Natchez Little Theater presents catty, classic comedy about the fairer sex

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 17, 2004

Layne Taylor has always wanted to direct a production of &uot;The Women&uot; &045; a play with an all-female cast &045; and knew Natchez would be the perfect place.

In fact, Natchez Little Theatre is the first community theater to mount a production of the catty 20th century comedy since its Broadway revival last year.

&uot;It’s been a fabulous experience,&uot; Taylor said, although he admitted his friends told him he was crazy to try to cast a play with 40 female characters.

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This cast &045; which begins its performances Thursday &045; proves the naysayers wrong, Taylor said.

&uot;This is a play I’ve wanted to do forever,&uot; he said. &uot;Natchez is a great place to do it. Natchez is famous for its women.&uot;

Almost half the cast is new to the Natchez stage, Taylor said.

&uot;This is a very trusting, very talented group of ladies,&uot; he said. &uot;It’s scary to do a play with over 40 characters.&uot;

In fact, Taylor was able to cast 30 women, some of whom are playing multiple roles.

So assistant Don Vesterse created not only 12 different sets but also different costumes and hairstyles for all of the characters.

&uot;They’re my Barbie dolls,&uot; Taylor said of the cast. &uot;A lot of compliments to Don for building the sets as well as the hair-dos.&uot;

&uot;The Women&uot; is NLT’s fourth production of its 56th season and was written by former Vogue fashion editor Clare Booth Luce.

Performances are Thursday through Saturday evening at 8 and at 2 p.m. Sunday.

&uot;The Women&uot; opened on Broadway in 1936 and was popular with the public, playing 657 performances before touring the United States and 18 foreign countries. It was adapted for the screen by Anita Loos and made stars of Joan Crawford, Joan Fountaine, Paulette Goddard and Rosalind Russell. Hollywood legend

Norma Shearer starred as Mary Haines and the cast included Mary Boland, Marjorie Main, Ruth Hussey and Hedda Hopper. There are no men in the cast, although it’s fair to say the play is all about men.

Starring in the NLT production: Becky Zerby as Mary Haines; Elise Glatzer is Sylvia Fowler; Maura Johnson is Edith Potter; Sue Fountain is the Countess de Lage; Gay Guercio is Nancy Roberts; Megan Roberts is Peggy Day; Somer Morace is Crystal Allen; Mary Ruth Caldwell is Miriam Aarons; Doris Talley is Mrs. Morehead; Lissa McManus is Little Mary; and the cast is rounded out by Brandy Colbert, Cindy Galloway, Florence Hargis, Julie Kendall, Angela Landers, Lynn Mann, Rebecca Martin, Leigh Anne Mason, Dianne McGaughey, Lauran McGaughey, Victoria McGaughey, Janet McNeeley, Elizabeth Nosser, June Parker, Van Chauvin Pinney and Sheila Russell.