Family show promises to touch the heart

Schoolgirl Holly Burrell (Laura Simmons), center, interviews Hector Nations (Mike Johnson) about farming for her school paper while his wife Annie Nations (Jacqueline Verdeyen), anxious about what he might say, looks on in a flashback scene from the L'arc en Ciel Theatre Group production of "Foxfire," opening Sunday in Cedar Lake.

CEDAR LAKE | L'arc en Ciel Theatre Group directors Angie Lowe and Paul W. Lowe have created a scenic mountain cabin setting for the LCTG production of "Foxfire," written by Hume Cronyn and Susan Cooper.

There will be only two Sunday dinner-theater matinees, Oct. 19 and 26, for what Angie Lowe calls a "charming, warm, vibrant, funny, yet touching" story. Dinner starts at 12:30 p.m. both dates, with the show at 2, at Great Oaks Banquet Center, 13109 S. U.S. 41.

Tickets are $32 for adults, $30 for senior citizens and $25 for children up to 12; call (219) 374-8000 or (219) 365-3197.

"Foxfire is a powerfully human play with live music.  Some stories and emotions can only be expressed in song, and this show promises to fill a place in your heart you may not even have realized was empty until now," Lowe said.

The show stars an LCTG favorite, Jacqueline Verdeyen, as Annie Nations, a feisty woman of 79 who has worked and lived hard on her primitive farm, "Stony Lonesome," atop the Blue Ridge Mountains of Georgia, alongside her curmudgeon of a husband, Hector.

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Annie's tranquility is threatened, first by a brash real estate man determined to hoodwink her out of her mountain home to line his own pockets, and second by worries about her son Dillard, who long ago left the mountain to become a country music singer.

"Foxfire," said Lowe, "is a tribute to the strength of one  Appalachian woman in particular, and to all strong, determined women in general."   

The role of Annie was created by Jessica Tandy, both on Broadway and in film, while the play was co-written by her husband and co-star Cronyn. Keith Carradine portrayed Dillard, the narrator.  

Three newcomers to LCTG portray leading characters - Mike Johnson, from Whiting, back in the area from the mountains of North Carolina, as Hector; Laura Simmons, from DeMotte, as Holly Burrell, back from college to teach in the mountains; and Matt Stinnett, from Lowell, as Dillard, playing guitar and singing the haunting lyrics about life on the mountain. Steve Becker, from Lafayette, portrays Prince Carpenter, the shyster land grabber, and Lowe herself rounds out the cast as Aunt Bessie, the local midwife.

All appear in a series of flashbacks that help Annie make a decision about staying on the mountain with Hector, who won't budge, or going to live in the city with Dillard.

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