‘Savannah Sipping Society’ opens tonight in Rogers City

News Photo by Darby Hinkley “The Savannah Sipping Society” opens tonight in Rogers City and will run this and next weekend. Above, from left to right, are Charlotte Heidemann, Theresa Gibson, Val Schalk and Pennie Hoeft.

ROGERS CITY — This unlikely foursome sure knows how to have fun, with the help of a potent drink or two.

Find out what female friendship is all about starting tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Rogers City Theater, when the modern comedy, “The Savannah Sipping Society” opens, presented by Rogers City Community Theatre. The live production will be showing at 7:30 p.m. tonight and Saturday, at 2 p.m. Sunday, and again at the same times next weekend, April 30 through May 2.

Set in Savannah, Georgia, the comedy stars four main characters, Randa (Val Schalk), Dot (Charlotte Heidemann), Marlafaye (Pennie Hoeft), and Jinx (Theresa Gibson). Randa’s grandmother (Elaine Heidemann) makes a cameo appearance in a hilarious scene. But, of course, almost all the scenes are hilarious.

Director Karl W. Heidemann said he laughed out loud when he read this play, which he considers “one of the funniest shows that we have ever brought to our stage.”

He said each of the actors has done a terrific job portraying the unique characters, who all have very different and strong personalities.

“We have a lot of seasoned actors in this show, and we’ve been working a lot on character development, and they’ve really done a great job with that,” he said. “They’ve developed their characters so well. Four distinct personalities onstage. Different types of people. They come together, kind of by accident, and they meet and have a few drinks and laugh, and bond. And, over a six-month period, they really form a good, strong friendship.”

Randa is a perfectionist workaholic who loses her job and realizes she “has no life and no idea how to get one,” a press release explains. Dot is a recently widowed woman who is struggling to recreate a life plan without her husband. Marlafaye is a downhome Texas gal who doesn’t give a hoot what anyone thinks of her, especially her ex-husband, who left her for a 23-year-old dental hygienist. Cosmetics salewoman Jinx is also a life coach, who seeks to offer her services to these women, and in the process, finds the friendship she had no idea she needed.

The four middle-aged women bond, sometimes getting into shenanigans, always side by side, and usually with drinks in hand. Together, they find the courage and confidence needed to move forward with their new lives.

“I just think this is the funniest play, and my brother did a fantastic job directing this production,” said Elaine Heidemann. She is also Charlotte Heidemann’s sister, so this play is a bit of a family affair.

Joining Director Heidemann on the production crew are Assistant Director Caitlyn Shadbolt, microphone operator Baylee Lijewski, lightboard operator Noah Hanson, and sound technician Riconda Lamb.

“The Savannah Sipping Society” was written by the award-winning comedy team of Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, and Jamie Wooten.

This play is recommended for ages 13 and up because of adult innuendos and mild language.

The historic Rogers City Theater is handicap-accessible, located at 257 N. Third St. Tickets are $14 per adult and $6 for all students. The box office opens one hour prior to each performance. For more information, call 989-734-7368.

Seating is limited to 50% capacity, but since the venue is large, that still allows for 140 people to attend. Masks and social distancing are required.

“Bonding with people is really the most important thing that there is in life,” Director Heidemann said, noting that this play comes at an opportune time for folks to celebrate coming together, since we have all been so starved for human connection amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Director Heidemann also designed and built the set, with the help of others on the production staff.

Heidemann said this is the 65th play the community theatre group has done at Rogers City Theater. He said he has directed over 25 of them.

“Our organization is designed to encourage people’s growth in live theater,” he explained. “So, if we have people that are interested in directing, we will have them assistant direct with a seasoned director.”

Heidemann said it’s especially fun to work with kids on intergenerational productions, but those big productions have been placed on hold this year because of COVID-19 precautions.

“The kids have such a freshness to them, and they’re astounded that the old people like us can have so much fun,” he said. “So, it’s really a nice interchange.”

For updates, visit the Rogers City Community Theatre Facebook page or rcctheatre.org.


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