Plot with a View: Foothills Players presents ‘Cemetery Club’

The Foothills Community Players’ second show of their premiere season, The Cemetery Club, runs from Jan. 22 - 25 at the historic Capitol Theatre in downtown Maryville.

Don’t let the name of the play scare you. It is extremely funny and incredibly real. It is about friendship and how to keep it. And, it is about the people closest to our hearts and how we choose to love and remember them. This is the kind of play that makes going to live theatre exciting. It causes you to think, to feel and to appreciate life.

Set in New York City, the play centers on three Jewish widows who meet monthly to visit the graves of their late husbands.

Lucille, portrayed by Lisa Slagle who is well-known to Knoxville community theatre fans and hails from Blount County, is a flamboyant flirt who relishes cashing in her late husband’s bonds and splurging on minks and finery.

Doris, played by Amy Dale of Oak Ridge, is a strongly traditional and devoted Jewish widow who is unrelentingly tied to her late husband, Abe. Doris tosses her sharp and witty sarcasm into the dialogue with a one-two punch while still managing to be endearing.

Ida, delightfully brought to life by Eileen Conway of Knoxville, is a lonely homebody, ready to open a new chapter in her life, but not sure how to do it.

A widower --- Sam the Butcher, played by Richard Garfield, a recent transplant from Oregon, meets the widows at the cemetery while visiting his wife’s grave and ultimately changes the lives of the three women. He strikes up a relationship with one widow until the other two intervene, threatening to break up the club.

Mix in mutual friend, Mildred, cleverly acted by Bonnie Hinds who resides in Blount County, and wonderfully bristling comedy ensues.

This comedy/drama, was written in the 1980s by Ivan Menchell, a recipient of the Fulbright Fellowship for play writing. The play was originally produced as a work in progress at the Yale Repertory Theatre in 1987, where Menchell received his Master of Fine Arts degree in play writing. It was subsequently performed at The Cleveland Playhouse and again at The John F. Kennedy Theatre for the Performing Arts. It made its way to Manhattan at the Atkinson Theatre in New York in 1990. The movie premiered in 1993 with a star studded cast of Olympia Dukakis, Ellen Burstyn, Diane Ladd, Lainie Kazan and Danny Aiello. Menchell has gone on to write screenplays, produce and script for television for shows like “Jonas” and “The Nanny”.

The FCP is a new all-volunteer community theatre in Blount County. The performances on Jan. 22 and 23, will begin at 8 p.m. On Saturday, Jan. 24, there will be performances at both 2 and 8 p.m., and on Sunday, Jan. 25, a matinee performance will begin at 2 p.m. Tickets will cost $16, or $14 for seniors and students. Ticket information is available at www.FoothillsCommunityPlayers.com or by calling 865-712-6428. Groups interested in attending a performance may contact Lisa Blair at 865-712-6428.

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