Jan Rice, director of Footlight Players’ “Crimes of the Heart,” hopes theateroers are uplifted after experiencing her production of the acclaimed comedic drama.

“The characters have a lot of trouble, but somehow the hilarity comes out and, at the end of the day they do love each other,” she said. “It’s an age-old story, and people are going to leave lighthearted.”

Opening Friday at Michigan City’s Footlight Theatre and running through Aug. 20, “Crimes” looks at the struggles, both past and present, of Meg, Babe and Lenny Magrath, who are forced to come together to their southern Mississippi hometown following a family tragedy.

Penned by American playwright Beth Henley , whose works include “The Miss Firecracker Contest” and “Secrets of the Winter Madrigal,” “Crimes” received a Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1981 and was also nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play that year.

“Crimes” was adapted for the big screen in 1986, with Sissy Spacek, Jessica Lange and Diane Keaton portraying the Magrath sisters. The film version received a pair of Academy Award nominations.

Rice estimated her production of “Crimes” was Footlight’s third staging of the play.

“I’m drawn to southern comedies and we’ve done quite a few of them at Footlight,” she said. “We’ve done several of these and our audience seems to like them.”

“We have some wonderful ladies,” Rice said. “I think all of our actors are doing a good job … I want (theatergoers) to get the story and I believe that our actors are going to present a good story.”

Next up for Footlight Players is a production of the drama “Moonglow,”  scheduled to open Oct. 6.

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