Staff members pooling efforts for local theater production

February 8, 2012 | Arts, UToday
By Vicki L. Kroll



Two UT employees are diving back into community theater.

Annette Blair, left, and Charlene Hansen rehearse a scene for “The Dixie Swim Club,” which will be performed by the Waterville Playshop Friday through Sunday, Feb. 10-12, at the Maumee Indoor Theatre.

Annette Blair and Charlene Hansen hope to make a splash in the Waterville Playshop’s production of “The Dixie Swim Club,” which will be performed Friday through Sunday, Feb. 10-12, at the Maumee Indoor Theatre, 601 Conant St.

Written by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, the play is about five Southern women who met on their college swim team and remain friends, getting together one weekend each summer to catch up.

“It’s the story of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” said Hansen, administrative secretary in the Department of Chemistry. “The teammates meddle in each other’s lives. There’s lots of love, divorces, losses.”

And lots of laughs served with Southern hospitality.

“It’s a good story for what everyone goes through in life. One of the writers [Wooten] was a writer and producer for ‘The Golden Girls.’ The play has a ‘Steel Magnolias’ feel,” Hansen said.

“The play is a heart-warming comedy,” said Blair, supervisor of the Transplant Immunology Laboratory in the Department of Pathology at UT Medical Center. “It’s an absolutely delightful script. It’s a story about women, a story about friendship that we all share.”

Blair plays Sheree Hollinger, the spunky captain of the swim team.

“She’s kind of bossy, the leader of the group,” Blair said of her character. “Ask anyone who works for me and they’ll say, ‘Yeah, that’s Annette.’ I’m kind of loud myself. It’s a good fit.”

Hansen read for the role of Sheree, but co-directors Dee Resnick and Marty Beaber cast her as Lexie Richards, the pretty, pampered one.

“My character is a man magnet. She’s always going after men. She’s fun,” Hansen said. “She has her share of losses, several marriages, and always wants the best of everything.”

The play focuses on four of the friends’ reunions at the same cottage on North Carolina’s Outer Banks over 33 years.

“Growing old is never fun, but I try to make Lexie fun,” Hansen said. “During the play, the ladies will be 44, 49, 55 and 77.”

Makeup, wigs and accessories will help with the transformations.

“Our directors are working with us on changes in speech patterns and physical movements in the older characters,” Blair said.

Both women are returning to the stage after taking time off for family and work.

Blair’s last performance was with the Waterville Playshop in 1995.

“I really enjoy bringing a character to life,” she said. “I also really enjoyed my theater experience because I made so many wonderful friends.”

For Hansen, it was a 15-year break from the spotlight that ended last year when she played Ethel in the Waterville Playshop’s “Music Man.”

“I love the camaraderie of working on a production,” she said. “And it’s a great creative outlet: I can be somebody different.”

Starring in “The Dixie Swim Club” with Blair and Hansen are Dotty Dewulf as Dinah Grayson, Sara Ledzianowski as Vernadette Simms and Mary Wood as Jeri Neal McFeeley.

Curtain time is 8 p.m. for Friday and Saturday, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

Tickets — $10 for adults, $8 for students and seniors, and $5 for children 12 and younger — can be purchased at the Maumee Indoor Theatre or online at watervilleplayshop.org.
Advance tickets can be purchased for $8 for adults from those outlets or any cast member. Theatergoers will be entered to win a Valentine’s special — $80 gift certificate to Fifi’s Restaurant, box of chocolates and champagne.

For more information on “The Dixie Swim Club” or the Waterville Playshop, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary, go to watervilleplayshop.org.