FORT MILL Looking for a fun, inexpensive, local evening out? Head to “Hallelujah Girls” at the Fort Mill Community Playhouse, 615 Banks St. It begins this week: Feb. 21-23, 28, March 1 and 2 at 7:30 p.m. and March 3 at 3 p.m.
“This is the first public performance regionally of this play,” said Director Jack Stevenson. “We can make it our own, with no preconceived notions.”
Set in Eden Falls, Ga., the scene is in an abandoned church being repurposed as a day spa. The play has a pronounced Southern flavor as a feisty group of women unnerved by the untimely death of a friend decide to turn their lives around. Sugar Lee (Karen Lee) takes over the abandoned building and puts her life savings into the new venture, called Spa-Dee-Dah. Crystal (Kecia Capers), an eccentric friend, sings “Crystal Carols” (re-imagined Christmas carols such as “I heard the bells on Groundhog’s Day”). After burying three husbands, Carlene (Marcie Levine Jacobs) tries again; Mavis (Vicki Rose) is so unhappy in marriage she wants to fake her own death; Nita (Susan Capotosto) is having son-in-law problems involving money; and Bunny (Cathy Schaefer) is mutually hateful to everyone. The cast is rounded out by over-the-top Porter Padgett (Tom Moody) and reliable Bobby Dwayne (David Cruse).
From Fort Mill and surrounding areas, including Rock Hill, York and Charlotte, the team has been working since January to pull together this poignant, sassy salute to gal pals and long-time, small-town friends. Capers is bigger than life and steals the stage every time she sashays in singing and sporting crazy haberdashery. Jacobs, Rose and Capotosto seem like they’ve been friends forever. Lee’s a gal pal and woman scorned who runs into her ex (Cruse) and relies on him to bring her pet project alive. Moody struts on the stage with wacky grins and pronouncements and wins your heart.
By the end of the play, even you will hate Bunny.
This is the first regional performance of the play, written by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, also the authors of “Dixie Swim Club.” It’s directed by Jack Stevenson and Charles Stokes is the stage manager. The playhouse is rolling out a new feature for 2013: riser seats. The venue is small, so reservations are suggested.