Girl Drama | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Girl Drama

When I arrived for a rehearsal of Primrose Path's production of "Cowgirls: The Musical," I quickly saw that all of the actors are actresses. "Having an all-female cast is great," director Debbie Hardy says. "This group of women has been wonderful to work with—it's been a very collaborative process. These ladies brought a lot to the show." They include Ella Hardwick of Richland as Jo, Brighton Goode of Madison as Lee, Morgan Cowart of Pearl as Mary Lou, Liz Hogue of Brandon as Mickey, Kaeley Lovett of Brandon as Mo, and Jennifer Hudson of Florence as Rita. The rollicking musical, by Betsy Howie and Mary Murfitt, tells the tale of Jo, who has 24 hours to save her father's country-western saloon, Hiram Hall, from foreclosure.

With numbers such as "Saddle Tramp Blues," and choreography by Richland high school student Kerri Courtney, the modern-Western comedy is big-haired fun. There's a plastic cow that somehow gets incorporated into the show, and live music is provided by "The Hiram Hall House Band," featuring local musicians Andrew Dillon (violin/mandolin), Karen McCraw (guitar/banjo), Rodney Ham (bass), and Lydie Vick (keyboard—and she also musically directs the show). The band sounds great—as well they should. After all, what's a Western without some good old- fashioned honky-tonk?

But this show is as much about the new as it is the old: "I wanted to do this show because it's relatively new, and not done to death," Hardy says. "None of my cast had seen it before. Everyone's perspective is fresh. And besides, how many times to do we need to sit through the same five shows? I'm glad to bring something new to our area." Talk about (cow)girl power. June 3-6 at the Richland Community Center.

Actor's Playhouse Presents … a little something(s) for the kids and families in the area. On June 3-6 and 10-13, a cast of youth and adults brings "The Diary of Anne Frank" to the Playhouse stage. The tragic story of a young girl is made poignant in a performance by actors who are themselves children.

After "Anne Frank," Actor's Playhouse will cast their next project, "Charlotte's Web." Auditions will be June 14-15, with productions scheduled for July 22-25 and July 29-Aug. 1. All children are encouraged to audition. Actor's Playhouse is also sponsoring a Mid-South Fair sanctioned talent contest that will be an official preliminary to the 2004 Mid-South Fair Youth Talent Contest, to be held in Memphis, Tenn., in September 2004.

We may be way, way, way, off-off-off-Broadway … but we do have a Best of Broadway series in the capitol city. The W. Kessler Ltd. Best of Broadway program brings "Fame!" to Thalia Mara Hall for two nights only June 8-9. The high-energy musical, based on the Oscar-winning film, captures the drama at the legendary school for the performing arts in Manhattan.

See the Lounge List for more details.

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