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Theatre Off the Square in Weatherford opens its 2010-2011 season with the southwest premier of the latest Jones Hope Wooten play, “The Red Velvet Cake War,” beginning Friday, Oct. 8 and running weekends through Oct. 24.
Wooten’s latest hit takes audiences to Sweetgum, Texas (just a few miles from Fayro) and introduces the Verdeen family. It’s just about time for the annual family reunion, but with the Verdeens’ antics and family name being in the news lately and keeping the rumor mill running, family matriarch, Aunt LaMerle, decrees there will be no family reunion this year.
The news does not sit well with cousins Gaynelle, Peaches and Jimmie Wyvette. And when it becomes evident to the cousins that hosting the family reunion would be of great benefit to them, the three overturn Aunt LaMerle’s decision. Even though Gaynelle has had some legal issues since accidentally crashing her vehicle through the doublewide belonging to her ex-husband’s girlfriend, and Peaches is trying to keep her mortuarial cosmetology business going while trying to decide the fate of her husband who’s been missing for several years, and Jimmie Wyvette has set her sights on the newest widower in Sweetgum, they remain resolved.
The debate between the cousins and their aunt escalates into a wager for the best red velvet cake at the reunion with the contestants being Aunt LaMerle and Gaynelle. And so the bitter battle for the better batter is underway. But it’s just the beginning as other family members, eccentric neighbors and even Mother Nature join in the excitement culminating in the most outrageous family reunion the Verdeens have ever had.
The play has local beginnings, as the three playwrights, Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten visited Weatherford last March. “we made a date to come to Weatherford to visit Theatre Off The Square. We'd never been here before, but knew that since we were in Texas and since we were visiting theatre folks, our reception would be a good one, and was it ever! The moment we walked in the door, we were greeted with open arms and that good ol' Texas hospitality we love,” one of the playwrights said.
“We were tremendously impressed with the work that's being done at TOTS, the dedication of the theatre board, the technical artists, actors and directors. We were thrilled by the attendance of several loyal theatre patrons who came to the meeting to see us and from this wonderful experience we knew in our hearts Theatre Off The Square is certainly doing something right! This, we told each other, is the place we want to kick off a brand new Texas trilogy.”
“To say we are excited about this production would be an understatement. It is a thrill and an honor to have been chosen for the Southwest premier of this hilarious comedy,” said Lana Robinson, TOTS Board President.
The play is under the direction of Jon Kruse, a veteran of Theatre Off the Square in Weatherford, Casa Manana, Circle Theatre and Stage West in Fort Worth, as well as Contemporary Theatre of Dallas and Theatre Arlington.
Cast members for “The Red Velvet Cake War” are Laurie Jones, Cynthia Daniels, Joyce Eckstein, Duncan Alexander, Catherine Wise and Peggy Osburn. Other members include Karen Dohoney, Ray Shannon, Wally Jones, Cynthia Sadler, Darlene Woodruff and Jordan Nissen. Assistant directors are Holly Kiehn and Chuck Hudson.
Friday and Saturday shows begin at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees are at 2 p.m. The Bakery and Sandwich Shoppe of Weatherford will provide complimentary red velvet cupcakes for audience members at each performance. Tickets are $10 in advance at Weatherford Chamber of Commerce and Weatherford Senior Center. Prices at the door are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and students and matinee tickets for $9. Tickets may be purchased online by visiting www.weatherfordtots.org and selecting “tickets.” Season tickets are also available. For more information on the show, call 817-341-8687 (TOTS) or visit www.weatherfordtots.org and www.joneshopewooten.com.
Theatre Off the Square is located at 114 N. Denton in Weatherford.