Well, hello again. The Art Center Theater’s three-weekend run of ‘Four Old Broads’ has sold out to throngs of comedy fans who love and appreciate the expertise of the center’s all-volunteer cast and crew and comedy productions sometimes naughty and always pleasant.
Written by Leslie Kimbrell, the play shares their lives at Magnolia Place Senior Center in Petula, Georgia as they try to plan their annual trip to the famous tourist town of Helen, Georgia.
The play stars Carol Jesse as Beatrice Shelton, Chris Venable as Eaddy Mae Clayton, Sharon Vetter as Imogene Fletcher, Mary Ellen Craver (of the popular band Dunnellon Singers) as Maude Jenkins, Kristi Fuller as Pat Jones, RJ Cantagallo as Sam Smith and Michaela Flake as Ruby Sue Bennett. The female dramatic voice on television was performed by Sandy Mosley and the male dramatic voice by Bill Norkelun. Brady Lay directed the play.
It’s the spring of 1992.
Beatrice is the most vocal and physically engaged of the four broads in every scene. Well done, well done to the costume designers for their flashy and sexy skintight costumes.
Eaddy Mae counteracts Beatrice’s personality with soothing reassurances with her prayers of forgiveness for the other three’s offbeat antics as well.
Imogene was able to quickly launch her character’s fiery disposition into a believable comatose state with the ease of her years of multi-faceted characterizations at the Art Center Theater. Well done, well done Sharon Vetter!
As an administrator of the assisted living facility, Kristi Fuller as Pat Jones was challenged with the broads’ antics, while trying to rein in the broads’ bizarre behavior.
Administrator Kristi’s nurse, Ruby Sue, comes across as the epitome of a dedicated nurse following orders from her superior when asked to administer the injection to Imogene.
Sam is like the Elvis tribute artists we’ve all seen in Citrus County for years as great fundraisers for countless volunteer-adopted fundraising events for those in need along the volunteer path.
Held at the fabulous Citrus Hills Golf and Country Club (the facility that hosted our beloved Citrus County’s first dinner theater with the director and founder of the Gulf Islands Civic Theater years ago, the innovative Mr. Ray Cole), the room featuring the broads was a sampling of the personalities we see around Citrus at our church, in restaurants, at fundraising events, and hopefully taking the time to visit those who reside in facilities like Magnolia Place.
Carol Jesse as Beatrice Shelton was quite the broads’ persuader to go on a Caribbean cruise instead of the “same ole, same ole” trip to Helen, Georgia.
Oh, yes, the play includes what many of us go through – short-term memory loss, a possible sign of old age.
And, of course, there are funeral arrangements to plan, and Maude pushes him to extreme obsession, again and again, with a creativity that crosses the boundaries of a dignified approach to the end-of-life process of “putting order in its affairs”. “Hilarity abounded with the performances of Mary Ellen.
Male and female TV voices added to the climax of the high-octane antics of the multi-talented broads as the shots progressed from scene to scene of continuous snickers at their sassy personalities.
And now, according to my notes, taken hastily, between laughter after laughter in front of these incredible chicks:
The Broads are far above bravery in delivering cues than the “Golden Girls” of television.
Chris is of course determined to launch the cruise.
Sam dressing like Elvis in his oversized Las Vegas-style suits, stealing kisses from the broads and making playful advances at them in abandon as a tribute artist, he’s taken it up a notch or two. He even suggested that a date in his bedroom would be delightful with Marvin Gaye music to enhance the mood. His frequent consumption of Viagra.
Imogen’s remark that she had no love since her husband ran off with his physiotherapist. She was ready to be adventurous. His lampshade hat.
A broad pointed out that her gay friend didn’t come out of the closet until he was 72.
Maude’s red funeral shoes and her request for “Amazing Grace” as she descended into the ground.
The chicks trying to play bingo between hilarious antics and sassy observations, while on the sidelines, the numbers are called “G-13, N-42, O-64”. Finally, we shout “Bingo!”
Smith arrives with his head bandaged and his arm in a sling, limping on a crutch – the result of dating Imogene after rubbing her back after a few glasses of wine.
The aspiration to be Miss Magnolia at the Senior Pageant.
Three chicks and Smith crammed on the couch, it was like the TV show “Charlie’s Angels.”
Smith noticing that he sat on his dentures and they bit him.
Broads works crossword puzzles.
Imogene and Smith in black and white evening dress for the pageant.
The nurse teaches the chicks to clean their dentures.
Maude’s 50s Hawaiian muumuu outfit.
Béatrice wearing a black dress with red sequins.
Maude Miss Lollypop polka dot sailor outfit with authentic sailor hat and red and white striped socks.
Applause, again for the creativity and authenticity of the costumes.
Maude does impromptu tap dancing just for fun. The appearance of Maude with her Miss Magnolia belt.
Smith and Imogene in Hawaiian attire and luggage prepare to go on a cruise and plan to get married after setting sail.
Chris with a Hawaiian lei around his neck promising to dance atop the bar during the cruise.
Maude dramatically throwing her funeral pots in the trash.
The End – And a well-deserved standing ovation for the cast and crew of ‘Four Old Broads’.
Reminder: Call the box office at 352-746-7606 for your 2022-23 season passes and consider being a Friend of the Art Center 2022-23 or taking an ad in their poster (program).
Until next week, stay positive. Live! Laugh! Love!
Ruth Levins participates in a variety of projects in the community. Let her know about your group’s upcoming activities by writing to PO Box 803, Crystal River, FL 34423.