The latest Butterfield Stage Players production — a new “Southern-fried” comedy from playwright trio Jones, Hope and Wooten — will include a donation of proceeds to an ongoing medical benefit program based in Cooke County.
All $15 ticket sales from the Nov. 15 presentation of “Always a Bridesmaid” have been earmarked for the “M-O-O-Ving Thru’ the Mud” organization, which helps individuals suffering from hypothalamic hamartomes, a rare brain tumor. It was inspired by the diagnosis of local child Landon Tipps and his subsequent surgery. Related fundraisers help families coping with the brain disease by providing information and support to patients, caregivers and healthcare providers. Proceeds aid research for early detection, improvement of treatments and discovery of a cure.
About “Always a Bridesmaid”
The “comedic romp” is set for shows on Nov. 7 through Nov. 9, and then Nov. 15 through Nov. 17. In the play, four friends have sworn to keep the promise they made on the night of their senior prom: to be in each other's weddings, no matter what. More than 30 years later, these Southern friends-for-life are still making “the long walk” for each other, determined to honor their vow. Libby Ruth, the hopeful romantic with the perfect marriage, believes — in spite of all evidence to the contrary — that her friends can find the very same happiness. Headstrong Deedra's “rock-solid” union hangs by a thread when she discovers her husband of many years has not only a wandering eye, but the hands to match. Monette, flashy, high-spirited and self-involved, continues to test her friends' love and patience with all-too-frequent trips down the aisle. And salt-of-the-earth, tree-hugging Charlie discovers — the hard way — that marital bliss is not the end of her rainbow and panics in outrageous style when the opportunity presents itself.
The four scenes take place over the span of seven years in the sitting room of a suite in the Laurelton Oaks in Virginia, where each of the women have been married, some of them multiple times. And each time, they're bridesmaids for whoever is getting hitched. The woman who runs the establishment, Sedalia, is snobby and quippy. And before each scene, we get a snippet from the bride's speech from Kari Ames-Bissette, daughter of Libby, whose wedding is the focus of the fourth scene.
In the play, Libby Ruth, Deedra, Monette and Charlie are committed to the notion that careers, waistlines and even marriages may disappear, but real friendships last a lifetime. Forsaking all others, in sickness and in health, they repeatedly struggle to stage the perfect wedding in spite of fistfights at the altar, runaway brides, and the mistaken and unfortunate release of a flock of white doves on the first day of hunting season.
Cast and crew
The show, directed by Sally Page, features longtime Butterfield actress Sandy Geyer as Libby Ruth. Chelsea Grosskopf, a well-known and experienced actress from Denton’s Campus and Black Box Theaters, plays the about-to-be-married Kari Ames Bissette. Rachel Tillman Rodes, who plays Sedalia, returns to Butterfield following her title role in “Till Beth Do Us Part” plus roles in productions at the Pilot Point Opera House and the Denton Community Theater. And making her acting debut is local actress Gretchen Samsel playing the role of the multiwedded Monette. Butterfield regular Shelley Head joins the cast as the calm and no-nonsense Deedra. Charlie, the crotchety complainer who'll probably never tell anyone "I do" is played by Jocelyn “JoJee” Allgood, also making her debut.
About the authors
Jones, Hope and Wooten have written together for nearly 15 years, and joined forces with impressive resumes. Jesse Jones co-authored the award-winning play “Dearly Departed” which was later adapted into the feature film, “Kingdom Come.” She has also written for television sitcoms and an animated Disney series. Jones is also an accomplished actress who has appeared onstage in New York and in regional theater as well as in television and film, the Web site states. Nicholas Hope is an award-winning playwright who has written episodic television for Warner Bros. and Walt Disney Studios. He was also director of casting for Theatre Communications Group in New York, The Goodman Theatre in Chicago and ABC Television in New York and Los Angeles. Jamie Wooten is a prolific writer for network television who has nearly 400 episodes to his credit. He was also a Writer Guild of America award winner who wrote for the television series “The Golden Girls.”
To reserve tickets, call (940) 665-1284. The box office at 201 S. Denton St. in Gainesville opens today, and office hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Tickets are also available online at www.butterfieldstage.org.