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Wanzie's LADIES OF EOLA HEIGHTS ZOOM REUNION To Give World Premiere Performance Online


Wanzie's LADIES OF EOLA HEIGHTS ZOOM REUNION To Give World Premiere Performance Online

Wanzie Presents & Rich Charron are set to present a Pay-To-View presentation of playwright Michael Wanzie's newly-penned LADIES OF EOLA HEIGHTS Episode 6 - ZOOM REUNION debuting at 9 pm ET on Saturday, August 15, 2020 via YouTube. This world premiere streaming production will be immediately preceded by a 7:30 pm Zoom Cast & Crew Cocktail Party. The play will remain available for on-demand viewing from its debut through the evening of August 29, 2020.

The original LADIES OF EOLA HEIGHTS premiered at The Footlight Theatre in January 2005 - with men in drag playing all the female roles - under the direction of Kenny Howard. The show ran every Saturday evening for nine months, playing to sold-out houses and breaking all previous attendance records, making it the longest-running show ever to be presented at The Parliament House Resort; a record that still stands to date.

Three subsequent episodic productions followed; AFTER THE PROM, COURT ORDERED THERAPY, and 55 WEST were each presented at the PH's Footlight Theatre with the all-male cast. In the summer of 2014, in honor of the approaching ten-year Anniversary of the original production, Florida Theatrical Association acquired the rights to present the original LADIES OF EOLA HEIGHTS with actual women playing the female characters, again under the direction of Kenny Howard. The show was presented at The Abbey with actress Blue Star playing Ruby Locksdale - a character originated by Tommy Wooten. Actress Peg O'Keef played Opal Locksdale - a character originated by Doug Ba'aser. Actress, Beth Marshall played Pearl Locksdale - a character originally played by Wanzie, and popular Orlando drag persona Miss Sammy appeared as Jackson/June in all incarnations of the show.

"LADIES was written with all the original male actors in mind, purely as a marketing ploy; to sell tickets at the Parliament House", explains Wanzie, "But it was always my intent that LADIES would eventually be performed at other venues, with real women in the female roles." Wanzie goes on to explain, "I intentionally set out to write a piece that could have a life beyond the Parliament House. I very specifically wrote the play with licensing to other theaters being a goal."

"As full time Artistic Director of The Abbey", explained Kenny Howard, "I was looking for a site-specific piece to present in the unique configuration of our venue when I recalled LADIES OF EOLA HEIGHTS and I thought, 'why not start with a location-specific piece?'". Howard elaborated, "LADIES takes place in the neighborhood immediately adjacent to that of The Abbey and the play is punctuated with fond references to surrounding locales that are all within walking distance of our theater marquee. Those considerations, along with the fact that I always knew I wanted to direct this show at least once more, with female actors playing the female roles, made choosing LADIES OF EOLA HEIGHTS a no brainer as the first theatrical production I would undertake from start to finish in my new position at The Abbey."

The show with real women in the female roles was so successful at the Abbey that Florida Theatrical went on to produce a revival production of COURT ORDERED THERAPY in the summer of 2015, with all the real women reprising their roles, along with Miss Sammy, and the addition of actor Kevin Kelly playing the psychiatrist - a role originated by Frank McClain seven years earlier at the Parliament House.

For the summer of 2016, Wanzie wrote an all-new episode 5 entitled LADIES OF EOLA HIGH SEAS; an installment in which the action took place almost entirely aboard the Disney Magic cruise ship.

Now, after a three year hiatus, all the real women and Miss Sammy, along with a new surprise character, will come together to appear in Wanzie's newest installment in the LADIES series, which is being rehearsed entirely through Zoom meetings with Beth Marshall, Blue Star, and Miss Sammy each logging on from their respective homes in Orlando, Peg O'Keef joining in from her home in Georgia, Rich Charron providing technical direction from his home in Indialantic (on Florida's Space Coast), and Kenny Howard theatrical directing from the home of his parents in rural Kentucky.

Wanzie's LADIES OF EOLA HEIGHTS Episode 6 - ZOOM REUNION takes place in present time amid the Coronavirus pandemic. Opal, who is residing in Atlanta, Ruby, who is residing in NYC, and Pearl, who has moved into the 55 West building in downtown Orlando have not spoken to one another in nearly a decade - since each went their separate ways at the end of their cruise - until today, when Pearl has invited her sisters to join her in a Zoom meeting, because she has a very important announcement to make.

As per usual, old wounds are ripped open, only to be healed again, and in the process, our ladies strengthen their southern sisterhood even as they continue to shock one another, evolve, and discover new secrets.

The character of Jackson/June is indeed long dead, but the indomitable Miss Sammy will still be on hand to provide the appropriate musical interludes between the three scenes of this one-act play.

There are two surprise revelations in this new play as well as a cliffhanger, that leaves playwright Wanzie and director Kenny Howard wide open for an Episode 7, to be written with the intention of being performed onstage before a live audience, once it's once again safe to do so.

And, as with the previous installments, regardless of any serious content, this all-new Zoom version was written with an aim to entertain, to make audiences laugh, and for all of us to fall in love (or fall in love all over again) with those irrepressible LADIES OF EOLA HEIGHTS.

ZOOM REUNION may be enjoyed whether or not the viewer has seen any of the previous LADIES episodes. Obviously, there is an extra layer of enjoyment for those familiar with the characters but, as with all previous episodes in the series, Wanzie manages to make each installment palatable to the first-time LADIES audience member. Thus, this production may be enjoyed as a stand-alone piece.

Also new to this production will be the debut of the all new LADIES OF EOLA HEIGHTS 60's-style TV sitcom theme song, with music by Rich Charron and lyrics by Wanzie - all recorded and produced by Sam Singhaus & Randi Solomon of We Do Records!

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