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Theatre to present “Silent Sky,” a powerful portrayal of a woman’s work with the stars

Silent Sky

The Hesston College Theatre department will present five performances of “Silent Sky,” a play by Lauren Gunderson about pioneering astronomer Henrietta Leavitt, portrayed by sophomore Kaytlen Keough. The show is directed by theatre professor Rachel Jantzi and will feature live music by Hesston faculty members Dr. Holly Swartzendruber and Ken Rodgers. Performances will take place at Hesston High School Auditorium Feb. 27 and 28. Saturday’s showtimes are at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., and Sunday’s show begins at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $5 for students, $10 for adults and can be reserved through the Hesston College Bookstore at hesston.edu/bookstore or by phone at 620-327-8105 or may be purchased on site. Seating is limited and will be socially distanced and masks are required. The show is rated PG + 10 and up.

Inspired by actual events, Leavitt’s story starts early in the 20th century, during which time she discovered more than 2,400 variable stars, which was about half of the known total in her day. However, Leavitt’s most important contribution was calculating distances to stars up to 10 million light years away. According to PBS, Leavitt’s measurements became the “yardstick to the universe.”

“We are so excited to tell Henrietta Leavitt’s story,” said Jantzi. “The play is an exploration of not only the stars, but the extraordinary woman whose work helped us get a little closer to them.”

The cast and crew for “Silent Sky” are as follows:

Cast . . . . . Role
Kaytlen Keough (Albany, Ore.) . . . . . Henrietta
Savannah Zink (McPherson, Kan.) . . . . . Williamina
Kelly Miller (Archbold, Ohio) . . . . . Annie
Rachel Weaver (Broadway, Va.) . . . . . Margaret
Xavier Jang (Siheung-si, South Korea) . . . . . Peter

Crew . . . . . Position
Alex Miller (Arlington, Kan.) . . . . . Stage Manager
Kayla Gunn (Hillsboro, Kan.) . . . . . Assistant Stage Manager
Tristan Costin (Goddard, Kan.) . . . . . Assistant Light Designer
Jacob Hess (Harrisonburg, Va.) . . . . . Light Board Operator
Josh Fleming (Raymore, Mo.) . . . . . Sound Board Operator
Shanti Kauffman (Sheridan, Ore.) . . . . . Costume/Hair/Makeup Crew Chief
Diane Soguilon (Newton, Kan.) . . . . . Costume Crew
Madison Higdon (Fort Collins, Colo.) . . . . . Props Master
Silas Nicholson (Hesston, Kan.) . . . . . House Manager
Isaac Tice (Hutchinson, Kan.) . . . . . Head Usher