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Ole Miss Theatre Department Showcases All-Female Production

Photo by Shelice Benson
Photo by Shelice Benson

The University of Mississippi’s theater department has taken on a new quirky approach with their play “Anton in Show Business.”

“Anton in Show Business,” is a play about a play. The comedy, written by Jane Martin, follows three sisters in their journey to star in “Chekov’s Three Sister’s.”

The Ole Miss Theater Department decided to put on this play due to committee concerns that the audience needed something more fun and uplifting.

“Our first two shows were heavy and political so the committee wanted us to do something lighter,” said Jordan Smith, head of advertising.

Brandon Skaggs, head of the department’s social media accounts, agreed that the committee wanted a smaller more “zany” show to help bring a more cheerful mood to the audience.

The show stars a diverse cast of female actors playing both male and female roles. Given the show’s history of only women playing these roles, it is no surprise that Director Dex Edwards, professor at Ole Miss since 1997, chose to keep the tradition alive.

When asked if working with an all-female cast has been any different than working with both genders, stage manager, Summerlin LaCour said that working with the cast has been just as it would if there were males and females.

“The gender of the cast has made no difference as they are all very professional. The cast have been great throughout the process, but I wouldn’t say it has been any different than working with a mixed cast.”

Karen Ann Patti, who plays two male roles and one female role in the show expressed that this is her first time working with an all-female cast and the experience has been rewarding.

“I am so lucky to be surrounded by girls who fully love and understand each other, the cast has become my family,” she said.

Backing Patti’s statement, another cast member who plays Listabette in the show, Claire Sims said, “Anton has been absolutely amazing. The girls have been so kind and supportive.”

The show has not been all roses though, Karen Ann Patti expressed one disadvantage of working with a cast full of girls.

“We’re not allowed to share makeup with one another, due to health purposes,” she said.

The theater department held opening night of “Anton in Show Business,” on Wednesday and the show will run into next week.


Shelice Benson is a journalism student at The University of Mississippi. She can be reached at sjbenson@go.olemiss.edu.

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