The cast of Ohio University Eastern Theater's "Miss Firecracker"
The cast of Ohio University Eastern Theater’s “Miss Firecracker” (photo provided)

OU-Eastern Theater Presents “The Miss Firecracker Contest”

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The Theater Department of Ohio University Eastern will present Beth Henley’s hilarious comedy The Miss Firecracker Contest Nov. 13-15 and Nov. 20-22 in the Shannon Hall Theater.

Thursday night performances begin at 7 p.m. and Friday and Saturday performances begin at 8 p.m.

First produced in 1984 with Holly Hunter in the lead role, the play focuses on the quirky, down-on-their-luck residents of Brookhaven, Miss.

Carnelle Scott, also known as “Miss Hot Tamale,” has hopes of winning the Miss Firecracker Contest to atone for her past. She is soon joined by her cousin Elain, who has just left her rich but boring husband, and her cousin Delmount, who has just been released from a mental institution.

Add a wacky, myopic seamstress named Popeye and a lusty, tubercular balloon man, and the recipe for humor is complete.

The true genius of the play, however, is that these exaggerated, cartoon-like characters are closely drawn, with poignant human frailties.

“One minute the audience can be convulsed with laughter, and then immediately the truly desperate lives of these characters come into sharp focus. It is a huge acting challenge, but these are roles that actors covet,” OUE Theater Director Dennis Fox remarked.

The New Yorker called the play “A story with suspense and conflict—but where it shines is in the imagination of the playwright, in the characters she has created, in the strangeness and depth of their emotions.”

The OUE Theater cast includes first-year student Katrina Scatterday of Barnesville as Carnelle Scott in her first OUE Theater performance. Playing Popeye Jackson is Sam Campbell of Barnesville. Campbell is a junior at OUE and this is also her debut theater appearance at OUE. Danielle DeNoble of St. Clairsville has the role of Elain Rutledge. DeNoble is a first-year student and an OUE Theatre first-timer.

Sophomore Derek DeMattio of Richmond is playing Delmount Williams. DeMattio was last seen as Claudio in Much Ado About Nothing. Joshua Wayne Harris of Richmond, Va., is playing Mac Sam. This is Harris’s first role with OUE Theater. Kayla Ernest of Shadyside is cast as Tessy Mahoney. Ernest, a junior at OUE, was last seen as Hugh Oatcake in Much Ado About Nothing.

For more information and to make reservations, contact Dennis Fox at (740) 699-2340 or