'Designing Women' Meets 'Steel Magnolias' on Farmington Players Stage
The show follows the friendship shared by five women who meet on a college swim team.
Five unforgettable women are on a mission to prove that friendships last forever in The Dixie Swim Club opening Friday at the Farmington Players Barn in Farmington Hills.
The touching family-friendly comedy, written by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, has been called a cross between Designing Women and Steel Magnolias. It tells the story of five women who meet on a college swim team and remain friends for 55 years, reconnecting one summer weekend each year to laugh together and enjoy life.
The play, directed by Tim Timmer of Wayne, focuses on four weekends during that time span (and all the changes in hairstyles and fashion) as the friends meet at a beach house in North Carolina to recharge their relationships.
“The show is about love and friendship,” Timmer said. “These women stick together through all of their trials and tribulations, and form a bond that never fails.”
Sheree Hollinger, played by Anne Craft of Wixom, is mother hen to her friends, the one who organizes the yearly gatherings. Dinah Grayson, (Julie Yolles of Birmingham) is the wisecracking power attorney who can never find time for a man. Lexie Richards (Erin Osgood of Brighton) divorced four times, can never keep a spouse, but she does manage to keep numerous appointments with her plastic surgeon in a quest to preserve her youth.
Jeri Neal McFeeley (Kandi Krumins of Waterford) is the sweet former nun who stumbles on the stage to reveal a big surprise. She continues making life choices that stun her friends. And the scene-stealer is the public school teacher Vernadette Simms (Deb Rockey of Milford), a spunky torpedo who enters one scene in a wacky clown costume. She constantly carries a full bladder and sports some sort of injury.
Timmer says it has been a “wonderful experience” working with his actresses. “I am deeply indebted to these women for their professionalism and commitment to bring this show and my vision together,” he said.
The Farmington Players version combines live stage with video to take the audience back in time. The five friends in their younger days are portrayed by students from Thurston High School in Redford Township. Timmer says the added technical aspect is a move to show the characters “really care for and love each other” over their lifetimes.
Timmer said he feels confident The Dixie Swim Club will instill in audiences a warmth and sense that it’s never too late to become reacquainted with someone. “Whether they reconnect with a friend or family member that they have been apart from, or just reach out to a new friend that they feel they can have a true bond with, I hope that they feel a sense of urgency to connect with someone in their life,” he said. “As they say, ‘Life is too short.”’
The Dixie Swim Club runs Oct. 5-27. For tickets and more information, visit farmingtonplayers.org or call the box office 248-553-2955.
Source: Farmington Players press release