Oklahoma Baptist University

Child's Zebra Story to Grace OBU Stage

With a full cast of children and students and an original score written for their production, the Oklahoma Baptist University theatre department will explore the legacy of a young cancer victim in "Zink: The Myth, the Legend, The Zebra," running on the Sarkey's Theatre stage Feb. 23, 24 and March 2,3.

"Zink" is directed by Laura S. Byland, OBU assistant professor of theatre. The original musical score was composed by OBU graduate Bradley Hart Morris.

The play for young audiences is an imaginative, funny and heartbreaking story about true courage in the face of unpredictable predators. It follows the relationship between Becky, a young girl hospitalized with leukemia, played by Shawnee resident Kai McGraw, and her make-believe herd of guardian-angel zebras on the African Savannah.

Written by Cherie Bennett and based on a short story written by 11-year-old Kelly Weil before she died from leukemia in 1993, "Zink" is a story that entertains and teaches.

After Kelly's death, her parents founded the Zink the Zebra Foundation in her memory. The Foundation is dedicated to encouraging understanding, respect, compassion and acceptance of the ill.

"Adults need to hear and experience this story and the message it has too," Byland said. "We wanted to do something more than just entertainment."

A seasoned specialist in children's theatre, Byland chose "Zink" as this year's production because of its simple message and cast of child actors that will capture the attention of young audiences.

"Children will immediately be drawn in by this show," she said.

Shawnee children performing in the play are McGraw, Jordan Robinson, Rebekah Byland, Amy Conrad, Jennifer Jett, Hannah Byland, Karlie Dillman, and Jeremy Richardson.

Freshmen Christy Hall and Andra Dunn, sophomore Lucas Roeschley, juniors Michael Clack, Josh Peterson, Brandon Roye, Kelli Kiser, Brady Gibson and senior Kara DeAnn make up the OBU student-cast.

Melinda D. Christian created the original choreography for the performance and adjunct instructor of costume design Dottie DeLeon served as costume designer. Other crewmembers include DeAnn, make-up design, and Byland, scenic and lighting design.

Senior Jamie Henniger is the assistant director. The production crew includes: junior Tana Fleming,, stage manager; sophomore Brian Knop, band conductor; assistant professor of telecommunication David Byland, master carpenter; Shelley Rinehart, house manager; and senior Elizabeth Hunt, property manager.

Elementary schools that will attend day-performances of the show include Horace Mann, Sequoyah, Will Rogers, Wanette, Pleasant Grove Earlsboro, Varnum, Bethel, North Rock Creek, Dale, Cross Timbers, Liberty, and local homeschool organizations.

For ticket information for evening performances call OBU's office of communication arts at 878-2347.

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