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Theater

Apple Hill's 'Mama Won't Fly' is a hilarious road trip

| Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018, 12:06 a.m.
From left: Katy Grant of Pittsburgh, Pam Eyler of North Huntingdon, Lisa Bompiani-Smith of Youngwood and Mike Crosby of Greensburg rehearse a car scene from ‘Mama Won’t Fly’ Aug. 8-17 at Apple Hill Playhouse, Delmont.
From left: Katy Grant of Pittsburgh, Pam Eyler of North Huntingdon, Lisa Bompiani-Smith of Youngwood and Mike Crosby of Greensburg rehearse a car scene from ‘Mama Won’t Fly’ Aug. 8-17 at Apple Hill Playhouse, Delmont.
From left: Lisa Bompiani-Smith of Youngwood, Katy Grant of Pittsburgh (in back), Pam Eyler of North Huntingdon and Craig Soich of Murrysville rehearse a car scene from ‘Mama Won’t Fly’ Aug. 8-17 at Apple Hill Playhouse, Delmont.
From left: Lisa Bompiani-Smith of Youngwood, Katy Grant of Pittsburgh (in back), Pam Eyler of North Huntingdon and Craig Soich of Murrysville rehearse a car scene from ‘Mama Won’t Fly’ Aug. 8-17 at Apple Hill Playhouse, Delmont.

Just about anything that can go wrong does in Apple Hill Playhouse’s production of “Mama Won’t Fly” Aug. 8-17 at the Delmont theater.

This road trip was doomed from the start: a mother and daughter driving cross-country from Alabama to California in mom’s vintage sedan with only four days to make it to the church in time for their son’s/brother’s wedding.

Add an extra passenger — when the bride-to-be arrives unexpectedly and decides to join them — and an assortment of unbelievable mishaps, and this journey is destined for failure.

Myriad of mishaps

There’s the theft of their car and all their clothes, a near-fatal encounter at an underwear museum, the accidental homicide of a Texas relative, a mad dash across the desert in a hijacked 18-wheeler and a detour to Las Vegas that ends in a brawl with an ordained showgirl-minister.

Lisa Bompiani-Smith of Youngwood plays Savannah, the daughter; Pamela Eyler of North Huntingdon is Norleen, the mother, and Katy Grant of Pittsburgh is Hayley, the bride-to-be, in the play written by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten.

“The three of us (as Norleen, Savannah and Hayley) are on stage the entire show in some way or another, so that is a challenge in learning lines and the nuances of performing,” says Bompiani-Smith. “Some of the props are going to be a challenge, too, but I can’t give that away.”

Physical challenges

Director Chelsea Fredrickson of Baldwin says the comedy also involves physical challenges of depicting the characters in many different places as their road trip progresses.

“Every scene has us in a different location — from a small town in the south to a bra museum to a big rig on the way to Vegas,” she says. “Creating these locations quickly and creatively has been an exciting challenge for me and my cast.”

Bompiani-Smith says the show features characters that audience members will be drawn to and with whom they can relate, and despite the craziness and chaos that ensues, “it will leave a smile on your face at the end.”

As for her character, she says Savannah loves her mama but doesn’t have patience for her because she always is meddling in her business, especially when it comes to men.

“After several failed relationships, Savannah is not looking to take up any offers her mama makes about future beaus,” she says.

Like coming home

Eyler says her character, Norleen, is loud and bossy, but still a caring person. “It’s been a while since I’ve been at Apple Hill, so it’s a little like coming home,” she says.

Fredrickson, who directs the Triple Threat musical theater program at Technique by Toni dance studio and choreographs for Keystone Oaks Marching Band visual ensemble, says Apple Hill also has a special place in her heart.

“Years ago, I was an apprentice, and I credit that experience with teaching me so much of what I know about theater,” she says. “I’m so happy to be back in the barn and with the dedicated staff that makes it run year after year.”

The cast of “Mama Won’t Fly” also includes Craig Soich of Murrysville, Mike Crosby of Greensburg, D. Palyo of Glassport and Pamela Lee of Murrysville. Sue Shirey is stage manager.

Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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