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Good Ol' Girls Creators:
The show Good Ol' Girls was first conceived by Matraca Berg. In 2008, Matraca was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, the youngest nominee in history. She has had a prolific career, with more than 60 recordings of her songs by the likes of Randy Travis, Faith Hill, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Tanya Tucker, Keith Urban, Clint Black and Loretta Lynn. Strawberry Wine, performed by Deanna Carter, was named Country Music Association Song of the Year in 1997. Other memorable songs include The Last One To Know, recorded by Reba McIntyre, XXX's and OOO's, by Trisha Yearwood, and If I Fall You're Going Down With Me, by the Dixie Chicks.
About Good Ol' Girls, Matraca Berg says:
The power of the show is that it really is a mirror. And it's a beautiful mirror and you can be proud. When you see this reflection, you say, "Wow--they’re talking about me. They're talking about my mother." It's just so powerful when you see all those girls up there. You can see so many parts of yourself reflected back to you in such a beautiful and joyful way.
Marshall Chapman was born and raised in Spartanburg, SC. She now lives and works in Nashville and, to date, has released ten critically acclaimed albums.
Her songs have been recorded by a variety of artists, including Emmylou Harris, John Hiatt, Wynonna, Joe Cocker, Irma Thomas, Jimmy Buffett, Jessi Colter, Olivia Newton-John, Conway Twitty, Crystal Gayle, Ronnie Milsap and The Uppity Blues Women. She still tours extensively. Marshall published a memoir in 2003--Goodbye, Little Rock and Roller--and will release her latest book, They Came To Nashville, in 2009. She is a regular contributor to XM Radio's Bob Edwards Show's and a contributing editor/columnist for Garden and Gun magazine.
About Good Ol' Girls, Marshall Chapman says:
When it first opened in 1999 at a literary festival, there was reporter there from the New York Times. He called the show "a feminist country music review” and I think that is a perfect description. The word "feminist" used to get people all upset, especially in the South, but now it is a way of life. And if you are not a feminist, you have missed the boat. This show has some serious messages, true, but creating this show was a whole lot of fun for all of us!
Playwright Paul Ferguson has adapted and staged the works of 24 prominent Southern writers. He has directed professionally in Los Angeles, New York City, and all over the Southeast.
Ferguson adapted, co-wrote and directed the original productions and the North Carolina Theatre tour of Good Ol' Girls, as well as The Devil's Dream (a musical based on Lee Smith's novel) and Killer Diller (a musical based on Clyde Edgerton's novel).
Paul is a member of the Dramatists Guild and a Professor of Performance Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill, where he teaches directing, adaptation and performance.
About Good Ol' Girls, Paul Ferguson says:
As someone partly raised by a good ol' girl (my paternal grandmother) and as a lifelong fan of Southern fiction and music, the opportunity to adapt, compile, and write Good Ol' Girls is a lasting gift. The artists I met, the work we did, and the fun we had remain indelible memories.
Good Ol' Girls is a patchwork quilt of songs and stories by and about Southern women. It is a musical and narrative revue that celebrates, questions, and revels in what it means to be a "good ol' girl." The script loosely traces the good ol' girl's life from youth to adulthood to old age.
Good Ol' Girls attempts to equally represent each of the four source writers as they explore themes of family, place, work, relationships, spirituality, love, and loss in the lives of different good ol' girls. The four good ol' girls whose works are the source materials for this production (Lee Smith, Jill McCorkle, Matraca Berg, and Marshall Chapman) have my lasting gratitude, respect, and admiration. Heroes are hard to find these days, but they are four of mine.
Jill McCorkle is a native of Lumberton, NC, graduate of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the masters program at Hollins University. She is the author of five novels, The Cheer Leader, Carolina Moon, Tending to Virginia, July 7th, Ferris Beach, and three story collections, including Creatures of Habit. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic Magazine, Ploughshares, Best American Short Stories and New Stories from the South. She is the recipient of the John Dos Passos Prize (1999) and the North Carolina Award for Literature (1999), and the New England Book Award (1993).
She has taught creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Tufts, Harvard, Brandeis and Bennington College. Jill is currently on faculty at North Carolina State University. Her latest novel, Going Away Shoes (Algonquin), will be out in 2009.
About Good Ol' Girls, Jill McCorkle says:
You see the range from childhood to the nursing home. You can see your mother, your aunts, all the women you have known and loved. You can see yourself.
Lee Smith is the author of eleven novels, including Oral History, Saving Grace, The Devil's Dream, and Fair and Tender Ladies, plus three collections of short stories. Her novel The Last Girls was a New York Times bestseller as well as a winner of the Southern Book Critics Circle Award.
A retired professor of English at North Carolina State University, Lee received an Academy Award in Fiction from American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1999. Her latest novel will be published in October 2010.
About Good Ol' Girls, Lee Smith says:
It's so empowering to see all those women up there on stage. It's kind of an estrogen high!
Cape Fear Regional Theatre Artistic Director:
Olga Lucia "Bo" Bernardin Thorp, first stepped onto a stage in an elementary school play in Columbia, South Carolina, and hasn't left it since. After graduating as a UNC Playmaker, Bo and her husband, Herbert, arrived in Fayetteville in 1960 and joined others in the community to create the Fayetteville Little Theatre. In 1962, on not much more than a wing and a prayer, FLT produced its first play, The Night of January 16th. In 1981, the FLT hired Bo as its Artistic Director, the sole paid staff position, on a total budget of under $50,000. Today, after two extraordinarily successful capital campaigns, the regional theatre has a full-time staff of ten, a budget over $1 million, a Board of Directors of 40, and produces plays of stunning national quality.
When not directing, she has served as the producer and often as an actor in the productions. In addition, Bo has taught theatre classes for children since the 1960s. Bo Thorp has developed a unique system of teaming professional artists and technicians with amateurs from our community. As a result, CFRT has become a training ground, and many amateurs have gone on to theatre careers regionally and beyond including award-winning children's author Mary Pope Osborne, Broadway performers Suzanne Ishee, Grady Bowman, Natasha Williams and producer Suzanne Evans.
When NC Representative Rick Glazier presented Bo Thorp with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, North Carolina's highest honor given to any civilian citizen, he said, "Your vision, when few dared to dream; your passion, when few had the energy to persevere; and your skill, when few had the talent to manage, have helped transform this community's image into a vibrant cultural arts center in this region of the nation."
About Good Ol' Girls, Bo Thorp says:
What is a Good Ol' Girl? You will see some of what we know in this production, but the truth is, a good ol' girl defies absolute description. She's complicated.
The girls you'll meet are not the original "actresses" who spoke Lee and Jill's words and sang Marshall and Matraca's songs, but they're good just the same. They are my friends and represent the many friendships I treasure with the women I have known--especially in the theatre.
The operative word is "good"--not to say saintly--oh no! But loyal, loving, someone you'll want to know. This show is one of the truly special ones, marking a permanent place in my heart.
Here's to all the Good Ol' Girls you'll meet watching this--Lee, Jill, Matraca, Marshall, Cassandra, Gina, Kendra, Libby, Liza and Pamela. Of course, we're nothing without our men--Big Mike and the Milkmen (our band).
I just know you'll love 'em as much as I do!
Cape Fear Regional Theatre Music Director:
A North Carolina native, Mike Craver graduated from the University of North Carolina and was a member of the popular Red Clay Ramblers for 12 years.
After leaving the Ramblers, Mike got involved in more theatre, both as a writer and performer. Off-Broadway credits include The Oil City Symphony (co-author and original cast member, Drama Desk award), Smoke on the Mountain, Radio Gals (co-author and original cast member, LA Ovation award), Wilder (co-author and original cast), Lunch at the Piccadilly (co-writer and original cast), Smoke on the Mountain Homecoming (arranger and additional music and lyrics). He has worked in theatres across the country, including the Pasadena Playhouse, Actors Theatre of Louisville and the Cape Playhouse in Dennis, MA.
He works as a keyboard player, songwriter, arranger and show-writer and has appeared in many theatrical productions, including Diamond Studs and Sam Shepard's A Lie of the Mind. He has recorded nine albums and has toured the US, Canada, Europe, Scandinavia, Africa and the Middle East.
About Good Ol' Girls, Mike Craver says:
I liked the material and knew it would be fun!
UNC-TV Production Credits:
Location Unit Manager
Mobile Unit Manager
Cape Fear Regional Theatre Credits:
Assistant Techical Director
Back Stage Manager
Major funding for Good Ol' Girls was provided by
The Jackson Center for Creative Writing at Hollins University.
Additional funding was provided by
The Arts Council of Fayetteville/ Cumberland County.