The smoke still hangs over the battlefield at the Historic Texas Theater for the Palestine Community Theatre’s (PCT) production of the “Red Velvet Cake War.”
PCT patrons can still choose sides and tickle their taste buds during the final weekend of this Texas-themed, southern-fried comedy written by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten.
Directed by Dana Goolsby, with assistance from James Vincill, the play centers on the three Verdeen cousins Gaynelle (Dixie Curtis), Peaches (Dr. Jan Sikes) and Jimmie Wyvette (Sandy Webb).
For their entire lives the three cousins’ antics have entertained the residents of their fictional small town of Sweetgum, Texas. The community gossips are not disappointed as Peaches and Jimmie Wy scheme to help Gaynelle out of her latest debacle “by throwing a whiz-bang (family) reunion that’ll keep (Gaynelle) off the funny farm.”
Factor into it eccentric relatives, neighbors, friends and new acquaintances, add the hottest day in July, plus a tornado, then multiply by a jaw-dropping high-stakes wager on who bakes the best red velvet cake and you’re “in for a ring-tailed tooter” of a weekend as predicted by Cee Cee Windham (Cassie Severn).
Windham is Sweetgum’s answer to Martha Stewart and Ann Landers as hostess of the local cable access channel program “Hospitality House.”
“It is a comedy!” said Jana Ayers of Burleson who attended last Saturday’s performance of ‘The Red Velvet Cake War.’ It is my favorite kind of comedy — light-hearted and clean. The cast looked like they were having fun.”
Ayers’ friend Amy Sellers of Tomball interjected, “It was like watching ‘The Carol Burnett Show!’”
Upon learning that Gerry Goodwin was playing the role of self-styled ladies’ man Newt Blaylock, it clinched the friends’ decision to attend the performance. Goodwin is operations manager for the Palestine La Quinta Inn and Suites.
“We are staying at One-eyed Newt’s hotel!” Sellers said.
Ayers and Sellers were college roommates at the University of North Texas in Denton and even though their life post-graduation has taken them to different parts of Texas, they always make time to get together and meet somewhere that is equidistant for each to drive.
“Our half-way point is usually Austin or San Antonio” Ayers said, “but this time we looked for something different because we were tired of getting stuck in traffic.”
Ayers did some research, explored Palestine via www.visitpalestine.com, and together the roommates settled on Palestine for a change of destination and new source of entertainment.
“It is a great town,” Ayers said. “It has a good draw and everyone is friendly.”
“Everyone is friendly,” echoed Sellers. “I have to brag on the pies at Oxbow Bakery — especially the blueberry cream pie!”
Visitors and locals alike are fans of the special desserts created by Becky Wolfe of Oxbow Bakery and Antiques. The red velvet cake Wolfe prepared and donated to the PCT for auction during last Friday’s Opening Night Gala festivities was purchased by Michael and Stacy Bennett and Jim and Candis Wells for $1,060.
The red velvet fudge and recipe donated by PCT board member Michael Cook garnered an additional $540 from Candis Wells. Auctioneer Steve Smith volunteered his services for the event with the proceeds going toward the last phase of the Texas Theater’s renovation.
“The Red Velvet Cake Auction was a great success on opening night!” said Goolsby, who also serves as the PCT marketing director. “The PCT’s goal is to add ticket booths to the front of the building, along with new doors.”
“I want to thank those individuals whose contributions will help us realize that goal,” PCT Board President Roy Dantin said.
This weekend marks the last show dates of “The Red Velvet Cake War,” sponsored by Bodi Services and the Anderson County Roughnecks. Friday and Saturday evenings the curtain opens at 7:30 p.m. and the Sunday afternoon matinee begins at 2 p.m.
Ticket prices are $12 for adults and $8 for students (ages 4-18). Tickets can be purchased locally from Dogwood Diner, Education Unlimited, Palestine Area Chamber of Commerce and Sears Palestine. Tickets can also be purchased online at www.outhousetickets.com.