The Newman University Theatre Department is set to present the world premiere of the play “The Miracle of Father Kapaun.”
The play will be performed at 8 p.m. on Feb. 16, 17 and 18, and at 2 p.m. on Feb. 19 in the Performance Hall inside the De Mattias Fine Arts Center on the Newman campus. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and military, $5 for students, and free for Newman students with their I.D.
The play will also be presented in a special matinee performance at 10 a.m. Feb. 17 for area high school students.
The play is adapted by Anne Welsbacher from the award-winning Wichita Eagle series by Roy Wenzl and is directed by guest director Misty Maynard, artistic director of the Kechi Playhouse.
Fr. Emil Kapaun was a Catholic priest who served as an Army chaplain during World War II and the Korean War where he was captured as a POW. He aided his fellow troops spiritually and physically. He died on May 23, 1951, and was buried in a mass grave near the Yalu River.
Kapaun was awarded the Bronze Star in 1950 and was posthumously awarded a citation for the Distinguished Service Cross. After many petitions, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest military service award, in 2013 for his heroism in Korea. Additionally, the Catholic Diocese of Wichita is working to have Kapaun canonized as a saint. He is currently classified as a Servant of God, the first step on the path to sainthood.
The play deals with Kapaun’s life, his candidacy for sainthood and what many believe is the miraculous recovery of Chase Kear, whose family prayed to Kapaun to intercede following a tragic accident. His cause for sainthood is of special interest to Newman University alumni, students, staff, and faculty, as Kapaun was ordained in the university’s St. John’s Chapel on June 9, 1940.
The play features Newman students Trevor Farney as Kapaun and Blake Lee as Chase Kear.