by Ted Swindley
Directed by Robert Ennis Turoff
The Golden Apple Dinner Theatre
25 N. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota
941-366-5454; 800-652-0920
May 18 to June 19, 2011

Reviewed by Marie J. Kilker

With more plot than the usual juke box musical, The Honky Tonk Angels manages to bring together three women to tell real stories with songs reflecting their own lives. Country western music lovers should glory in the listening. A "Coal Miner's Daughter," Darlene (sweet young soprano Heather Kopp) dreams of a respite from the mining town where she cares for widower dad, and craves a chance to sing professionally. Small town Sue Ellen (petite dynamo Dianne Dawson), twice divorced and trying to avoid her boss' advances "From 9 to 5" in an L.A. office, wants a decent career and lifestyle change. A break from truck driver hubby Bubba and six kids is what Angela (bright and snappy Kyle Ennis Turoff) needs, with a change from a double-wide in a camp to a small space in a big city. And now she's got "The Pill" to help enable her.

Each determines "I'll Fly Away" and goes off to Nashville on a bus where they meet. The rest shows how they fare as Angels in a Honky Tonk night club. Luckily, they share "Amazing Grace" while watched over by their Guardian Angels. Among the classics soloed are Dianne's "Cleopatra, Queen of Denial" with her campy Egyptian moves; a hilarious "Barroom Habits" by Kyle in mile-high hair, slick yellow mini-skirt, and fuschia boots; and Heather done up "Fancy" in white with head loaded down with blonde curls. David Walker has provided the women with glam gowns too, brought out by Ben Turoff's lights. They also create a glowing atmosphere for Michael Newton-Brown's shimmering stage curtains, as well as a contrast from his initial settings for the women.

Robert Ennis Turoff's experienced direction resounds with humor. He makes performers' forays into the audience as smooth as their interactions onstage, definitely in sync with choreographer Eric Berkel. Upstage, skillful musical director Don Sturrock at piano/keyboards and John Januszewski's drums/percussion are sometimes seen but always heard with appreciation.

Production Stage Manager is Alex Torress for the 2 hr., 10 min. musical.

Return to Home Page

  • Road (National) Tour Review Index
  • New York City & Environs Theatre Review Index
  • Berkshire, Massachusetts Theatre Review Index
  • Boston Area Theatre Review Index
  • Florida Theatre Review Index
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul (Twin Cities) Theatre Review Index
  • Philadelphia & Environs Theatre Review Index
  • San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Review Index
  • Seattle Area Theatre Review Index
  • Toronto, Ontario (Canada) Index