Hallelujah! Sam Bass Theatre's current production, the riotously funny HALLELUJAH GIRLS, will have you begging for more.
The comedy, written by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, and Jamie Wooten, may not be the most original piece of theater one can find, but you won't care. This show is a hoot!
HALLELUJAH GIRLS centers around four middle-aged friends in Eden Falls, Georgia. Sugar Lee, played by Jan Phillips, has bought a dilapidated churched and turned it into a thriving day spa, Spa-dee-dah, but her nemesis, Bunny Sutherland (Mary Southon) is scheming to shut the spa down and take over the property to build a museum. Add some wise-cracking best friends (Veronica Prior, Melita McAtee, and BJ Machalicek) and some romantic tension when Sugar Lee's ex, Bobby Dwayne (Gene Storie) is hired as the spa's repairman, and you've got a hysterical two hours of theatre.
The play by Jones, Hope, and Wooten is full of sitcom-esque one-liners, quips, and sight gags, and it's clear that the entire cast delights in the lighthearted material. Director Lynn Beaver keeps the play light and fast-paced. Under her direction, every joke lands, many of them getting side-splitting laughs, and it's clear that she's focused the play around the gossipy friendship of the four leads.
As Sugar Lee, Jan Phillips is a strong, resilient, worldly woman, a courageous heroine we can rally around. She's downright likeable, and it's no wonder that despite her somewhat crazy plan to convert an old church into a spa, her three friends quickly rally around her. As Carlene, a three-time widow, Veronica Prior has a dry sense of humor and a blunt delivery that playfully contrasts her counterparts. As Nita, the romance novel-loving girl of the bunch, Melita McAtee gives an uproariously caricatured performance, and as Mavis Flowers, a woman so disillusioned with her marriage she contemplates faking her own death, BJ Machalicek is hilariously acerbic, giving off an Elaine Stritch jois-de-vivre. Equally fun are Laura Vohs as Crystal Hart, Sugar Lee's holiday obsessed assistant, and Mary Southon as Bunny Sutherland, the villain who puts the first syllable in Country Club mean girl. Gene Storie and Ken Ramsey are a little less effective as the under-written love interests Bobby Dwayne and Porter Padgett, but this show's really more about the girl power than the guys anyway.
HALLELUJAH GIRLS is a triumphant success for the Sam Bass Theatre. While the script sometimes feels like TV's "Golden Girls" in Georgia, it's so silly and entertaining that the occasional lack of originality is completely irrelevant. This show is an absolute blast!
Run time: Two hours and 20 minutes with one 20 minute intermission. HALLELUJAH GIRLS plays the Sam Bass Theatre in Round Rock, TX now through October 13th. Performances are Thursday, Friday, and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm.
For tickets and information, visit http://www.sambasstheatre.org/