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‘Nunsense’ and ‘Angels’ at Allenberry

June 3, 2012
By JACK FELIX - Sun-Gazette Correspondent , Williamsport Sun-Gazette

BOILING SPRINGS - There's history being made these days (and nights) at the Allenberry Playhouse.

For the first time in its 64 seasons, two musicals are being presented with "The Honky Tonk Angels" sharing the stage with "Nunsense" with the three actresses in "The Honky Tonk Angels" also included in the cast of "Nunsense." With evening and matinee performances, the lively country-western revue runs now through June 24 the Allenberry Playhouse on Route 174 in Boiling Springs (just outside of Carlisle).

A chance meeting among three women on a bus heading to Nashville prompts them to join voices to form a singing group. And do they ever sing! There is a mix of standard and contemporary country western tunes in this 2 1/2-hour songfest. With barely a plot, the 30-plus songs only occasionally bogs Act II down a bit.

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“Honky Tonk Angels” will share the stage with “Nunsense” now through June 24 at the Allenberry Playhouse, Route 14, Boiling Springs.

The trio of women looking for stardom includes Angela, a hard-working under-appreciated Texas housewife and mother, who leaves her truck-driving husband (naturally named Bubba).

Darlene is an innocent girl, born in West Virginia, living in the Mississippi Delta, who leaves her father and still mourns her deceased boyfriend Billie Joe. And Sue Ellen is a twice-divorced secretary in L.A. heading to Music City after fed up with her harassing boss's advances. At the crossroads of their lives and wanting to follow their dreams, the "The Honky Tonk Angels" are born.

Heading the cast is Allenberry veteran Paris Bradstreet as the big- voiced wisecracking Angela. Also serving as an informal narrator, Bradstreet consistently displays great stage presence with "Stand By Your Man" character and stops the show when, all dolled up in short skirt and sunglasses, she hilariously addresses the "Harper Valley PTA."

Gwen Mahan plays the sensitive Darlene, with her voice finely raised in leading off "Calling All Angels" and "Ode to Billie Joe.

Sue Ellen is played by Anne Montavon, whose solos include Dolly Parton's sassy "9 to 5" and "These Boots Are Made for Walking."

All of their solos are solid but even overshadowed when the "Angels" three-part harmony. Getting the most applause is "I Will Always Love You," "Paradise Road" and "I'll Fly Away."

The six piece onstage band, including the distinctive steel guitar, has Todd Olson at the piano as music director.

The multi-level set displays several dozen bottles on open shelves as the backdrop, with lighting changes highlighting the roadhouse atmosphere in Act II, which is primarily "The Honky Tonk Angels" last concert performance.

There are lots of colorful costumes as the "Angels" switch outfits and don wigs, which enhances the visual effects.

Allenberry's Artistic Director, Rogue Berlanga, smoothly directs the three talented and lively "Angels" who don't hesitate to come down into the audience to round up a dancing partner.

Elizabeth Angelozzi, who was in the cast of "The Honky Tonk Angels" when Allenberry first staged this revue, now is the show's choreographer.

"The Honky Tonk Angels" was written and originally directed by Ted Swindly, creator of "Always ... Patsy Cline." While "The Honk Tonk Angels" doesn't have the depth of Swindly's far more popular musical, it does have heavenly harmony. This revue always is highly entertaining, whether or not you're a fan of country-western music. And I'm not!

For tickets and performance dates, call 717-258-3211 or visit www.allenberry.com.

 
 
 

 

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