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The Matchmaker Fundraiser for Theatre Festival

(from left) Jaime Pearsons, Kade Hill, Allison  Relihan, and Ethan Selby (under the table)
(from left) Jaime Pearsons, Kade Hill, Allison Relihan, and Ethan Selby (under the table)

KEENE, N.H., 01/15/09 - Keene State College students, staff, and community members will present an encore performance of The Matchmaker, the engaging comedy by Thornton Wilder, to help the cast raise funds to attend the Region I Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. Directed by PeggyRae Johnson, the play will be staged Saturday, Jan. 24, at 7:30 p.m. at the Redfern Arts Center on Brickyard Pond. Admission is by donation at the door. For more information, call the Theatre and Dance Department at 603-358-2162.

This year’s Region I festival will be held at Fitchburg State College Jan. 27-Feb. 1, bringing students and faculty together to see some of the area’s strongest productions, participate in workshops, and compete in a variety of areas in theatrical performance, design, and production. Keene State College was honored to be one of five New England colleges selected from the 116 adjudicated for inclusion in the festival. The cost to transport and stage the production in Fitchburg will be several thousand dollars. If you cannot attend the production and would like to make a donation, please mail it to KSC Theatre and Dance Dept. with the memo “The Matchmaker fund,” Keene State College, 229 Main St., Keene, NH 03435-2407.

Best known for his play Our Town, Wilder turns to Moliere for his inspiration for this fast-paced farce. Set in 1880 during stressful economic times, the storyline is a constant banter between the materialistic versus humanistic views of successful Yonkers merchant Horace Vandergelder and the meddlesome matchmaker Dolly Levi, hired to find a wife for him. The plot gets wildly complicated when Vandergelder’s clerks, Cornelius and Barnaby, and two young women in a hat shop inadvertently involve themselves in a rollicking quest for adventure.

The collaborative art of theatre will be portrayed in The Matchmaker’s old- time playhouse setting, showcasing several community members: Stephen Breck of Westmoreland will provide live piano music; two Keene-based barbershop quartets (Heart’s Accord and Junction 135), all of which are members of The Cheshiremen, will entertain between scenes; and the dance duo, Big Blue Eyes of Monadnock Performing Arts Academy in Peterborough, N.H., will perform soft- shoe. Additionally, Keene resident Catherine Behrens, founder and director of Hourglass Players, will play the part of Miss Van Huysen.

In addition to the fourteen KSC students in the cast, Liz Panneton (‘09) of Merrimack, N.H., is lighting designer, and Gilly Clarke-Moon (‘09) of Keene, N.H., is stage manager. Several Theatre and Dance Department faculty members are involved in the production: Craig Lindsay is technical director, Mary Robarge is costume designer, and Jenny Fulton is set designer. Daniel Patterson, chair of the Theatre and Dance Department, is production manager and is making a cameo appearance as Joe, the Barber.

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229 Main Street
Keene, New Hampshire 03435