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Winter Park / Maitland Observer Thursday, May 10, 2018 4 months ago

Winter Park Playhouse to present "The Honky Tonk Angels"

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The newest play will tell the story of three women trying to become country western stars.
by: Troy Herring Associate Editor

It’s the story of the quintessential American Dream.

Three women from different walks of life each trek across the country looking to attain their ultimate goal — becoming country western singers.

That’s the story the Winter Park Playhouse will tell in its upcoming production of “The Honky Tonk Angels.”

“We’re always trying to put together eclectic seasons — we do six show seasons and each show is a little bit different — and this was just one of those that stood out,” said Roy Alan, the Playhouse’s co-founder and artistic director. “We hardly ever do any country-western musicals, and we felt like this one would be good to do.”

The story follows the comedic misadventures of three women with their own unique stories. The youngest of the group is the daughter of a West Virginia coal miner, who moves to Texas after the death of her mother and the closing of the mine. To add on to her issues, her father becomes a mean and lost soul, which forces her to help take care of him.

Another is a housewife in Texas who has six children and is married to a trucker. To round out the trio, the third woman moved to Los Angeles from Texas, where she works as a secretary under an abusive boss.

“All three of them decide they want to leave this oppressed lifestyle and live this dream to be country singers in Nashville,” Alan said. “So the three of them meet on a bus on the way to Nashville, and they decide to form a singing group called the Honky Tonk Angels.

“The whole second act is basically a concert at a club called the Honky Tonk Heaven in Nashville,” he said. “It’s their closing night after a six week run in this honky tonk.”

It’s in the music selection where Honky Tonk Angels really shines, Alan said.

The playlist is one that would make any fan of the Grand Ole Opry holler with excitement, as it includes classic country songs such as Loretta Lynn’s “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode to Billie Joe” and Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5.”

As a musical comedy, Alan expects there will be a lot of toe tapping and laughing, but he also hopes audience members will take in the play’s underlying message of female empowerment as well.

Although the show was written by author Ted Swindley in 2002, it still has an incredible voice that harks on issues faced in today’s society, Alan said.

“The story itself, in many ways, is very relevant to the #MeToo Generation that is going on right now … it’s interesting that something written 15 years ago is suddenly very relevant,” Alan said. “It’s very empowering to women I think; telling a story about women leaving oppressed situations and becoming strong, independent women.”

With Honky Tonk Angels being the last show of the season, Alan said this new show is a good time to check out the theatre at the Winter Park Playhouse before it begins a monthlong break.

“This will be a great night out for anybody who wants to spend an interesting evening out, doing something possibly a little bit different than they usually do,” Alan said. “It’s just a great musical that is inspiring.”

Troy Herring is the associate editor at the Winter Park/Maitland Observer. He is a graduate of the University of Mount Olive (BS '12) and the University of Alabama (MA '16)....

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