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February 15, 2013

Blinn brings American classic to the Brenham stage

Students to perform ‘Biloxi Blues’ Feb. 21-24 at O’Donnell Center

Aaron Cravens of Crockett, Texas (left) and Austin Allie of Brenham (right) The Blinn College – Brenham campus theatre arts program will tell the story of a 20-year-old sent to World War II basic training in the semi-autobiographical play “Biloxi Blues.”

Curtain times are 7 p.m. Feb. 21-23 and 2 p.m. Feb. 24 at the Dr. W.W. O’Donnell Performing Arts Center (map). Tickets are free for Blinn faculty, staff and administrators, and students receive two free tickets with their College ID. General admission is $5. Advance tickets are available at  the O’Donnell Center box office: 979-830-4024.

“Biloxi” is the second installation in Neil Simon’s Eugene trilogy that began with “Brighton Beach Memoirs” and concluded with “Broadway Bound,” portraying the misadventures of Eugene Morris Jerome as he goes through basic training in Biloxi, Miss.

“You see the fear they deal with,” said Theatre Arts Director Bradley Nies, who directs the play. “Everything is based around the fact that all these young men are scared to death and they’re finding ways to overcome their fear.”

Brenham native Austin Allie stars as Jerome. The rest of the cast includes: Tyler Morton (Sealy) as Joseph Wykowski, Nathan Maler (Houston) as Roy Selridge, Robbie Keucker (Brenham) as Don Carney, Zachary Yoke (Leander) as Arnold Epstein, Christina Daigle (Hempstead) as James Hennesey, Aaron Cravens (Crockett) as Sgt. Merwin J. Toomey and Karen Rush (Houston) as Daisy Hannigan.

The rest of the production company includes: Josh Blocker (Dallas), Nora Hunt (Sugar Land), Gabby Robertson (Onalaska), Jericka Gaskamp (Brenham), Amy Kirkland (La Grange), Colleen Dougan (Brenham), Hayley Wilder (Bellville), Jamie Calhoun (Franklin), Nathaniel Guitron (Caldwell), Michael Kimmel (Caldwell), Emma Russell (Houston), Corrine Booth (Austin), Brandon Theut (Columbus), Caitlin Drury (Livingston), Jen Cegielski (Brenham) and Sundi Lee (Grapeland).

Technical Theatre Arts Professor Kevin Patrick serves as technical director and Instructor Jennifer Patrick is the costume designer and guest artist.

The Blinn chapters of Delta Psi Omega and the U.S. Institute for Theatre Technology will join with the First United Methodist Church Children’s Ministry to collect items at the door to send to a family in Afghanistan. Items needed include: travel-sized toiletries, razors, baby wipes, candy, beef jerky, granola bars, trail mix, nuts, powdered drink mixes and entertainment items such as magazines, books and puzzle books.

The play is the third performance in Blinn’s 2012-13 theatre season, “An American Year.” The season kicked off with “Enron” in October and “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” in November, and will conclude with “An Evening of Tennessee Williams” in April.

Blinn’s theatre arts program offers a quality educational foundation through study, application and experience. For more information, visit

PHOTO – Aaron Cravens of Crockett, Texas (left) and Austin Allie of Brenham (right) will take to the Dr. W.W. O’Donnell Performing Arts Center stage Feb. 21-24 on the Blinn College – Brenham campus for four performances of “Biloxi Blues” by Neil Simon. Tickets are available at the O’Donnell Center box office.