Students Present A Piece Of My Heart At CMU

Women's perspective of service in Vietnam

February 15, 2018

The thespians of The Little Theatre have tackled a difficult perspective this spring. Six women will take on A Piece of My Heart by Shirley Lauro, a play that encompasses true stories for a group of disparate women before, during, and after their time in war-torn Vietnam.  The play starts with the women reflecting on their lives while standing before the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall; then the audience is thrown into the women’s memories.

Five nurses, only one of whom is a lifelong hardened soldier, and a singer sent to entertain the troops, try to come to grips with what happened to them in Vietnam, and who they are now. The play is devastating and gentle, angry and poignant, and a fair reflection of how Americans in particular dealt with their myriad emotions during war-time.

Performances will be Thursday through Saturday, March 1-3, at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, March 4, at 1:30 p.m. in The Little Theatre on the CMU Fayette campus. Tickets are $8 general admission, $5 CMU faculty and staff, and free for CMU students with identification.

There will also be a special performance for the surrounding high schools on Thursday, March 1 at 12:30 p.m.

The guest director for this play is an actor many will know, Kate Kellner Ivy, CMU theatre arts graduate from 2014. She and husband, Chris ’13, live in Columbia.  She is assisted in directing by Jenny Barnett (junior theater arts major from St. Louis). Ashley Brewer (sophomore psychology and criminal justice major from Orlando, Fla.) will be stage manager.

Cast are Jordan Cassmeyer (junior mathematics major from Jefferson City) as Martha; Bailey Stevens (freshman chemistry major from Fayette) as Maryjo; Whitney Bias (junior communication studies major from Versailles) as Sissy; Jaiden Preston (freshman psychology major from Kennett) as Whitney; Myriah Araiza (junior theatre education major from Columbia) as Leeann; and Steele will be played by Alia Stepney (junior theatre arts major from Columbia),  a guest artist from State Fair Community College.

In addition, the play uses one man to represent all the men who cross paths with the women during the play. Portraying these American men will be Ben Kixmiller (sophomore theatre arts major from Prairie Home).

The play has been performed more than 2,000 times around the world. It won The Barbara Deming Prize for Women Playwrights and The Kittredge Foundation Award. It was also a finalist for The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. The Vietnam Vets of America, Inc. calls it “The most enduring play in the nation on Vietnam.”

For more information, call 660-248-6281 or email Mark Kelty at