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Actors Guild opens season with ‘Hallelujah Girls’

PARKERSBURG — The Actors Guild of Parkersburg opens its 2021-22 season Friday with “The Hallelujah Girls.”

The show is rated PG.

Curtain time is 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with additional shows Sept. 24-25 and Oct. 1-2. There will be a 2:30 p.m. Sunday matinee on Sept. 26.

Tickets are $18 for adults and $16 for seniors and students and are available online at www.actors-guild.com.

The comedy is set in Eden Falls, Ga., at SPA-DEE-DAH, an abandoned church-turned-day-spa where a group of women gathers every Friday afternoon. After the loss of a dear friend, they realize time is precious and if they are going to change their lives and achieve their dreams, they have to do it now.

Director Jean Newton is eager for audiences to see the show.

“Everyone at the Guild is very excited to finally be able to open our doors for a new season,” she said. “Like any nonprofit, the past 18 months have been a great financial hardship. The majority of our operating budget comes from the revenue from our shows. Without show revenue, the Guild was in jeopardy of closing its doors permanently. Several grants, donations and loans barely kept us afloat.

“To be able to open with ‘The Hallelujah Girls,’ to me, is perfect. It is two hours of celebrating new beginnings through laughter,” Newton said.

She was initially drawn to the script by the writers: Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten.

“They are the same team that wrote ‘Dixie Swim Club’ and worked on ‘The Golden Girls,'” Newton said. “This script has everything you would want in a comedy: great characters and situations, but above all, laughter.”

She praised the cast and crew that have been working on the show since early summer.

“I am blessed with an amazing, talented and crazy cast,” Newton said. “But rehearsals were difficult because the cast couldn’t stop laughing at each other’s characters.”

The cast includes:

∫ Mary Lou Adams as Bunny, the passive-aggressive, self-proclaimed social arbiter of Eden Falls.

∫ Danny Bayer as Bobby Dwayne, Sugar Lee’s ex.

∫ Susan Courtney as Sugar Lee, the vivacious owner of SPA-DEE-DAH.

∫ Betty Dotson as Crystal, the loveable, daffy, singing friend.

∫ Kathy Mulinex Frederick as Mavis, a brusque, but likable, married friend

∫ Jane Mancini as Nita, a very sweet, country woman who is a romantic dreamer with a thief for a son.

∫ Pete Myers as Porter, a good-hearted, gregarious blowhard who doesn’t know when to shut up.

∫ Tara Kniffen Polan as Carlene, a no-nonsense “black widow” who has lost three husbands

The production staff and crew includes Pamela Piggott, assistant director; Beth Lane, technical director; Deanna Spring, dialect coach; Charlie Matthews and David Rexroad, advisers; Nora Corra, production assistant and assistant stage manager; Wendy Smith, costumes; Willow Peyton, costume crew; Christen Wilson, props; Braden DeGuzman, Jack Peyton, Willow Peyton, Wendy Smith, Olivia Welch and Christen Wilson, running crew; Sabrina Dye, stage manager; MC Augstkalns, lightboard operator; Dave Roberts, sound designer; John Newton, book holder; Rachel Martin, photographer; and Brett Meade, playbill layout and design.

Corporate sponsor for the production is United Anesthesia.

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