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NEW ULM – What do you get when you bring together four women with their own issues, dramas and routines?
But you also get “The Savannah Sipping Society,” an all-too-relatable comedy play which is performed at the State Street Theater Co. (SSTC) in New Ulm on August 19, 20 and 21.
The production will take place at 7 p.m. on August 19 and 20, with a screening at 2 p.m. on August 21. Tickets can be purchased online at eventbrite for $15 each by visiting statestreetnewulm.org/savannah-sipping-society and following the eventbrite link at the bottom of the page. Tickets can also be purchased in New Ulm at Hy-Vee, the Chamber of Commerce, in person at the door and over the phone by calling SSTC at 507-359-9990.
In “The Savannah Sipping Society,” which is directed by Deborah Ingle, Fate brings together four unique Southern women who all need to get out of their daily grind and regain the enthusiasm for life they once had.
Ingle, a first-time director at SSTC, said that although the play centers on four older women, it is a production that men and women of all ages can relate to in a one way or another.
“The beauty of this show is that it’s never too late to try new things in your life and make new friends,” said Ingle. “I think that can be very encouraging, especially for people who might find themselves late in life and thinking, ‘Well, now what do I do?’ Personally, I relate to it a lot, having been pretty introverted most of my life, I found that coming into adulthood I had a hard time making friends and this show really reflects a experience similar to what I had is that you just accidentally find people and you never really know who is going to mean the most to you in life.”
There were some hiccups in some of the play’s rehearsals due to COVID cases, but Ingle said they worked around the issue by using Zoom video conference calls to rehearse plays when needed. Ingle also said one of the cast members had frequent Zoom repeats through August simply because she lived in the Twin Cities area.
There are four actors for this production and each character brings their own unique personality to the stage.
Andrea Broman, who has a degree in theater and will star in her second play SSTC, plays the character of Jinx Jenkins.
“She describes herself as a humdinger of a girl and also a girl with pizzazz,” Broman said of Jinx. “She’s definitely the one with all the ideas, she encourages everybody all the time to do what they’ve always wanted to do, whatever it is. So she gets them to dance salsa and do a ghost tour and all kinds of different things.
Broman said his character Jinx was quite different from his real-life personality.
“I am very homebody in my life” said Bromann. “I tend to be, ‘Let’s watch the latest thing that came out on Netflix and have a drink’ instead of being, like, there’s a line I have on the show that’s just, like, “Well, it’s Savannah, we can take our Bourbon with us. Open liquor containers are legal here.”
Julie Moore plays the character of Marlafaye Mosley, a divorcee from Texas.
“I sort of describe Marlafaye as rough around the edges and kind of tough like a Texas girl from Texas,” said Moore.
This will be Moore’s first piece at SSTC as she lives north of the Twin Cities. Moore got her part in the play after executive director Sandra Juni, who is a good friend of Moore’s, contacted Moore and encouraged her to audition for the part.
Mary Blackstad, a New Ulm resident starring in her first professional play, stars as Dot Haigler.
“I am a brave 69 year old lady who is widowed” Blackstad said of her character Dot. “And I want to start my life over again and I want to have fun doing it and doing all kinds of challenges and meeting good friends and all kinds of things like that.”
Blackstad said she had always wanted to act in plays, but only recently started. She joked about her previous acting experience and said her only real acting background was in freshman year.
“Well, when I was in first grade, I was a raindrop [laughs]and I got dressed in light blue flannel pajamas and that was it, I didn’t do anything else,” said Blackstad. “I never really participated in it. In fact, when I told my daughter that I was going to be in this play, she was like, ‘What are you going to be? A tree? ‘ [laughs].”
Finally, Jennifer Deutz stars as Randa Covington.
“[Randa is a] high-strung perfectionist who threw a curveball when she gets fired mid-quote, without citing a successful career and has no idea what to do with her life.
Deutz, who has lived in New Ulm with her husband and children for five years, said she had performed in a few shows at SSTC before this one. However, she is also the mistress of props at SSTC and is heavily involved in many other plays that she does not perform in.
Deutz said one of his favorite things about “The Savannah Sipping Society” this is how it covers many different topics.
“One of my favorite things about this show is that it covers a lot of topics that are sadly pretty common – getting fired, getting divorced, husband cheating on you and leaving or spouse dying. And that’s what you do with the coins, what do you pick up and move forward and who will be there for you when you do?
Deutz also called this production “the girls’ night out show of the decade.”
Moore added that this piece is all about having a good time.
“It’s kinda fast-paced, it’s got zinger, one-liners, larger-than-life characters and it’s just a good time,” said Moore. “We all need a little lift right now, a good time. And it’s a show about four women. I think everyone, men and women, can relate, but hey, get your girlfriends together and come along, it’s gonna be a good time.