Ladies who lunch — err, sip — take center stage at Apple HIll Playhouse
It’s amazing what determination and the occasional liquid refreshment can do to successfully make friends from strangers.
Apple Hill Playhouse’s production of “The Savannah Sipping Society” Aug. 15-25 at the Delmont theater brings together four middle-aged Southern women with very little in common who in six months turn their lives around and establish a close-knit bond with each other.
Chelsea Fredrickson of Baldwin directs the cast that includes Briana Downs of Delmont, Mary Ferrara of Vandergrift, Jennifer Fitzgerald of North Huntingdon and Lisa Bompiani-Smith of Youngwood.
Downs plays Randa, a dyed-in-the-wool career gal who has a restraining order against her from her previous employer. She says the ladies in the show, who range in age from 40s to 60s, each have a relatable and a real story to tell.
Real stories to tell
“From corporate downsizing, to divorce and death, audiences will connect with each and every one of these characters because these women experience life events,” Downs says. “Most of them meet at a hot yoga class and to try and figure out how to live again when life happens.”
Downs recently performed in “Boeing Boeing” at Little Lake Theatre.
Ferrara’s character, Dottie, is a recent widow that planned for a wonderful retirement and now finds herself alone in a strange city.
“This is a show that would be great for a ladies night out, although men would also enjoy it,” Ferrara says. “There is something in every one of these characters that audience members will recognize in friends or family.”
Her recent stage credits include “Steel Magnolias” and “Cemetery Club” at Apple Hill and “Ripcord” at New Kensington Civic Theatre.
Fitzgerald plays Marlafaye, described as a “good ol’ Texas gal” whose husband left her for a younger woman and is seeking revenge on her ex.
“Marlafaye is a boisterous, fun character – but totally right out there with what she thinks. I over think a lot, this character doesn’t,” she says.
“The Savannah Sipping Society” is written by the same authors (Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten) who wrote ‘The Dixie Swim Club,’ in which Fitzgerald performed at Apple Hill two summers ago.
“They do a great job conveying the importance of friendship through witty, delightful female characters. I also love the southern spin,” she says.
She also has performed with The Theatre Factory, Saint Vincent Summer Theatre, Pittsburgh Playwrights, PICT Classic Theatre and City Theatre Company.
Fredrickson, who also directed “Mama Won’t Fly” at Apple Hill and recently directed “Peter Pan” at Technique by Toni Dance and Arts Complex, says “The Savannah Sipping Society” has a great message of friendship and women empowerment.
“It’s also quite funny,” she says. “This script is just so ridiculously charming. These four women are all of us. They are all loveable characters who have flaws that we can all relate to.”
Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.