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The Dixie Swim Club(Comedy)

By Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten
Directed by Suzan Moriarty

March 14–15, 21–22, and 28– 29 (2014)

Five Southern women, whose friendships began many years ago on their college swim team, set aside a long weekend every August to recharge those relationships. Free from husbands, kids and jobs, they meet at the same beach cottage on North Carolina's Outer Banks to catch up, laugh and meddle in each other's lives. The Dixie Swim Club focuses on four of those weekends and spans a period of thirty-three years. Sheree, the spunky team captain, desperately tries to maintain her organized and "perfect" life, and continues to be the group's leader. Dinah, the wisecracking overachiever, is a career dynamo. But her victories in the courtroom are in stark contrast to the frustrations of her personal life. Lexie, pampered and outspoken, is determined to hold on to her looks and youth as long as possible. She enjoys being married—over and over and over again. The self-deprecating and acerbic Vernadette, acutely aware of the dark cloud that hovers over her life, has decided to just give in and embrace the chaos. And sweet, eager-to-please Jeri Neal experiences a late entry into motherhood that takes them all by surprise. As their lives unfold and the years pass, these women increasingly rely on one another, through advice and raucous repartee, to get through the challenges (men, sex, marriage, parenting, divorce, aging) that life flings at them. And when fate throws a wrench into one of their lives in the second act, these friends, proving the enduring power of "teamwork," rally 'round their own with the strength and love that takes this comedy in a poignant and surprising direction. The Dixie Swim Club is the story of these five unforgettable women—a hilarious and touching comedy about friendships that last forever…

Produced through special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc.
 

"A world-class comedy" - TheatreMania.com, 2009


 

Produced through special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.
 


Production Staff

Suzan Moriarty
Director


Suzan Moriarty is a familiar face to Arena audiences both on stage and behind the scenes as a member of the Board. Although she's been performing from a very young age, she didn't start dabbling in directing until college. During the 2010-2011 season, she revisited the idea and directed "The Marriage Go Round". Suzan has assembled an amazing cast of 3 veteran performers and 2 who are new to Arena's stage. A cast of all women; the show runs the gamut of emotions making it entertaining from beginning to end.
 


Lauren Bachle
Stage Manager

Lauren has worked backstage at Arena for 2 other shows. She has fallen in love with The Dixie Swim Club and wishes she could be a member.

 


Riley Milledge
Assistant Stage Manager

This is Riley's first time working at Arena. She is very excited for this opportunity to work with such talented people.

 

 

Actor Bios

Susan Domer
as Vernadette Simms

Susan Domerhas performed in over 50 local productions where she has played a countess, a prison matron, a professor’s wife, a doctor, a wet nurse, a bartender, a drunk, an innkeeper, two New York socialites, a Jew hiding from the Nazi’s, an itinerant preacher, an abused wife, both a rich and poor southern grandmother and the mother of a young man on death row. All of these roles were in preparation for her next, which this time happens to be Vernadette and her funny, hard luck life.
 


Julie Donnell
as Dinah Grayson

Julie Donnell has most recently been seen playing Roz in 9 to 5 at the Civic theater last fall. Her recent Arena appearances include Edna in Prisoner of 2nd Avenue and Miss Maple in The Butler Did It.

 


Jeanne Hanford
as Jeri Neal McFeeley

As a veteran in the theater, I am new to the Fort Wayne theater experience. I was in 9 to 5 at the Civic last fall and am excited about my debut at the Arena Dinner Theatre as Jeri Neal. After a 25 year hiatus to focus on my family, I am looking forward to being back on the stage.
 


Rebecca Karcher
As Sheree Hollinger

Rebecca is coping with having her only child go away to college by re-acquainting herself with a long lost love of theatre. She is a grants administrator in the City's  Office of Housing and Neighborhood Services and works with many social service agencies committed to making our community a better place for everyone.  Rebecca is a native of the Kansas City area and hasn't been onstage in awhile, but favorite roles from the past include Ismene in Antigone; Winifred, in Once Upon A Mattress; and Anne, in Separate Tables. She is very appreciative of the opportunity to appear on the Arena Theatre stage.

 


Regan Kreigh
as Lexie Richards

This is Regan's 6th show at Arena Dinner Theatre! She is thrilled to be back and playing such a fun character.

 


Director's Notes
 

Every so often, a play comes along that speaks to our souls.  Of course, it’s always unexpected. It usually leaves us riveted for hours while we realize that what we just read is the very thing we’re experiencing in our own lives. “The Dixie Swim Club” was no exception for me. As part of the play reading committee for Arena Dinner Theatre, we came across this delightful comedy. It seemed as though many dinner theatres were participating in what was being referred to as a ‘heartwarming show’. What I didn’t realize when I began this journey, was that heartwarming, couldn’t even come close to effectively describing this play. The story follows five characters, who originally meet as members on a college swim team. Throughout the play, we have the pleasure of following the southern women, through life’s trials and tribulations, beginning in their mid forties and spanning 30 years. As the play unfolds, you may even question how these five women who are closer than family to one another, could possibly have remained friends. Yet clearly each year, their friendships grow stronger and we see beautiful transformations from each of them.  The authors, Jesse Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, do a lovely job of depicting the aging process as being very believable, especially to those of us who are experiencing it ourselves. There seems to be a time in our lives, when we still feel like we’re twenty- something on the inside, but see a stranger standing in the mirror before us.  In fact, one of the characters reflects on that very topic. She herself feels young at heart, but surprisingly sees a ‘middle aged hand holding on to her martini glass’.  As the Director of Homecare for Lutheran Life Villages, I have the privilege of working with seniors every day.  I’m given the opportunity to hear their inspiring stories that are not too distant from the ones that these 5 fascinating characters share. They remind me frequently that life’s too short but can be a wonderful adventure if we allow it to be.  The Dixie Swim Club, is its own adventure. It runs the gamut of emotions and leaves us appreciating all of the friendships that we experience throughout our lives. I hope you’ll join us as we eavesdrop on these characters and follow them through their own special journeys.

 

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