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Review: HONKY TONK ANGELS Charms at Beef & Boards

Review: HONKY TONK ANGELS Charms at Beef & Boards

Running now through August 14th at Beef & Boards!

The beat of the drum and the twang of the guitar are calling you to HONKY TONK ANGELS at Beef & Boards. When a band of three women are flung together by chance, the results are a series of both charming and hilarious antics strung together by some of country music's greatest hits.


I dare you to resist the urge to tap your feet, sway, clap, or even sing along at HONKY TONK ANGELS. This country music revue is a prime opportunity to get away from the day-to-day grind and take some time to enjoy the allure of a good beat and killer vocalists.

Before I get too far, I have to confess that I am not country music's greatest fan, but that did not stop me from being drawn into the fun of HONKY TONK ANGELS. I was surprised by the emotional depth and rollicking humor of this production. That effect was created by three key people: Shelbi Berry as Darlene, Bridgette Ludlow as Angela, and Kaylee Verble as Sue Ellen. In a show that rests entirely on the talents of a trio, they found moments to shine as individuals and dazzle as a group.

If you thought country music hinged entirely on pickup trucks and cowboy boots, Shelbi Berry will quickly prove you wrong. She brought a heartfelt, soulful sound to classics like "Coal Miner's Daughter." She drew out the emotion in every song she sang and made you truly sink into the meaning of the lyrics.

Kaylee Verble provided a fun and flippant element to the stage. She gave a plucky performance of "9 to 5" and "These Boots are Made for Walking." She helped balance the group with her delivery of Sue Ellen's killer combo of levity and logic. She also has the most amusing name: Sue Ellen Smith Barney Fife.

A large part of the laughter at HONKY TONK ANGELS came from the ramblings and one-liners of Angela (Bridgette Ludlow). She is queen of her double-wide trailer (and married to a man named Bubba, by the way). She used physical comedy to great effect and also emphasized the humanity of the women on stage.

HONKY TONK ANGELS is a great reminder that we all dream and wish and that we all have something to learn from others. Opening your mind, opening your heart, and maybe opening your tupperware of bologna sandwiches can be a life-changing experience.


Honky Tonk Angels sure heated up the crowd at Beef & Boards last week. The lively excellent time delivered a mixture of downhome frankness and rural sassiness. Originally conceived by Ted Swindley, who offered the Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre its 2014 hit Always...Patsy Cline, this roadhouse jukebox musical preferred archetypes to stereotypes: It put together three very determined country-western women who meet en-route to Nashville. The ladies the create the title act, a vibrant trio that flourished on their contrasts and softens with their heavenly harmonies. As with a good jukebox musical, Swindley didn't skimp on include popular, toe-tapping country hits - Tammy Wynette's "Stand by Your Man," Loretta Lynn's "Coal Miner's Daughter" and Dolly Parton's "9 to 5" came one after another in the first 15 minutes and many more made their appearance.

As for casting, Beef & Boards got this one right as the show delighted the audience and the Musical Director, Kristy Templet didn't hold back. Angela (Bridgette Ludlow) is the sweet narrator, mother of six, wife of Lone Star beer trucker Bubba, and double-wide monarch from Waxahachie, Texas; Sue Ellen (Kaylee Verble) is the Dolly Parton-esque long-suffering, twice-divorced, eternally harassed career woman from Pasadena, the "toilet bowl" of Texas; and Darlene (Shelbi Berry) is the West-Virginia-born moral, fledgling Christian sweet-voiced, pig-tailed girl enroute from the Mississippi Delta. All of whom clearly subscribed to what all motivated Texas gals know: the bigger the hair, the closer to God.

Berry's vocals were beautiful and her acting enchanting; Verble was totally believable and charming as the roller-skating, baton-twirling Hooter girl; and Ludlow's physical comedy at times practically rivaled that of Lucille Ball. Together, the ladies' harmonies were gorgeous, especially in the truly beautiful compositions of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You" and "Paradise Road," among many others of the nearly 30 songs long show.

Beef & Boards delightfully set the stage with Michael Layton's wood-paneled set and Ryan Koharchik's lights, and the overall effect provided the feel of the kind of country bar in which too many cheap drinks are more than likely to lead to a brawl.

Don't miss your chance to bounce, tap, and hum along to the tunes of HONKY TONK ANGELS. HONKY TONK ANGELS will be playing at Beef & Boards through August 14th. Performances include both matinees and evening options. Get your tickets today!

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