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ESU Theatre presents 'Don’t Hug Me'

June 19, 2017

Emporia State University’s 63rd annual season of Summer Theatre continues with “Don’t Hug Me” by Paul and Phil Olson June 28 – July 1 at 7:30 p.m. in the Karl C. Bruder Theatre in King Hall at Emporia State University.

The show will be under the direction of Jim Bartruff, with musical direction by Anna Ryan, and choreography by Lindy Bartruff.

It's the coldest day of the year in Bunyan Bay, Minnesota when a slick karaoke salesman arrives at the bar and turns the locals' lives upside down. Bar owner, Gunner Johnson (Justin Scheck, Gardner) wants to sell the business and move to Florida. Clara (Rachel Muirhead, Hays), his wife and former Winter Carnival Bunyan Queen, wants to stay. Bernice Lundstrom (Fran Opheim, Olathe), the pretty waitress, wants to pursue a singing career. Her fiancé, Kanute Gunderson (Stephen Holbert, Olathe), wants her to stay home. It's a battle of wills, and when a fast-talking salesman, Aarvid Gisselsen (Nathan Dale Short, Paola), promises to bring romance into their lives through the 'magic' of karaoke, all heck breaks loose!

Scenographer Rick Rasmussen, in his 24th Summer Theatre season, will design the set and costumes for the show. Chris Lohkamp is the Technical Director. The scene shop crew includes Evan Grantham (Girard), Semaj Smith (Salina), McKenzie Needham (Andover) and Isabella Harvey (McPherson). Amanda Dura will manage the costume shop and its employees, including

Zulema Renteria (Emporia), Kaitlin Pelegrin (Olathe), Madison Joye Schultz (Topeka), Samantha Garcia (Emporia), Kun Li (YanTai ShanDong, China), Maddie Simmons (Emporia) and Lizzi Tate (Sand Springs, OK). Tyler Lang (Wichita) will serve as Stage Manager, and Torin Horvik (Fargo, ND) will be Assistant Stage Manager. Matthew Mahr (Overland Park) will design the lights and Paige Lundin (Wichita) will serve as House Manager.

For tickets to these performances, visit the Memorial Union Ticket Office, go online at or call 620-341-6378. For media inquiries and more information about the show season, contact Jen Newell, at 620-341-5256 or



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