ALTON — Alton Little Theater closes out the 81st season with another comedy by the writing team of Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten.
“The Dixie Swim Club” will be presented May 7-17 at the Showplace, with a special Mother’s Day gift raffle on Sunday, May 10. Director Lee Cox has previously directed two other “southern” comedies by the same writing team: “Southern Hospitality” (2013) and “Hallelujah Girls” (2014), and was drawn to read all dozen shows that the playwrights currently have touring the country.
“‘Dixie’ was the last play I read and it’s the best of the bunch in my opinion,” Cox said. “It has some hysterical moments to be sure, but it also has so much heart and deals with issues that every women faces ... relationship challenges, health and aging issues, loss — it’s all there and the play reminds us that our female friends are to be treasured.”
The play takes place at a beach cottage on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where over the course of thirty years five women from a college swim team unite every August for a long weekend.
Debbie Maneke will assist with the production and she also loves the authors and their testaments to the characters’ sass and fortitude. A new cast of experienced actresses who have not appeared on ALT’s stage for a while will take on the iconic Southern “types.” The quintessential love-addicted Southern Belle will be portrayed by Shawn Chevalier; the anal-retentive Team Captain is portrayed by Kathy Bredenkoetter; Becky Roberts takes on the sardonic pragmatic lawyer; Donna Minard plays a nun with a change of heart and habit and Karen Wilson brings the team home with her much-beleaguered, self-deprecating humor.
Cox says that there was a huge turn-out for auditions for these roles.
“Actresses of a certain age love that these authors write such wonderful roles for women over 40,” Cox said. “These gals are funny and sexy and know their way around some very witty dialogue. The production is challenging in that the ladies age over 27 years — so costumes, wigs, quick set changes all come with the territory.
“I love the Outer Banks and have spent several summers there, so I dug out all my décor items from living in Florida for two years — and I enrolled a couple of great guys to help out with the production,” Cox said.
Kevin Frakes and Lief Anderson put together the set in record time, Gary Wilson will be on board for lights and sound and Michael Cox will play a beach-bum-landlord who cleans up after the “girls” (on stage and in real life).
Cox and Maneke say they hope that audiences will have a blast getting to know five unforgettable women and an unpredictable story about friendships that last forever. Tickets can be obtained online at www.altonlittletheater.org or by calling (618) 462-3205 during box office hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Theater lovers who attend the May comedy will have early-bird purchase rights for season tickets for the 82nd season at 35 percent off the door sale admission prices.