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Local university honors Oklahoma spirit through play about Oklahoma City bombing

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OKLAHOMA CITY – A metro university is giving new life to the stories of the Oklahoma City bombing victims with a play.

In all, 48 people were interviewed to determine what they were doing the moments before and after the blast on April 19, 1995.

Oklahoma City University’s first lady, Jan Henry, is one of the many who have a personal connection to the bombing.

Henry worked to help identify the victims.

“You just wanted to do something and so when I headed back to work the next day and they were asking for volunteers, I was so grateful that there was something I could do,” Henry said.

In honor of the 20th anniversary of that fateful day, student actors, who were not even born in 1995, are tasked with portraying Henry and dozens of others.

“We all made sure that before we even went on the interviews that we had all of the information because some of us were babies at the time,” Emily Hawkins, who portrays Dr. Henry and two other women, said.

Of the 48 victims, survivors and first responders who were interviewed, 26 stories will be portrayed on center stage.

“Every time you start to see people have an emotional response to something, you’re going to hear an audience have an emotional response because this is material they’re ridiculously connected to,” said Courtney DiBello, the director of the play.

The cast and crew worked to put this production together in just a few weeks.

Hawkins was thrilled to finally meet the person she is playing on stage.

“It’s exciting for me to meet Jan in person,” Emily Hawkins said. “It feels like I know you even though we’ve never met.”

“And that’s really cool for me,” Dr. Henry said.

Organizers say they hope their work serves as an inspiration to a new generation about the meaning behind the ‘Oklahoma Standard.’

“We’re not interested in showing our audience images that they know and they don’t want to see anymore. We only want to show them hopeful, wonderful images,” DiBello said.

The play will only be shown this weekend in honor of the 20th anniversary.

Visitors may get tickets for shows on Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m. A Sunday matinée at 2 p.m. is also available.

Admission is free but tickets are limited.

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