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‘Dixie Swim Club’ opens tonight

June 19, 2012
Jenn Brookens , Fairmont Sentinel

FAIRMONT - Nothing spells summer better than a weekend at the beach, which is the setting of the "Dixie Swim Club," a performance being offered by the Civic Summer Theater through this week.

"'The Dixie Swim Club' consists of five women that were on a college swim team together," said director Cliff Janke. "Every year, they go to this beach cottage for their annual gathering. We first see them as 44-year-olds, then we see them five years later, then we see them five years after that, and finally the last part is 23 years later. So we see them in their 40s, their 50s and in their 70s. We see them grow, yet we also see that they stay the same through the years."

The five women are as different as can be.

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Actors rehearse a scene from “Dixie Swim Club” on Monday evening at Fairmont Opera House. The show opens tonight at 7:30 and runs through Saturday.

"You have the team captain, you have the man-chaser - that's the best way I can describe her," Janke said with a laugh. "Then you have the one who's had a tough life: She's low-income, accident prone. Then we have a successful lawyer who likes to drink, and finally we have one that's a nun.

Lynne Burgraff plays Jeri Neal McFeeley, a former nun.

"I play an ex-nun with some changes in her life that these women help her through," Burgraff hints.

Meanwhile Phyllis Surprenant plays the accident-prone Vernadette Simms.

"I'm the one in the group that's down on her luck most of the time," Surprenant said. "But we're all friends and stick together."

The other three women in the play are Catherine Burgraff as team captain Sheree Hollinger; DeAnna Shaikoski as the vixen Lexie Richards; and Dianna Anderson as attorney Dinah Grayson.

"Guys will like the play too because it is funny," Burgraff said. "But it's a great play for women to get together with their friends and attend because they are really going to connect with this."

"I like having the small cast and the interactions we have," Surprenant said. "I think all women will be able to relate to what's going on. It's been a fun play to do."

"It's a story that's similar to my life," Burgraff admits. "I have this group of friends that get together every August. So it sounded familiar and it's also very funny."

In what has become a tradition with the Civic Summer Theater, the first production of the year is pulled together in a very short amount of time.

"This time, with the straight show, we have it miked," Janke said. "There's no musical numbers this time, so the straight show is kind of our sound trap. But with it being miked, there shouldn't be a problem with hearing."

Show time is 7:30 p.m. each evening. Tickets are available at the Fairmont Opera House box office from noon to 5 p.m. and one hour before each performance.



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