Union County

Waxhaw’s Storefront Theatre presents the timelessness of ‘Country Songs’

Playwright Judy Simpson Cook started Storefront Theatre, which will present her play “Country Songs” on April 18 and 19.
Playwright Judy Simpson Cook started Storefront Theatre, which will present her play “Country Songs” on April 18 and 19. DAVID T. FOSTER III – CHARLOTTE OBSERVER FILE PHOTO

Timeless, current, or dated?

Most writers don’t put an enormous amount of thought into the difference between those descriptions until their creation is in the hands of the audience.

I trust that when you read this, you will find the information timely, and I fully expect that in a week or two it will be dated – that’s the nature of writing news.

For playwrights, the distinction can be trickier.

Playwright and Storefront Theatre Director Judy Simpson Cook raised my awareness of the distinction in a recent conversation about Storefront Theatre’s final play of the 2014-15 season: “Country Songs.”

“‘Country Songs’ was my first full-length play,” she said. “It’s the one that taught me if you try to make a play current, it would not be current long. I finally decided, instead of rewriting every two or three years, I’d just consider it a period piece. So the play is set in the ’80s in the South, North Carolina-style. “

Storefront Theatre will present “Country Songs” at 7:30 p.m. April 18 and 2:30 p.m. April 19 at Waxhaw Presbyterian Church, 8100 Old Waxhaw-Monroe Road in Waxhaw. Tickets are $12.50 and available online at www.thestorefronttheatre.org or by calling 704-243-7283.

Contrary to the title, the show is not a musical; it is titled “Country Songs” because the lead character writes them and dreams of having her creations sung by “somebody that is somebody.”

The play premiered to packed houses at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in 1986, and has subsequently had many productions.

Those who know the playwright or who have lived near in or near Waxhaw most their lives get the added enjoyment of guessing, “Who’s that?”

“While every character I write reflects traits of one or more people I know, the lead character in this one, Mildred Cato Privette, has a lot of me in her,” Cook said. “Foolishness over a man, dreams she can’t quite figure out how to achieve, independence and sense of humor. Being a hairdresser is what she does. Being a songwriter is who she is.

“The play is all about pursuing a dream, facing disappointment and finding a way to get back on track.”

The cast features veteran Storefront Theatre performers including Robert Tanzy, David Michael, Beth Pesakoff, Kara Curl, Mike Ruff, Michael Corrigan, Matthew Corbett and Sharrin Edwards.

“I wish I could tell you more, but it’s a little harder to rave about my own stuff than to rave about somebody else’s,” Cook said. “It’s a fun play, if I do say so myself, and one I think everyone will identify with on some level and come away feeling pretty good for having seen it.”

And if you do, you can characterize the timelessness of the work for yourself.

Safe Kids Day

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 18, Carolinas HealthCare System and Safe Kids Union County will present a program designed to educate parents and children about things they can do to keep children safe from the preventable accidental causes of childhood fatalities like drowning, fire and automobile accidents. Belk Tonawanda Park, 217 I.B. Shive Drive, Monroe.

Holocaust Remembrance Day at museum

The Museum of the Waxhaws will host a daylong program featuring World War II re-enactments and special displays on the Holocaust from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. April 19.

At 1 p.m., a program on remembering the Holocaust and its lessons will feature Susan Cernyak-Spatz, a camp survivor, and Jesse Oxendine, an 82nd Airborne glider-borne liberator.

The museum also will offer a separate children’s program demonstrating the effects of intolerance. The program will be offered on a drop-in basis throughout the day.

The museum fee is waived for this program.

John Anderson is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for John? Email him at jafortrel@aol.com.

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