bryan Stefanoni: Laundry can wait; the theater beckons

PITTSBURG, Kan. — As I write this, I am surrounded by piles of dirty laundry, which explains why I can’t find any clean underwear or matching socks.

I cannot with certainty remember what day my children last bathed. And none of us has been to bed even close to an appropriate time since July began and for much of June.

We’ve had to come to grips this summer with letting go of our usual disciplined and healthy routine. It’s called theater.

What gives me comfort and reassurance is that there are at least 100 other people from throughout the region who also are surrounded by piles of dirty laundry and have nothing in their refrigerators but leftover Chinese takeout.

We’re all part of the cast and crew of “The Wizard of Oz,” which opens Thursday at Memorial Auditorium as Pittsburg Community Theatre’s summer show. We began work six weeks ago.

I play the minor role of an Ozian and help with moving set pieces, while my 8-year-old son and 12-year-old son play dual roles as Munchkins and Ozians and also assist with moving set pieces. It has benefited them in countless ways, and it has been a privilege for us to work with the fascinating array of unique and talented people who make up the cast and crew.

I could write a story about each and every one of them.

Joella Reid, my seventh-grade drama and vocal teacher and now Aunt Em, has baked dozens of cookies so during rehearsals she can put actual cookies in the basket she carries on stage and offer them to her farmhands as a treat. (The rest she froze in order to have enough to get through five performances this week.)

Pam Hurt, whose daughter Cassie Hurt-McLarty has many roles in the production, goes to work at midnight delivering The Joplin Globe in the Pittsburg area and gets done about 6 a.m. She is at the auditorium faithfully each evening to work as a crew member behind the scenes, creating and moving sets, helping with costumes, and supporting Cassie whatever it takes. It’s a wonder she’s still standing.

Greg and Angie Shaw and their daughter McKenna have taken turns bringing their 3-year-old dog, Bear, to rehearsal each night so that we have a live “Toto.” He’s a trouper. Greg, who is the theater teacher at Pittsburg High School, also has been directing a show this summer in Kansas City. McKenna performed in a Kansas City show, and Angie maintained an OB-GYN’s hours and jockeyed between the two towns.

At least two young performers have been commuting each evening from Joplin, Mo., another from Galena and another from Carthage, Mo. Their parents, who get them here by 6:30 p.m. and watch them rehearse until at least 10 p.m., are to be commended.

Dance director Kaye Lewis, who also commutes from Galena, is burning the candle at both ends while in simultaneous rehearsals for “Alice in Wonderland,” which her Midwest Regional Ballet based out of Joplin will perform this fall at Memorial Auditorium.

Barbara York, the 64-year-old mother of the show’s musical director, Megan Gabehart (and herself a veteran Kansas City concert accompanist, music director and composer) has put in hours and hours at the piano each evening for weeks as the rehearsal accompanist.

The bond we share is that we all are there for one reason, which is to create something out of nothing, and to start with an empty stage and a head full of ideas and transform that into two hours of hopefully flawless entertainment that will end in applause — perhaps even a standing ovation.

Sadly, by Sunday evening we again will have an empty stage. But we will have memories, and so will our audiences.

To heck with the dirty laundry. It will get clean eventually. Until then, on with the show!

FOLLOW ANDRA STEFANONI on Facebook at and on Twitter @AndraStefanoni.

Text Only
Local News
  • Groundbreaking set for MSSU residence hall complex

    A groundbreaking ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. Monday, April 28, for the new residence hall complex at Missouri Southern State University.

    April 24, 2014

  • Pittsburg kicks off season of art walks

    Pittsburg ArtWalk will kick off its season Friday in downtown Pittsburg from 5 to 9 p.m. with more than 40 artists and organizations and a few new components.

    April 24, 2014

  • New Powell bridge to open today

    Great River Associates engineer Spencer Jones, of Springfield, is planning a final inspection of the new Powell bridge on Cowan Road off Route E, to be followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 3 p.m. today. The initial cost for the bridge was put at $800,000.

    April 23, 2014

  • Pitt State Pecha Kucha set for Friday

    The presenters at Pittsburg State University’s spring Pecha Kucha night may struggle with how to pronounce the event, but they all agree on how it works.

    April 24, 2014

  • PSU Student Center groundbreaking set for April 30

    In 2039, Pittsburg State Students will open a time capsule and get a picture of what life was like on campus today. Filling that time capsule will be one of the tasks at a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday, April 30, to kick off a major expansion and renovation of the Overman Student Center at PSU.

    April 24, 2014

  • Missouri lawmakers file three resolutions calling for impeaching governor

    While Gov. Jay Nixon was in Nevada, Mo., on Wednesday, a Missouri House panel led by Republicans began hearing arguments on three measures calling for impeaching him. Nixon has downplayed the proceedings as a legislative “publicity stunt.” One resolution, sponsored by Rep. Mike Moon, R-Ash Grove, is critical of Nixon for waiting several months to call special elections to fill three vacated House seats.

    April 23, 2014

  • r042314psumove2.jpg SLIDE SHOW: Moving day for biology and chemistry building at Pittsburg State

    They didn’t all go two-by-two, and the person in charge wasn’t named Noah, but nonetheless, critters of all shapes and sizes were on the move Wednesday. Students, volunteers and staff members helped Delia Lister, director of Nature Reach, relocate everything from a pair of prairie dogs to a vocal macaw named Charlie so that Heckert-Wells Hall — the biology and chemistry building where they are housed on the campus of Pittsburg State University — can undergo a $4.4 million transformation in the coming months.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos 1 Slideshow

  • Respond With Love flower.jpg Joplin pays it forward with flowers; residents asked to return bulbs ‘fostered’ for other towns

    Suzan Morang’s front yard bloomed brightly last year from a colorful array of bulbs that she will happily pass on to someone else this year. Morang, 1207 Xenia Court, is a participant in America Responds With Love, a national nonprofit organization that distributes bulbs to disaster-stricken cities.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Former Webb City teacher charged with sexual contact with student

    A former Webb City High School choir teacher was charged Tuesday in Jasper County Circuit Court with having sexual contact with a student. According to a probable-cause statement, Carrie Njoroge, 30, of Oronogo, had consensual sexual intercourse with an 18-year-old male student in her office at Webb City High School during the evening hours of April 15.

    April 23, 2014

  • Mike Pound 2010.jpg Mike Pound: Spring a great time to visit Carver monument

    It occurred to me when the woman passed me — for the second time — as I ambled along the walking trail at George Washington Carver National Monument that perhaps I should step up the pace of my amble. The only problem is, the walking trail at the monument isn’t a place that necessarily inspires a stepped-up amble. To me, the Carver monument is a place to linger.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

Must Read


A Missouri Senate committee has adopted a state budget provision that would prevent public colleges and universities from offering in-state tuition rates to students living in the country illegally. Do you agree with this?

     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter