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3Girls Theatre Company Brings Refreshingly Holiday-Free Musical To Z Below


3Girls Theatre Company Brings Refreshingly Holiday-Free Musical To Z Below 3Girls Theatre Company turns Z Below in the Mission into an intimate down-home east Texas bar to tell a bluesy tale of country music, true love, success and betrayal in a brand new revival of Southern Lights, first produced by Theater Artists of Marin in 1993.

Written by Lee Brady, directed by Andrea Gordon with musical direction by Robert Beifus, the play tells the story of Callie Calendar and Lonn McGee, the daughter and adopted son respectively of country music legend, Cash Callendar, when Callie and Lonn's passionate teenage love affair was shattered by a very public tragedy. Asked about the inspiration for Cash, playwright Brady says, "He's a combination of the classic male country music legend- think Jimmie Davis, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard."

Brady describes Southern Lights as a "mood play," and when pressed further describes the moods as including "longing for a past and evoking another place and time," as well as "bluesy and sentimental." Interestingly, all those tropes can be applied to much more traditional holiday fare, but, "here at the Texas Crossroads Bar you will find no Santa's sugarplum fairies or merry gentleman looking to rest," she says before adding, "Having a drink and listening to a song, maybe, but not rest."

Brady came up with the original idea for Southern Lights while working in and with a small theatre company called Tour de Force (also with current director, Andrea Gordon), and decided to write a one-act for two of our actors. Based on a Greek myth, it was the story of a young man who was on the wrong path-he was trying to be someone else, when one of the Muses-"probably Calliope" she says, "came down from Mt Olympus to help, as goddesses did that in the old stories. She did change him, but fell in love despite knowing that she would have to leave when her mission was accomplished."

Clues to the source material of the play can perhaps be gleaned from the author's favorite country songs:

  • Crazy by Patsy Cline
  • Me and Bobby McGee by Chris Christopher
  • Your Cheatin' Heart by Hank Williams
  • San Antonio Rose by Bob Wills
  • Blue Eyes Cryin' in the Rain by Willie Nelson

When asked, "When folks leave the theater, what do you want them to take with them?" Brady replies: "Thoughts of love affairs they may have had-good or bad-and a warm sense that even if they ended badly, they were worth it!" She then adds, "It's also a sympathy for young lovers and a warning to parents that, in Sondheim's words, 'Children will listen!'"

A recent interview with Lee Brady for the Dramatist's Guild where she discusses Southern Lights, and her fondness for radio drama and storytelling which began while growing up in Seminole, Oklahoma can be found here:

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