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‘Hallelujah Girls’ opens Friday

CAT presents a comedic performance

Published: Wednesday, May 7, 2014 11:01 a.m. CST • Updated: Thursday, May 8, 2014 11:53 a.m. CST
From left to right, Sugar Lee (Cathy Whited), Crystal (Linda Huffman), Carlene (Jean Sheridan), Nita (Laural Griswold) and Mavis (Judy Gile) toast with plastic cups and diet Mountain Dew to new beginnings.

“The Hallelujah Girls” by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, and Jamie Wooten presented by Crest Area Theater at Southwestern Community College Performing Arts Center Friday through Sunday, tells the story of five friends who try help one another find happiness, while struggling to find their own.

“Basically, it’s a story about a group of women who have palled around and one has decided to start a new life with a new business,” said Cathy Whited, who plays Sugar Lee, the story’s main character.

The setting is small-town Georgia, where Sugar Lee (Cathy Whited) has decided to fulfill her dream and opens a day spa inside a dilapidated former church. By following her dream, Sugar Lee hopes to inspire her friends Carlene Travis (Jean Sheridan), Mavis Flowers (Judy Gile), Nita Mooney (Laural Griswold) and Crystal Hart (Linda Huffman) to “live life to the fullest.”

The former church almost feels like an appropriate location for Sugar Lee’s new day spa, a place where friends gather to listen, learn and heal, except, with a dose of laughter.

However, the story wouldn’t be complete without the struggling relationship between Sugar Lee and Bunny Sutherland (Julie “Jewels” Weisshaar), who is trying to thwart Sugar Lee’s efforts for her own gain.

“There’s also a romance that may or may not be rekindled,” Whited said.

Porter Padgett (Wes Ray), a grown mama’s boy, tries to woo Carlene, the town’s “black widow,” who has buried three husbands. However, Whited is referring to the presence of Bobby Dwayne Dillhunt (Rod Tostenson), Sugar Lee’s former high school sweetheart and ex-fiance who Bunny hires to help with renovations on the property and agitate Sugar Lee.

Watching “The Hallelujah Girls” is reminiscent of “Steel Magnolias” without the sadness. It’s a comedy some compare to “Golden Girls” for it’s witty one-liners and amusing introspection that longtime friends understand.

“I fell in love with it by the third page,” said Whited. “It’s a delightful little play.”

“The Hallelujah Girls” opens 7 p.m. Friday at Southwestern Community College Performing Arts Center, 1201 W. Townline St. Additional shows are 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $8 at the door.

For more information about Crest Area Theatre, visit them online at www.crestareatheatre.wordpress.com.

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