(Front left) Matt Hester and Lexie Smith are reprising their roles in the Bay Tree Council for the Performing Arts’ second production of “Natalie Needs a Nightie.” The other original actors in the 2010-11 performance (back row) Olivia King, Scotty Kennedy, Don Holcomb, Heather Ozbirn and (front right) River Dolan will not be reprising their original roles.

BTCPA stages summer show

For the first time in several years, the Bay Tree Council for the Performing Arts is putting on a summer stock production. June 12 and 14-16 the council will stage “Natalie Needs a Nightie,” a production first presented by the BTCPA in the 2010-11 season.

“During our February production, “One Toe in the Grave,” one of our past board members/cast members mentioned they wished we could do a play in the summer” director Mark Richardson said. “I went to Scotty (Kennedy) and asked him about the possibility. He said he didn’t have any problem with producing one in the summer.”

Kennedy, chairman of the BTCPA board for the 2017-2018 season, was in the original production of the play but will not be reprising his role because of timing conflicts. Three other cast members, however, will return from the original show.

Matt Hester and Lexie Smith are two of the original cast who will be reprising their roles in the production. Hester will play Tommy Briggs, and Smith will play Natalie Newsome.

“It’s my favorite character that I’ve ever done,” Smith said. “There’s a lot going on – a lot of action. The energy really helps me be into the character more.”

The original production of “Natalie Needs a Nightie” was the first time Smith had worked with Hester and Richardson, and she said she is excited to be working with them again because she and Hester have “good chemistry on stage” and Richardson is a “phenomenal director.”

The other actors in the play are Joey Allen, Abbey Jones, Carol Murphree, Randy Mink and Zeb Wallace.

“It has been a while since Zeb has been in a play here in Red Bay,” Richardson said. “That’s because he has been busy earning his doctorate and now lives in Minot, N.D. But Zeb will be here for the first part of summer.”

“Natalie Needs a Nightie” was chosen because it is a “short, simple, popular play with a fairly small cast,” Richardson said.

The play is about a man named Tommy Briggs. In his apartment house, Tommy’s mail, calls and visitors are frequently misdirected to a girl’s apartment whose pen name is also Tommy Briggs.

Tommy’s boss expects his young executives to be married – and he’s coming to town to visit Tommy. Can quick-witted Tommy come up with the wife and children he has been falsifying before his boss comes to town? His friends are certainly willing to help him – but with friends like this, who needs enemies? Adding to this confusion is a dutiful chambermaid who snitches drinks and takes all clothing found on a particular chair.

This is not the first time the BTCPA has produced a production in the summer, according to Kennedy. For its first three seasons, the BTCPA did not have set dates for productions, but the months of June and September were popular months. As time went by and schedules filled up, the BTCPA began to get into a set routine, aiding patrons in planning ahead.

By the BTCPA’s 12th year, Scotty said, a season schedule was established – one in November, one in February and one in April.

“The BTCPA has been blessed by both the support of the community and the support of other cities as well,” Kennedy said. “A large percentage of its patrons come from Tupelo, the Shoals and even Huntsville. This past season the BTCPA had sold out shows for the November production and the February production and nearly sold out the shows for the April production.”

Shows will be at 7 pm June 12 and 14-16 at the Weatherford Centre in Red Bay. Tickets for the play are $8 and went on sale Monday. Stop by the Weatherford Centre or call 256-356-9829 between the hours of 2-4 p.m. Monday-Friday to reserve tickets.

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