‘The Hallelujah Girls’ at Vienna Theatre Company by Anne Tsang

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FOUR AND A HALF STARS
I am so impressed by the stellar quality of Community Theatre in this area, and I am happy to say that Vienna Theatre Company’s production of The Hallelujah Girls, produced by Bill Mullins and directed by Adriana Hardy, is most definitely an uproariously funny hit! The cast and the wonderful actors are matched perfectly with the story and never miss the chance for a quip, a joke, a chance to keep the audience in stitches and laughing out loud the entire night.

from left to right) Sugar Lee (Smith) arguing with Bobby Dwayne (Matich) who is showing off his sexy legs with Nita (Hoover), Carlene (Anderson), Mavis (Preston), and Crystal (Zucker) in her Christmas elf costume in the background. Photo by Harold Bonacquist.
(from left to right): Sugar Lee (Smith) arguing with Bobby Dwayne (Matich) who is showing off his sexy legs with Nita (Hoover), Carlene (Anderson), Mavis (Preston), and Crystal (Zucker) in her Christmas Elf costume in the background. Photo by Harold Bonacquist.

After the sudden death of one of her lifelong best friends, Sugar Lee Thompkins (Edye Smith) decides that she is going to take her life and her fate in her own hands and fulfill her lifelong dream of being her own boss by purchasing an old church and turning it into the Spa Dee Dah day spa. With the support of her best friends, who are her cheering section and support group, Carlene (Tina Anderson), Nita (Meg Hoover), Mavis (Carole Preston), and Crystal (Janice Zucker), Sugar Lee gets the day spa open and it becomes a haven for the women to escape from their stresses and problems in the world, but Sugar Lee runs into several issues. She needs to drum up more business to be able to sustain the day spa, and the women’s nemesis Bunny (Barbara Hayes) keeps sabotaging the spa in an effort to buy the building and land from Sugar Lee and level it to build the Bunny Sutherland Museum. Along with the girls and Sugar Lee’s high school sweetheart that broke her heart 30 years ago, turned contractor, Bobby Dwayne (Nick Matich) they must defeat the evil Bunny, save the spa, and find a happily ever after ending for themselves. The road to saving the spa and to each of the women “becoming the person they were meant to be” is a side-splitting good time!

I loved learning about each of the women and seeing how they were so different from each other, but yet, they were able to be good friends and a great support network for each other. Sugar Lee was the dreamer, the one who believed in herself and her friends. Hoover (Nita) is so believable as the trashy romance novel reading pushover that saw the best in everyone in her life. I almost wanted to reach out and hand her a tissue every time she burst into tears when the heroine or hero of one her novels died a tragic death. Mavis kept everyone—man and woman—alike in the audience in stitches with her sarcastic and witty remarks about being married.

Bunny (Hayes) gleefully informs Sugar Lee that despite all she has done, she has lost the spa and now Bunny owns the building. Crystal is in the background in her Chinese New Year outfit. Photo by Harold Bonacquist.
Bunny (Hayes) gleefully informs Sugar Lee that despite all she has done, she has lost the spa and now Bunny owns the building. Crystal is in the background in her Chinese New Year outfit. Photo by Harold Bonacquist.

Carlene is so saddened by being labeled “The Black Widow of Eden Falls” that when you hear Porter Padgett (James Ginther) has rescinded his marriage proposal you want to throw tomatoes at him, and when she finally does bloom and sees all she has to offer, you want to cheer from your seat! Crystal keeps the audience laughing and guessing what crazy holiday outfit she would appear on the stage in next and what Christmas song she would re-write. Zucker as Crystal was the comedic highlight of the night. Each time Zucker appeared on stage, she had on a different creation of Costume Designer Farrell Ann M. Hartigan’s costume. I was excited as the show moved from scene to scene to see what Zucker would be wearing in the next scene. The friendship and love between the women is almost palpable.

Overhead announcements by Sound Designer Jon Roberts at the start of the show sets the comical tone of the show. Set Designer John Vasko is clever—with a few small changes the audience was ushered through a year of happenings at the spa.

The Hallelujah Girls is a show about love, forgiveness, second chances, karma, believing in yourself, and the unbelievable sustaining power of friendship, and is great entertainment for a fun night out!

Running Time: Two hours, with a 15-minute intermission.

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The Hallelujah Girls plays through May 5,, 2013 at Vienna Theatre Company – 120 Cherry Street, SE, in Vienna, VA. Purchase tickets in advance at the Vienna Community Center, or at the door prior to the show.

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A preview of The Hallelujah Girls by Jocelyn Steiner.