published Thursday, September 26th, 2013

Church-turned-spa serves up laughs in 'Hallelujah Girls' — Sept. 27-28, Oct. 3-6

Crystal (Cristy Clark), left, leads the cheers for the success of Spa-Dee-Dah in the comedy "The Hallelujah Girls," which opens Friday night at the Oak Street Playhouse. Also cheering are, from left, Sugar Lee (Patti Gross), Nita (Kitty Reel), Mavis (May Wood) and Carlene (Jenny Bacon).
Crystal (Cristy Clark), left, leads the cheers for the success of Spa-Dee-Dah in the comedy "The Hallelujah Girls," which opens Friday night at the Oak Street Playhouse. Also cheering are, from left, Sugar Lee (Patti Gross), Nita (Kitty Reel), Mavis (May Wood) and Carlene (Jenny Bacon).
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

IF YOU GO

• What: "The Hallelujah Girls"

• When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27, and Saturday, Sept. 28, and Oct. 3-5; 2:30 p.m. Oct. 6

• Where: Oak Street Playhouse, corner of Oak and Lindsay streets (inside First-Centenary United Methodist Church)

• Admission: $10 adults, $8 seniors/groups, $5 students; all tickets $8 on Oct. 3 (Girlfriends Night Out)

• Phone: 423-756-2428

• Website: www.oakstreetplayhouse.com

Sugar Lee's tired of waiting for her dream to come to her. So she's reached out and grabbed it.

But that dream, starting a day spa in an abandoned church, makes her friends wonder if she's lost her marbles.

Nevertheless, they try to help her make a go of Spa-Dee-Dah in the Southern comedy "The Hallelujah Girls," which opens in the Flo Summitt Theater at Oak Street Playhouse on Friday, Sept. 27, and continues for six performances through next weekend.

Oak Street Playhouse is located in First-Centenary United Methodist Church.

"One reason we chose this show," says managing producer Michael Tulloss, "is the idea of not letting your dream pass you by. There is never going to be a perfect time to get on with the rest of your life."

The family-appropriate comedy was written by the same Jones/Hope/Wooten team that has served up plays such as "The Dixie Swim Club," "The Red Velvet Cake War" and "Dearly Beloved."

"It's one of the funniest plays we've done in some time," says Tulloss. "[The playwrights] understand Southerners and Southern comedy."

Things start out smoothly for Sugar Lee, with the help of star nail tech Carlene, spacey music teacher Crystal and frequent customers Nita (she of the troubled son) and Mavis (she of the troubled husband). Then, out of the blue, the bottom drops out.

First, Eden Falls busybody Bunny Sutherland attempts to put a fly in the ointment. She insists she'd had her eye on the building all the time for the Sutherland Museum of the City of Eden Falls, which will fit nicely alongside her retinue of the Bunny Sutherland Tennis Court, the Bunny Sutherland Dog Park and the Bunny Sutherland Azalea Maze.

And then Sugar Lee's ex-boyfriend, Bobby Dwayne, who broke her heart the night before graduation all those years ago, shows up uninvited and unannounced.

Previous reviewers have called the play "a superb evening's entertainment" and a "fun, fabulous show."

The cast includes Jenny Bacon, Cristy Clark, Clint Cooper, Patti Gross, Sandy McCrea, Kitty Reel, Don Strickland and May Wood. It is directed by Brenda Schwab.

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