Humor ignites “Miss Firecracker Contest”

A woman looking to salvage her tarnished reputation by winning a small town beauty pageant ignites an evening of explosive humor in the bittersweet comedy, “The Miss Firecracker Contest,” being presented on-stage by Hastings Community Theatre.

Show times are 7:30 p.m. Friday; 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday (no performance Easter Sunday); 7:30 p.m. April 25 and 26; and 2:30 p.m. April 27 at Hastings Community Theatre, 515 S. Fourth Ave.

Set against the southern backdrop of a small Mississippi town, the play features Traci Specht as Carnelle, an aspiring beauty queen committed to winning the prestigious pageant. Complicating her quest are her cousin Elain, (played by Amy Sandeen), a former Miss Firecracker winner who begrudgingly helps her, and Elain’s eccentric brother, Delmount (Corey VomWeg). Having recently been discharged from a mental institution, Delmount seems intent on selling the family homestead and moving to New Orleans.

Supporting cast members include Monica Jimenez as Popeye the seamstress, Larry Sanders (Mac Sam) and Jaci Vetro (Tessy). The production is directed by Ruth Nielsen and produced by Christine Young, with stage management by Russanne Erickson; lighting, Erik Nielsen, and props, Patrick Crawford.

“It’s a very funny play,” Nielsen said. “We have some great people in the roles and we’ve had a lot of fun working on the show.”

For Nielsen, the play represents her first go-around as director. A substitute teacher for Hastings Public Schools, she has been involved with HCT on and off for about 14 years.

“This has been a challenge,” she said. “Jumping in and being in charge is sort of a different experience for me.”

Tickets for all productions are available at the theatre box office and select ticket outlets, with the exception of Saturday’s performance, which requires reservations. For reservations to all shows, call 402-463-1500 or e-mail HCT at

To read more, see Thursday's Hastings Tribune or the Tribune e-edition.>>

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