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A tour de force, Good Ol' Girls features a Tar Heel all-star lineup. Based on the stories of acclaimed authors Lee Smith (Fair & Tender Ladies, Oral History) and Jill McCorkle (Ferris Beach, July 7th) and adapted by UNC Chapel Hill Professor of Communications Paul Ferguson, this rock and rollicking, rowdy musical stage production draws you into the lives, loves and losses of six southern women.
Inspired by Smith's writings, top songwriter Matraca Berg (Strawberry Wine, Deanna Carter's #1 hit) approached fellow Nashville hitmaker Marshall Chapman about creating a musical. Chapman knew Smith from their Nashville days in the '70s. Smith's friend, fellow writer and former student McCorkle, brought more great stories to the table.
Bluegrass picker/songwriter Joe Newberry and actress/musician/teacher Julie Oliver originally adapted and arranged the music.
Good Ol' Girls got some good ol' workouts via workshops and stagings throughout the southeast. Then steel magnolia Bo Thorp, of the Cape Fear Regional Theatre, embraced the work and directed this now definitive production last April. The show stars six talented performers well rooted in the South: Pamela Bob, Kendra Goehring, Libby Seymour, Gina Stewart, Cassandra Vallery and Liza Vann.
Backing up such a stellar cast is a group of good ol' guys: Big Mike & the Milkmen. Original Red Clay Rambler Mike Craver served as the show's music director/band leader with Steve O'Connor, Jeff Stone and Guy Unger filling out the rest of the tight band.
McCorkle describes the show as "women of all types in all different places, coming to terms with some big issues in life. The characters don't shy from these issues--love, marriage, pregnancy, work, abuse, faith, family and aging.
Like spoken and sung journal entries, Good Ol' Girls shows that there's more to these gals than just what's on the surface--from God-fearing to hell-raising, hard partying to party hosting, and from bright futures to fading glories.
"You see the range from childhood to the nursing home," reveals McCorkle. "You can see your mother, your aunts, all the women you have known and loved. You can see yourself."
So let your hair down, put your feet up, set your toes tapping and let loose with a few laughs and amens!