Monday, January 21, 2013

THE RED VELVET CAKE WAR, Gaslight Baker Theatre, Lockhart, January 24 - February 16, 2013

Gaslight Baker Theatre Lockhart TX

[216 S. Main Street, Lockhart, TX - click for map]

  Red Velvet Cake War Jones Hope Wooten Gaslight Baker Theatre Lockhart TX

The Red Velvet Cake War

a slice of life comedy by Jones, Hope and Wooten

directed by David Schneider and John Lairsen

January 25 - February 16, 2013
"sneak peek" preview on Thursday, January 24; 2 p.m. matinees Sunday Feb 3 and Saturday, Feb 9

Are you ready to beat the post-holiday blues and the winter doldrums? Then attending the Gaslight Baker Theater’s production of The Red Velvet Cake War is a must. The GBT kicks off its 2013 season with this hilarious Jones, Wooten and Hope comedy. This trio of playwrights is currently the most widely produced playwrights in the country today. Co-Directed by David Schneider and John Lairsen, The Red Velvet Cake War’s Verdeen cousins, family and friends put the “fun” in dysfunctional!

The play opens with Gaynelle Verdeen , (hysterically played by Nina Bryant) who is watching her world unravel. She’s been acquitted of attempting to murder her ex-husband’s girlfriend and is appearing on Cee Cee Windham’s TV show “Hospitality House.” Cee Cee, played by Shaela Leggett-Wilson to syrupy perfection, is a vision of frothy pink, endowed with a perpetual “happy smile” and chirpy manner as long as the cameras are rolling.

Ellen Massey brings a sharp wit and equally sharp tongue to the Verdeen clan’s upper crust matriarch, LaMerle Verdeen Minishew. LaMerle feels that the younger,lesser Verdeen cousins are a blight on the Verdeen name so she is canceling the family reunion for this year to give the town folks time “to find another idiot to talk about”. Her older brother, the 90 year old, wisecracking Aubrey Verdeen, (David Young) is the perfect foil for fussy, self-righteous LaMerle.

Red Velvet Cake War Jones Hope Wooten Gaslight Baker Theatre Lockhart TX
Nina Bryant and Ellen Massey (photo: Jim Gillock)

Canceling the reunion is the last thing that the three cousins want to have happen. Rallying around Gaynelle is cousin Peaches Verdeen Belrose, a make-up artist to the newly and dearly departed. Peaches full of life herself. She’s sexy, saucy, recently widowed (maybe) and well done by Leigh Shelton, newcomer to the GBT, but a veteran of the Wimberley Players and a recent Texas State Theatre graduate. 

 The third cousin, Jimmy Wyvette Verdeen, played by another new face to the GBT stage Gina McClure, is a good old girl who manages Whatley’s Western Wear. She also has a deep throaty laugh that is absolutely contagious. Bolstered by her cousins and angry at the world, Gaynelle makes a wild bet during an argument with LaMerle as to who can whip up the best Red Velvet Cake for the reunion that WILL take place. The stakes are high since Gaynelle doesn’t bake and isn’t sure what is needed for a Red Velvet Cake. Thus the hilarious cake war is set in motion.

The show is rounded out with Tammy Francis as Bitsy Hargis who is competing with Jimmie Wyvette for the attentions of a recently widowed neighbor and Elsa Dowdall (played by comedic talent Candice Carr) who is in town to evaluate the sanity of Gaynelle. Newt Blaylock (Randall Ischy), Purvis Verdeen (Stephen Fleming) and Sheriff Grover Lout (Brent White) provide laughs as the “men of Sweetgum”. And lastly, making the most of her 15 seconds on stage, Susie Lay (Mama Doll Hargis) will bring the audience to their feet as she sashays with her walker across the stage teasing her love interest Aubrey Verdeen.

The fun starts Thursday, Jan 24 with the Sneak Peek and runs weekends through Feb 16. Two matinees: Sunday Feb 3 and Saturday, Feb 9 @ 2 pm. More info and ticket reservations at

(Click to go to the AustinLiveTheatre front page)

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