RE-DESIGNING WOMEN Opens Tonight at Diversionary Theatre
Playwright Jamie Morris ("Mommie Queerest," "The Facts of Life: The Lost Episode," and "The Silence of the Clams") " is at it again with his latest comedy parody. This time around he spoofs another popular 1980s sitcom, sending up the gals of the Sugarbaker Design Firm in Atlanta. The West Coast Premiere of "Re-Designing Women" opens May 29 for a three-week run at the Diversionary Theater.
Plagued by the faltering economy, Atlanta-based Sugarbaker Design Firm is on the brink of collapse when vapid ex-beauty queen Suzanne has an idea to save the business by pitching a reality show to Andy Cohen, the hot-shot producer from the BRAVO network. Soon camera crews are following the antics of the four Southern belles, their ex-con delivery man Anthony, and their daffy family friend Bernice. The producers get more than they bargain for with plenty zany footage of Julia's highly-charged tirades, MaryJo's cocktail-infused, tell-all testimonials, and Charlene's hillbilly, down-home, there's-got-to-be-a-point-to-these-stories. Soon their world is turned upside down with infighting and jealousy as everyone gets a taste of fame and fortune that could ruin their perfect sitcom existence. "Re-Designing Women" does not incorporate actual episodes; rather, Morris puts his original twist, a current, up-t0-date look on the beloved sitcom -which has been off the air from 21 years - with cameos from some of today's hottest reality show stars.
"Designing Women" ran from 1986-1993 making Dixie Carter, Delta Burke, Annie Potts, Jean Smart, and Meshach Taylor all household names, and re-introducing to TV audiences veteran actress Alice Ghostley. Created by Linda Bloodworth Thomason, the show was very topical and featured discussions of controversial subjects such as homophobia, racism, AIDS, and spousal abuse. When it debuted in CBS's Monday night lineup in 1986, "Designing Women" garnered respectable ratings; however, the network moved the show several times to other time slots and placed it on hiatus and was ready to cancel the show, but a write-in, viewer campaign saved the show and returned it to its Monday night slot. The show continued to run for 7 seasons and was a rating's smash for CBS.
"Re-Designing Women" had its World Premiere last March, produced by Uptown Players in Dallas, where the show enjoyed a seven-week, sold-out, record-breaking run at the Rose Room. Four members of the original cast will be reprising their roles in the San Diego production. Jamie Morris (Julia), Chad Peterson (MaryJo), Darius-Anthony Robinson (Anthony), and Ashton Shawver (Suzanne) will be joined by local actors Timothy Benson, Trevor Peringer, and Michael Piper-Younie.
Beginning May 29 San Diego audiences will get a chance to see whatDallas reviewers called "easily the best written" and "the best so far" of Morris' spoofs. Directed by Christopher Kenney and featuring an all-male cast, "Re-Designing Women" will have its West Coast Premiere at the Diversionary Theater (4545 Park Blvd, San Diego) and will run through June 15. The show will play Thursdays through Saturdays at 8PM and Sundays at 5. For tickets range from $25-$35. Call or 619-220-0097 or visit diversionary.org
PHOTO CREDIT: Mike Morgan