WELCOME BACK TO IVY GAP Begins Tonight at Barter Theatre

WELCOME BACK TO IVY GAP Begins Tonight at Barter Theatre

Barter Theatre is gearing up to introduce a rich new comedy that we Southern folk can truly appreciate. The author of "First Baptist of Ivy Gap" and "My River, My Valley" brings Barter another warm and hilarious play, "Welcome Back to Ivy Gap." It begins tonight, May 29 on Barter's Main Stage, and tickets are going fast.

Just as they did in "First Baptist of Ivy Gap," audiences will fall in love with this unique and spirited group of women from East Tennessee. "We know these ladies. They are the same people that go to your church, the same personalities we recognize from a Southern church setting. It's that familiarity that resonates with this play," says Director Katy Brown.

The five ladies of First Baptist Church are each at a fork in the road. Edith, the late pastor's wife, returns to the church to find things have gone to the dogs. Mae Ellen, the church's organist, has started wearing hippie clothes and playing her own (and very loud) renditions of the classic hymns. Vera is auditioning for the spicy play "Last of the Red Hot Lovers," startling her fellow Baptists, and a snooty new member of the church is making waves for everyone.

Enter the awkward new preacher, "Pastor J.J." He's an outsider hailing all the way from Texas, and let's just say he isn't exactly the next Billy Graham. Faced with a declining church membership, a shrinking building fund for the new sanctuary, and the church ladies at each other's throats, he finds an ally in Edith and they begin their journey to restore harmony to First Baptist Church.

Their journey is warm and filled with laughs. There's nothing funnier than watching these ladies try to overcome their differences to work together to help their church and its members succeed.

As the old Southern saying goes: God works in mysterious ways, and Lord knows this little church will need some divine intervention. Will the new pastor be able to put up with their shenanigans? Will their conniving and bickering ruin it all? Or can this preacher be accepted in this new congregation and these ladies find a place for forgiveness and redemption?

Barter audience favorites Mary Lucy Bivins, Tricia Matthews, Hannah Ingram and Nick Koesters team up with newcomers Anita "Jo" Lenhart and Paris Bradstreet to make up an all-star cast.

"Welcome Back to Ivy Gap" is sponsored by corporate sponsors Food City and Abingdon Roofing and media sponsors East Tennessee Medical News, WCYB 5 and WBEJ.

For tickets and more information, call Barter Theatre box office at (276) 628-3991 or visit bartertheatre.com.

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