The Gem Players open the 20th season with Pat Cook’s hilarious comedy, “Those Crazy Ladies in the House on the Corner.”
The 2012-13 season-opening play will be presented Sept. 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 20, 21 and 22 at 7:30 p.m. and Sept. 9, 16 and 23 at 2:30 p.m. at the historic Gem Theater in Etowah.
Cook’s comedy involves three aging sisters, Dora, Maggie and Lydia, who are living in the family home and isolated from the outside world.
The Crazy Ladies love to talk, and all at the same time. Chattering is their common characteristic as sisters and, not only that, they actually understand each other. They are often sarcastic and exhibit outlandish behavior such as pretending to hang one of the sisters in the yard on Halloween! Hence, their reputation as “Those Crazy Ladies.”
Elaine Baker returns to the Gem stage as Dora, the bossy and sarcastic sister. Her timing is sharp and right on cue. Dora’s Halloween scene is the most hilarious scene in the show. Baker was last seen in the Players’ highly successful “The Cemetery Club” last season.
Virginia Orr, another Gem veteran, returns to play sweet Maggie. Orr’s character is thought to be memory-challenged and forgetful. Maggie is forever trying to prove she is as normal as everyone else. Orr was last scene with Baker in “The Cemetery Club.”
Jamie Cline plays Lydia, the strong-willed sister who is a retired school teacher. She runs
the household with authority but has never left the house since herhusband passed away. Cline brings enthusiasm and energy to her character. She was last seen in the Players’ “Death and Taxes.”
Doctor Lomax, played by Rick Parker, wants to move someone in with the sisters to take care of them. He plots and schemes to keep the secret that the “new roomer” is a registered nurse with a past. Parker has comic timing and this character allows him to make the audience have fun. He was last seen in “It’s a Wonderful Life” as Clarence.”
Emily McGuffey joins the Crazy Ladies as Jean the “new roomer” with a secret. McGuffey is a newcomer to the Gem stage, but is very comfortable playing
“the air traffic controller” for the sisters. Jean fits in well with the sisters and brings new life to them as she has them jogging and planning parties.
Kevin Kerr plays Phillip, Lydia’s son who is trying to move the sisters into a retirement home. Kerr is another Gem veteran who has quick comedic timing. He plays Phillip with selfish intents as he plans to sell the family home to an investor. He cannot see that the sisters have begun a new life since Nurse Jean has arrived. Kerr was last seen in “Murders on Main Street.”
Hunter Cline stars as Calvin, Jean’s boyfriend. This works well since the two are in real life a couple. Cline brings another touch of comic flair when he and Jean become the victims in the famous Halloween scene. Cline is a veteran Gem Player and was last seen as Dennis in “Smoke on the Mountain.”
Rounding out the cast are newcomers Connie Baumgardner and Alex Anderson. Baumgardner plays the mysterious visitor, Jesse, who also has a secret. The secret in revealed at the end of the play and of course it brings a happy ending. Baumgardner has so much fun with this character and her deadpan delivery of lines is unique for a newcomer. Anderson fits well into his role as Blue the delivery boy. He has worked at a grocery store during his high school career. Blue has the opportunity to steal the show as he gets on and off the stage as quickly as possible in order to not speak with the sisters.
“Those Crazy Ladies in the House on the Corner” is a wonderful production that shows the elderly as independent adults with vigor and vitality and love of life. The play deals with the universal problem of children knowing when to interfere with their parents’ quality of life in their golden years.
Tickets for the production are $12 for adults and $10 for 12 years and under. Tickets may be purchased in advance at The Town Squire Menswear store on Keith Street in Cleveland, Southern Heritage Antique Store on Tennessee Avenue in Etowah or box office one hour prior to showtime. For more information, call 423-263-3270 or visit www.gemplayers.com.