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‘Last Night of Ballyhoo’ comes to MAC

It’s December 1939.

The Christmas tree at the Freitag family’s home is up and Gone with the Wind is about to premiere.

Soon it will be time for Ballyhoo and the girls need suitors.

“The Last Night of Ballyhoo” will be performed on the Mineral Area College Theatre stage at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Tickets are reserved and are $7 for adults and $3 for senior citizens and MAC students. Tickets are available at the MAC bookstore by calling 573-518-2107.

Rod Keown, who is directing the comedy, said it is about a Jewish family learning how to be Jewish. The play takes place in Atlanta during Christmas time 1939 and focuses on a 20-something Lala who is obsessed with Gone With the Wind and is looking for a date for the Ballyhoo dance.

Kelsey Hopkins of Farmington plays the socially awkward and eccentric Lala. Lala wants to be just like Scarlet O’Hara.

Hopkins said Lala thinks she should be the center of attention at all times and is jealous of her smarter, prettier cousin, Sunny.

Dawn Aubertin of Fredericktown plays Boo or Beulah, Lala’s overbearing, controlling mother. Aubertin said Boo is a typical no-nonsense, overbearing Jewish mother. She’s very animated and loud.

Her whole goal during the play is to get her only daughter a proper suitor for Ballyhoo, which is a dance social at the country club.

The problem is Lala likes her Uncle Adolph’s employee, Joe Farkas, who has eyes for Sunny. Joe, played by Adam Sanchez of Arcadia Valley, is a lower class, gruff, but polite young man from the Bronx. He comes into the family and shows them how to be Jewish. 

Kelly Rushing of Ironton plays Sunny, a complex college student who is confused about her heritage and learns a lot from Joe including that she should not be afraid to be Jewish.

Sunny’s mom is ditsy Reba played by Diana Mayes-Nielson of Farmington. Mayes-Nielson said Reba sort of lives in her own little world and pops off with good one-liners. She’s always knitting but not very good. She clashes with her sister-in-law a lot.

While Sunny and Joe flirt and fall in love, Lala’s mother finds a proper suitor named Peachy Weil.

Justin Robinson of Bonne Terre plays Peachy, a very self-centered, self-important, privileged young man who is also a joker. He’s from one of the most well off Jewish families in the South and thinks the world revolves around him, Robinson said.

Robinson said Peachy is extremely racist and allergic to nuts.

Hopkins said Lala kind of falls for Peachy because she thinks he is the best she can get.

Observing all of the drama is Uncle Adolph Freitag played by Rick Giles. He’s an unmarried man who has taken in his sister and sister-in-law, who are both widows, and two nieces. Giles said his character is slightly charming and slightly sarcastic with an unending appetite.

He said he loves doing this part. His character makes observations about people in his household and has great lines, he said.

Keown has been with the MAC theater family off and on since 1997. He’s excited about directing a play that Giles, his mentor, is in.

Teresa Ressel is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-431-2010, ext. 179 or at

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