News Release

Political comedy at Columbia June 10 highlights John McConnel and Janet Shea in 'Miz Carraway and the Kingfish'

Contact: Christina Chapple


John McConnel

     HAMMOND – Perry Martin, director of the acclaimed hits "The Kingfish" and "Earl Long in Purgatory," has teamed actor John McConnell and actress Janet Shea on stage in a new political comedy about Huey Long’s successful campaign to get Arkansas’s Hattie Caraway elected as the first woman United States Senator.

     "Miz Carraway and the Kingfish" is coming to Southeastern Louisiana University’s Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts June 10 at 7:30 p.m. The political comedy, which debuted in New Orleans in 2004, takes a hilarious, heart warming inside look at the campaign trail that sent the Kingfish to Arkansas and Miz Caraway to Washington. The show was written by Nancy Hendricks and Grady Jim Robinson.

     Tickets for “Miz Carraway and the Kingfish” are $38, Orchestra 1 and Loge; $32, Orchestra 2 and Balcony 1; and $26, Orchestra 3 and Balcony 2. Tickets are on sale at the theater lobby box office, 220 E. Thomas St. in downtown Hammond, from noon-5 p.m., weekdays, (985) 543-4371.

     When Hattie Carraway was appointed to the Senate upon the death of her husband in 1934, she became the second woman ever to serve in that august body. Her only predecessor, Rebecca Felton, had served a "courtesy" appointment of just one day. Carraway was given a year – with the unstated understanding that she would then be replaced in an election by a male candidate.

     Into this senario barged Louisiana Senator Huey P. Long. The show traces the unlikely friendship between these two senators, who sit at adjoining desks in the back of the chamber. Long’s political machine invaded Arkansas with 100 volunteers, 25 sound trucks and more than 100,000 pieces of printed propaganda. He made 10 speeches a day in 100 cities and towns, and when the exhausting 10-day tour across the razor back state was over, Arkansas’ political underdog Carraway was the first elected female United States Senator.

     “Gambit Weekly” called the show, “a great deal of fun. Certainly, the Kingfish is a colorful scalawag, and John McConnell has the heft and the elan to pull off this one-of-a-kind, slightly deranged fox of a populist. If his Kingfish is the irresistible force, Janet Shea's Caraway is the immovable object. It's quite a match.”  

     McConnell received national acclaim in 1991 when he and long time friend Perry Martin brought “The Kingfish,” a one-man play about the life and times of Huey P. Long, to the Off-Broadway John Houseman Theatre. McConnell later reprised the role of Huey Long both on television in “Unsolved Mysteries” and in a statewide tour of a stage adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, “All The Kings Men.” In March 2001, McConnell and Martin collaborated once again to bring another political legend to the stage, Huey’s brother and fellow governor Earl.

     All three shows have been featured during Fanfare, the 20-year-old Southeastern arts festival that opens the Columbia Theatre’s season each October.

     Actress Janet Shea, who portrays Hattie Carraway, has collaborated with Martin on many projects including the five-time Big Easy Entertainment Award winning regional premier of “The Beauty Queen of Leenane.”  Shea appeared in the award winning “All My Sons” at Southern Repertory Theatre in 2003.

     For additional information about “Miz Carraway and the Kingfish” and other Columbia Theatre programming, visit or call (985) 543-4371 or (985) 543-4366.

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