It’s “crazy, crying, laughing, funny” when five Southern women gather for their annual long weekend in the Outer Banks.
“The Dixie Swim Club,” which opens Friday at Macon Little Theatre, focuses on the friendship of the women who met as college swim teammates.
“These are stories of real women,” said J. Cindy Hill, who is directing the play. “You feel like you know them. It has a lot of heart but it’s also very funny.”
The play will open in 1982 when the characters are 40 and follow them over the next 30 years as they meet for weekends when they are 45, 50 and finally 70.
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“They’ll get to age with hair and make-up and costumes and physicality,” Hill said.
Aiden Carter will be handling makeup and Mitch Kersey, who owns Amanda Jane salon, will do hair.
“The two of them will help the process quite a bit,” said Hill, who handles arts marketing for Mercer University.
The play uses the same set for each of the four featured weekends.
“It’s the beach house they come to every year,” Hill said. “The set will change a little from year to year as any rental would.”
Hill describes the play as “Steel Magnolias” meets “Mamma Mia!”
“I think it’s really funny and I think (the audience) will end up being touched by the story in the end,” said Regina Register, who is returning to the stage for the first time since high school to play Vernadette.
Vernadette has been described as self-deprecating and acerbic.
“A lot of people will totally relate to her,” Hill said.
Sheree, who is the team’s former captain and tries to continue as group leader, is being played by Anna Deignan.
“Audiences will recognize her,” Hill said. “She’s done a lot of musicals.”
Dinah, who is described as a wise-cracking overachiever with career but not personal success, is being played by J.J. Hobbs.
Hobbs, who is a professional opera singer, will get a chance to showcase her comic side, Hill said.
Jessica Walden will be making her stage debut as Lexie, who is known for her looks and failed marriages.
“Live theater has always been on my bucket list of things I’d like to do,” Walden said. “I thought why not give it a shot. (This play) is something I’d love coming to.”
The cast is rounded out by Amy Lines, who is playing former nun Jeri Neal.
“She’s a comic genius,” Hill said. “She’s fabulous with physical comedy.”
Hill said the play normally spans 33 years and the opening scene features the characters at age 44 but she “younged it down a tad” when lots of talented young women showed up for auditions.
“The entire rehearsal process has been positive and joyous,” Hill said. “It’s captured the heart of what this story is -- the friendships among women and the camaraderie of knowing someone a really long time.”
Hill thinks many in the Macon community can identify with this.
“I think guys will get a kick out of this too and get a better understanding of women... and the fun we have behind their backs,” Walden said.
“The Dixie Swim Club”
When: 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday and May 23-26; 2:30 p.m. Sunday and May 27
Where: Macon Little Theatre, 4220 Forsyth Road.
Cost: $18 adults, $15 seniors and $10 students
Information: 471-PLAY or www.maconlittletheatre.org