State Street Theater Co. presents… “The Savannah Sipping Society”
Story and photos by Travis Rosenau
Journal Sports Editor
NEW ULM — What do you get when you put four women with their own problems, drama and routines together?
But you also get “The Savannah Sipping Society,” an all-too-relatable comedy play that is being performed at State Street Theater Co. (SSTC) in New Ulm on Aug. 19, 20 and 21.
The production will take place at 7 p.m. on both Aug. 19 and 20, with a 2 p.m. showing on Aug. 21. Tickets can be purchased online at eventbrite for $15 each by visiting statestreetnewulm.org/savannah-sipping-society and following the eventbrite link at the bottom of the page. Tickets can also be purchased in New Ulm at Hy-Vee, the Chamber of Commerce, in person at the door and over the phone by calling SSTC at 507-359-9990.
In “The Savannah Sipping Society,” which is being directed by Deborah Ingle, fate brings together four unique Southern women that all need to break out of their day-to-day routines and regain the enthusiasm for life they once had.
Ingle, a first-time director at SSTC, said that while the play is centered around four older women, it is a production that men and women of all ages can relate to in some way.
“The whole point of this show is that it really is never too late to try new things in your lives and to make new friends,” Ingle said. “I think that can be very encouraging, particularly for folks who might find themselves late in life and be, like, ‘Well, now what do I do?’ I personally relate to it a lot, having been fairly introverted most of my life. I’ve found coming into adulthood that I was struggling to make friends and this show really reflects a similar experience to what I’ve had is that you just kind of accidentally find people and you never really know who’s going to mean the most to you in life.”
There have been a few hiccups in some of the play’s rehearsals due to COVID cases, but Ingle said they worked around it by using Zoom video conference calls to rehearse for the plays when needed. Ingle also said one of the cast members had frequent Zoom rehearsals until August simply due to her living in the Twin Cities area.
There are four cast members for this production and each character brings their own unique personality to the stage.
Andrea Broman, who holds a degree in theater and will be acting in her second SSTC play, plays the character Jinx Jenkins.
“She is self-described as a humdinger of a gal and also a gal with pizazz,” Broman said of Jinx. “She is definitely the one who has all the ideas, she is egging everybody on all of the time to do the thing that they’ve always wanted to do, whatever that may be. So she eggs them onto salsa dancing and going on a ghost tour and all sorts of different stuff.”
Broman said her character Jinx is quite different from her personality in real life.
“I am very much a homebody in my life,” Broman said. “I tend to be a, ‘Let’s watch the newest thing that’s out on Netflix and have a drink’ as opposed to being, like, there’s a line that I have in the show that’s just, like, ‘Well, its Savannah, we can take our Bourbon with us. Open alcohol containers are legal here.'”
Julie Moore plays the character of Marlafaye Mosley, a Texas divorcee.
“I kind of describe Marlafaye as rough around the edges and kind of a tough-as-nails sort of Texas down-home gal,” Moore said.
This will be Moore’s first play at SSTC as she lives north of the Twin Cities. Moore got her part in the play after executive director Sandra Juni, who is good friends with Moore, reached out to Moore and encouraged her to audition for the play.
Mary Blackstad, a New Ulm resident that is acting in her first professional play, plays the role of Dot Haigler.
“I’m an elderly, 69-year-old spunky lady that is widowed,” Blackstad said of her character Dot. “And I want to restart my life and I want to have fun doing it and taking all kinds of challenges and meeting good friends and all kinds of stuff like that.”
Blackstad said she always wanted to get into acting in plays but just got started recently. She joked about her prior experience in theater and said her only real acting past dates back to first grade.
“Well, when I was in first grade, I was a raindrop [laughs], and I dressed in light blue flannel pajamas and that was it, I haven’t done anything else,” Blackstad said. “I never was in it really. In fact when I told my daughter that I was going to be in this play, she said, ‘What are you going to be? A tree?’ [laughs].”
Last but not least, Jennifer Deutz plays the role of Randa Covington.
“[Randa is a] high-strung perfectionist who’s thrown a curveball when she gets fired in the middle of her quote, unquote successful career and has no idea what to do with her life.”
Deutz, who has lived in New Ulm with her husband and children for the past five years, said she’s acted in a couple of shows at SSTC before this one. She’s also the props mistress at SSTC, however, and is quite involved with many other plays she’s not acting in.
Deutz said one of her favorite things about “The Savannah Sipping Society” is how it covers many different relatable topics.
“One of my favorite things about this show is it covers a lot of topics that are unfortunately pretty common — getting fired, getting divorced, husband cheats on you and leaves or spouse passes away. And it’s what you do with the pieces, what do you pick up and move forward and who will be there for you when you do?”
Deutz also called this production “the girls-night show of the decade.”
Moore added that this play is all about having a good time.
“It’s somewhat quick-paced, it’s got some zinger, one-liners, it’s got some bigger-than-life characters and it’s just a good time,” Moore said. “We’re all about right now needing a little uplifting, a good time. And it’s a show about four women. I think everybody, men and women can both relate, but doggonit get your girlfriends together and come on over, it’ll be a good time.”