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Dramatic Reading of Award-Winning Play at Hendrix College

CONWAY, Ark. (August 30, 2017) – An award-winning new play will debut in a staged reading in early September at Hendrix College in Conway. The reading is part of the annual Hendrix-Murphy Foundation Playwright’s Theatre, during which Hendrix alumni and students will present the play.

The reading of The Immortal Katie Stewart by Allison Price, winner of the 2017 Hendrix-Murphy Student Playwriting Contest, will be presented on Friday, September 8, at 7 p.m. in Cabe Theatre on the Hendrix College campus. The event is free and open to the public. No tickets or reservations are required. The reading will be followed by an audience discussion and a reception in Mills Lobby. The reading is co-sponsored by the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance.

The play is about what happens “when a fairy godmother gives a young girl the opportunity to become Cinderella and she decides to become immortal instead,” according to Price. Playwriting contest judge Sofya Weitz described the play as a “delightful, funny, and fast-moving story.” 

Allison Price ‘17 from Starkville, Mississippi, graduated from Hendrix with a B.A. in Creative Writing and Theatre. She currently works in the publishing and editing industry.

Hendrix alumni, students, and staff will be involved in all other aspects of the production as well. Sarah Engeler-Young ‘91 of Conway will direct the reading. 

The cast is led by Ivy McGrew ‘17, reading the part of the titular Katherine “Katie” Stewart. The cast will also include Ben Fish ‘13 as Peter, Werner Trieschmann ‘86 as the Narrator, and Natalie Canerday ‘85 as the Fairy Godmother. Laura Rhea Thurman ‘84 will read the part of the Fairy Queen, Alecia Hendrix ‘01 that of the Princess, and Mark Young ‘01 that of the Prince.

An annual staged reading series, Playwright’s Theatre evolved in 1999 from the annual Alumni and Student Playwriting Contests first sponsored by the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation in 1986. The program was designed to cultivate the skills of fledgling playwrights who are current or former Hendrix students. A professional playwright judges the competitions, one for students and the other for alumni. Playwright’s Theatre, founded by Professor Danny Grace and Dr. Rosemary E. Henenberg, Willis H. Holmes Distinguished Professor of Theatre Arts, Emerita, extends the efforts of the contest by enabling winners of the alumni contest to see their plays in staged readings that often involve both alumni and students as cast and production crew.

This reading is co-sponsored by the Hendrix College Department of Theatre Arts and Dance and the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation Programs in Literature and Language, which are designed to enhance and enrich the study and teaching of literature and language at Hendrix College. For more information about this and future events, please contact Henryetta Vanaman at 501-450-4597 or

Following are brief bios of the alumni cast and crew members:

Natalie Canerday ‘85 studied Theatre Arts at Hendrix before pursuing a career as a professional actress. She has appeared in over 40 feature films, shorts, and television programs, as well as nearly 100 stage productions. She has received the Best Actress Award at the Gatlinburg Screen Festival (2009) and the Hendrix Odyssey Award for Lifetime Achievement in Artistic Creativity (2008). Additionally, she serves on the Advisory Board of the George Lindsey UNA Film Festival and was nominated for the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Performance by an Ensemble Cast (1996). She now lives in Little Rock and can be frequently seen at Murry’s Dinner Playhouse.

Sarah Engeler-Young ‘91 graduated from Hendrix with Distinction in both Sociology and Theatre Arts and holds an M.A. in Theatre History and Criticism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Sarah has taught theatre history and dramatic literature in the Hendrix Theatre Arts & Dance department and has been the office and building manager for the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation Programs in Literature and Language for the past 12 years. Sarah was the 1994 winner of the Hendrix-Murphy Alumni Playwriting Contest, has enjoyed acting in Playwright’s Theatre numerous times, and is delighted to direct this year’s reading.

Ben Fish ‘13 has been involved in theatre productions since he was nine years old. Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, he served as an intern at the Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre, working as an actor, assistant stage manager, set builder, and light and sound technician for various productions. Since his graduation from Hendrix with a degree in Theatre Arts, he has entered training to become a certified apprentice lighting technician for Lumatech.

Alecia Hendrix ’01 was born and raised in El Dorado, Arkansas. After graduating from Hendrix with a B.A. in Theatre Arts, she embarked on a 16-year career in finance, working with the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Veterans Administration, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to provide housing for low- to moderate-income families. She currently spends more time instructing and advising others in the industry, and advocating for better housing and finance regulations. When not crunching numbers, she enjoys traveling, spending time with her extended family, and staying close with her Hendrix friends.

Ivy McGrew ’18 is from Petit Jean, Arkansas. She is on track to graduate from Hendrix with a B.A. in Theatre Arts. In her time at Hendrix, she has performed as Sarah in Time Stands Still, the 2016 Hendrix Senior Seminar production, and as Catherine in Proof, the 2017 Senior Seminar production.

Laura Rhea Thurman ’84 participated either on stage or behind the scenes in every theatre production during her time at Hendrix. She graduated with a degree in Theatre Arts, and since then has been involved in many more theatrical productions, including Dearly Departed, Suzanne, The Women, and The Children’s Hour, in which she was cast alongside her daughter. She currently lives in Hixson, Texas, and teaches reading to elementary students. She is excited and grateful to the Hendrix Players and to the larger Hendrix community for the opportunity to return to Cabe Theatre for Playwright’s Theatre.

Werner Trieschmann ‘86 is a playwright, director, and theatre instructor. He was the writer and director for the world premiere production of Mozart: Revealed and Schubert: Revealed with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic in Fort Wayne, Indiana. His numerous plays have been produced across the United States, Canada and, most recently, in England, Australia, Japan and Romania. In addition to a B.A. in English from Hendrix, he holds an M.F.A. in playwriting from Boston University. He lives in Little Rock and teaches theater, film, and creative writing at University of Arkansas – Pulaski Technical College.

Mark Young ‘01 has performed in Playwright’s Theatre several times since his graduation from Hendrix with a degree in Theatre Arts. During his time at Hendrix, he acted in various plays, and now works in the marketing and public speaking fields, as well as helps manage day-to-day operations for Taziki’s Mediterranean Café in central Arkansas.   

About Hendrix College

A private liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas, Hendrix College consistently earns recognition as one of the country’s leading liberal arts institutions, and is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges. Its academic quality and rigor, innovation, and value have established Hendrix as a fixture in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings. Founded in 1876, Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. To learn more, visit