Come see Pilgrimage classic at Natchez Little Theatre

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 19, 2017

Greetings, Natchez and the Miss-Lou!  It is azalea season in Natchez and the annual pilgrimage of tourists is swarming through the historic mansions.  In Mayweather Hall, Penelope Mayweather, played by award-winning actresses Lynn Mann and Yvonne Murray, a once beautiful Southern belle, is horrified by the tourists who are led through her home by an energetic guide.

But the money isn’t enough to keep Penelope from the clutches of those “damn Yankees” down at the bank.  Thus, when a young author, John Salguod, played by award winning actor Tim Leak, turns up, she is persuaded to take him in as a roomer.  However, it develops that John is visiting under an assumed name because he has written a book banned in Natchez.  The locals consider it a gross libel on their way of life, but it is a best-seller everywhere else.

Penelope’s frantic efforts to keep him hidden from her neighbors are frustrated when Carol, played by award-winning actress Katie Borum, her soon-to-be-married, pretty young cousin, comes to spend the night.  When her parents discover she stayed a second night, scandal looms.  The irate parents, blaming Penelope, threaten to take over Mayweather Hall, which they can do by forcing foreclosure through the bank.

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But meantime John finds Penelope’s diary which she wrote over a period of 40 years, giving embarrassing details about most of the town’s citizens.  John’s publisher arrives on the first morning of the Pilgrimage and offers Penelope a fabulous sum for her memoirs and Mayweather Hall is out of hock!

The remainder of the cast includes award-winning actor Bo Allen as Avery Randall, Penelope’s banker/cousin; making her NLT and stage debut, Amy DeWitt portrays tour guide Mary Belle Tucker; and Carol’s domineering mother, Emmeline, is played by Amanda Dill.  Appearing as Australia, Miss Penelope’s hilarious housekeeper, is award winning actress Alisha Solano.  I am playing Benjamin Carter, John’s New York publisher.

Playing the multitude of tourists who wreak havoc on Mayweather Hall and Miss Penelope are Ginny Borum, Abbie Dill, Janet McNeely, Karlyn Ritchie, Anna Rodriguez, Jonathan Rosso, Layne Taylor and Judy Wiggins.  I directed this production as well as designed and constructed the sets.  Sara Davis is my assistant director and the lights and sound are being run by Jon Borum and Courtney Fleming.

“Southern Exposure” performances are every Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday evening at 7:30 p.m. throughout the Spring Pilgrimage March 18 through April 15.  Tickets are $15 and should be reserved by calling the Natchez Little Theatre, located at 319 Linton Ave. at Maple Street at 601/442-2233, toll free at 1/877-440-2233 or purchase on-line at

Not many communities are as fortunate as Natchez is to have such a delightfully, popular play written about them.  NLT’s greatest compliment is the large numbers of patrons, both local and from around the country that return year after year to see the subtle changes to the production that keep it fresh, entertaining and the audiences rolling in the aisles.

So, come celebrate the NLT’s 69th Season production of “Southern Exposure as it will take a vacation next year and return in 2019.”

Hope to see you there.
Don Vesterse is the director of “Southern Exposure.”