Red Velvet Cake War

Join South Jackson Civic Center Feb. 14-17 for “The Red Velvet Cake War,” a Southern-fried comedy that will make the whole family laugh. From left are cast members Jared Fibelkorn, Buffy Davis, Audrey Yates, Doreen Schultz Gibson, Amy Hardaway, Keith Cornelius, Cynthia Reddekop, Ashlee Owens and Nathan Lowry. Not pictured are cast members Mindy Adelen, Connor Austell and Betsy Phillips.

Deep in the heart of the fictional town of Sweetgum, Texas, three cousins will stop at nothing to make sure their family reunion goes off without a hitch. Join in on the chaos with South Jackson Civic Center, 404 S. Jackson St., for a performance of laughs as genuine as grandma’s gravy on Feb. 14-17.

The Southern-fried comedy will premiere at South Jackson Civic Center just in time for Valentine’s Day. Bring the family and share the love as the cast takes its audience on a wildly hilarious journey.

“‘Red Velvet Cake War’ is the perfect date night or girls’ night out,” said South Jackson Marketing Director Cynthia Reddekopp. “It’s a Southern-fried comedy that will leave its audience with laughs for the whole family.”

Sticking to its Southern roots, this play is coated in flour, sprinkled with bread crumbs and fried up hot in chaos.

The three Verdeen cousins, Gaynelle, Peaches and Jimmie Wyvette – played, respectively, by Amy Hardaway, Buffy Davis and Reddekopp – could not have picked a worse time to throw their family reunion.

Gaynelle is seconds away from a breakdown. Peaches is struggling to decide if it’s time have her long-absent trucker husband declared dead. Jimmie Wyvette is a little rough around the edges, but it may come in handy as she goes to extreme measures to outmaneuver the “priss-pot” neighbor, Bitsy (Audrey Yates), for the affections of the town’s newest widower.  

Gossip about the family has caught the interest of the locals in the small town, who stick their noses a little too far into the family’s antics.

As if the mixture of personalities wasn’t enough for a family reunion, it’s also right in the middle of July during Texas’ tornado season. After a neighbor’s pet eats the Verdeens’ food, a wager is made between the Verdeens and a surprise guest to see who can make the best red velvet cake. The stakes are high.

“The storyline covers three cousins trying to survive a crazy family reunion,” Reddekop said. “There are surprises around every corner. The play is relatable because we’ve all got those family members that we make fun of. It’ll leave you with a lot of laughter.”

The “Red Velvet Cake War” was written by Jamie Wooten, Jessie Jones and Nicholas Hope, three of the most popular and widely produced playwrights in the nation, known for laugh-out-loud comedies such as “The Dixie Swim Club” and the Texas trilogy “Dearly Beloved,” “Christmas Belles,” and “Southern Hospitality.”

The play was published in 2010, and it has been bringing audiences laughter ever since, as they indulge in the play of truthful words covered up as compliments like only a true Southerner can do. 

Directed by Erik Peterson II, the 12-person cast has put countless hours into the production to ensure that audiences are having a good time along with them.

Rounding out the cast are Doreen Schulz as Aunt LaMerle, the self-righteous matriarch; Ashlee Owens as Cee Cee Windham, the host of the tri-county area’s number-one local cable-access show; Keith Cornelius as Uncle Aubrey Verdeen, the good-natured patriarch; Nathan Lowry as Newt Blaylock, a true Texas eccentric; Jared Fibelkorn as Sheriff Grover Lout; Mindy Acklen as Elsa Dowall, a court-appointed psychologist; Betsy Phillips as Bitsy’s mother, Mama Doll Hargis; and Connor Austell as Purvis Verdeen, a sometime photographer.

Heather Kleinfeld is the assistant director.

The production is rated G so that audiences of all ages are able to chime in with laughter.

“Red Velvet Cake War” will run for one weekend only – at 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 14 - 16 and at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 17. Ticket prices are $15 for adults and $13 for students if purchased in advance. Tickets at the door will be $17 for adults and $15 for students.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.SouthJackson.org, or call 931-455-5321.

Faith Few can be reached at ffew@tullahomanews.com.