Fringe success develops to full length production


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Prairie Village Playwright/Producer David Hill Expands 2016 KC Fringe Hit


Kansas City, MO (August 11, 2017): Hear the rest of the story! Story of the Century, the musical that won Best of Venue at the Unicorn Levin Stage and played to three sold out houses at the 2016 KC Fringe Festival, returns as a complete two-act script and score. Be among the first to hear this full-length script-in-hand workshop staged reading of the original musical about the invention of the Ezekiel Airship, an airplane designed and built by Burrell Cannon that flew one year before the Wright Brothers’ historic flight. Set in Pittsburg, Texas in 1902 and combining historic events with fictional characters, the musical captures the spirit of the era with rollicking melodies, social consciousness, and heart. Was Cannon a revolutionary inventor, a visionary prophet, or a misguided dreamer? This is the question that newspaper reporter Elmer Baker hopes to answer in writing the “Story of the Century”. Two staged readings of the musical will take place August 19 and 20 at Avila University’s Goppert Theatre.


When asked what audiences can expect and how this reading will differ from the 2016 performance, playwright and producer David Hill said, “The script has been expanded from 60 minutes to just under two hours and will be performed as a reading without sets, costumes, or choreography.” He added, “This reading will allow us to hear how the writing works for the actors and how it plays to an audience before we produce the next full production. It promises to be a sparkling, captivating performance with new songs and much of the same creative team and cast. Those who attended the musical last summer during the KC Fringe Festival are in for some big surprises.” Audience members are invited to provide feedback during post-show talkbacks with the creative team and cast after each reading.


The production team is led by writer/producer David Hill who has once again teamed up with director Dr. Chris McCoy, music director/arranger Brant Challacombe, and production manager Marybeth Sorrell. The cast includes Matthew Henrickson as Burrell Cannon, Valerie Bracken-Dykes as Amanda Cannon, Heather Michele Lawler as Ivey Compton, Steven Ansel as Elmer Baker, Ashley Jones as June Perry, De’Markcus Howell as Oliver Perry, and Joshua Gleeson as Paul Thorsell. The ensemble includes Doug Jones, Maureen Hill, Connor Eastman, Michael Scahill, Halley Sageng Hale, Laura Schwartz, Courtney Koval, and Carrie Lenahan.

The two staged readings will be held Saturday, August 19 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, August 20 at 3:00 pm and will be held at Avila University’s Goppert Theatre located at 11901 Wornall (at 118th and Wornall), Kansas City, Missouri 64145.  Suitable for all ages. Admission is free, but donations to support the workshop are welcome at the production’s Indiegogo campaign:


About The Playwright/Producer

David Hill was born and reared in Texas, but his family has lived in Prairie Village, Kansas for over thirty years. He first learned about the Ezekiel Airship 25 years ago when his family visited Greenville, Texas. After being told about the full scale model of the Ezekiel Airship, then on display in the Warrick Restaurant in Pittsburg, Texas, and driving to see it the next day, the story of the Ezekiel Airship and pursuit of telling its story has been a passion ever since.  The full scale replica of the Ezekiel Airship is now displayed at the Northeast Texas Rural Heritage Museum in Pittsburg, Texas.


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