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Can the town be saved?‘Southern Hospitality’ the latest comedy from The 2nd ACT

Chris Olson / The Sun The 2nd ACT will perform "Southern Hospitality" at the Arts Center Nov. 21-23. Appearing in the show are, at table, from left, Samantha Carlson, Jeremy Wood and Amanda Roecker. Standing, from left, are Melissa Goodrich, Bonnie Rogers, Lori Richardson, Bill Nybo, Ben Rodgers, Shelly Andersen, Krissy Nybo, Jack Waters and Carrie Roemmich.

Presenting the play “Southern Hospitality” has given members of The 2nd ACT a chance to practice their Southern accents.

The community theater group will perform the light-hearted comedy as a dinner theater at 6 p.m. Nov. 21-23 at the Arts Center. Tickets are $20 for Arts Center members and $25 for others. Tickets may be purchased at the Arts Center, 115 2nd St. SW, or by calling 251-2496.

Lori Dorr, the play’s director, said the basic story of “Southern Hospitality” is the residents of a small town, Fayro, Texas, try to impress a representative of a salsa company to get the company to build a salsa manufacturing factory in town.

“I think the story  is something a lot of people around here, in small towns around North Dakota, can kind of relate to,” she said. The story centers around Futrelle sisters Honey Rae, Twink, Frankie and Rhonda Lynn, and their attempts to lead Fayro residents in keeping their hometown going. Dorr said she and Arts Center Director Taylor Barnes chose the play because it was a comedy with many roles.

“Our group is growing by leaps and bounds and we had done some heavier fare last year,” Dorr said.

Dorr said she cast the play so that members of The 2nd ACT received roles that were opposite of their personality, or would present a challenge to the actors and actresses.

“Lori Richardson is a kind, quiet and even-tempered woman. The character she is playing, Invey Dubberly, has none of those qualities,” Dorr said.

The cast has also had to learn how to talk with a Southern accent. Dorr said some people think it’s easy to affect a Southern accent, but keeping it throughout a production without it changing is tough.

“The trick is to live your character,” she said.

Dorr said she has each actor “dress” the character, meaning they imagine how the character dresses, then develop the character’s attitude. When that is done, Dorr said she tells each actor to “put on the skin” of the character he or she is playing.

“If you live the character, you will become the character,” she said.

Carrie Roemmich, who is playing Honey Raye Futrelle, said she speaks in a Southern accent all the time, so much so that her husband and friends are sick of it.

“Everyone I know is pretty much tired of my Southern accent,” she said.

Roemmich said she performed in her first play since high school last spring.

“I had come to several auditions in the past (for The 2nd ACT), but had always chickened out,” she said.

Bill Nybo, who is playing Dub Dubberly, said he has been part of the community theater group for about four years and hasn’t had a hard time adopting Dubberly’s south Texas persona.

“Dub is a good ol’ boy going through a rough time, and I can relate to that,” he said.

Dorr said the dinner served before the performance has a Southern theme, but didn’t give out any details as to what will be served.

“The food will be appropriate to the play,” she said.

Sun reporter Chris Olson can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by email at

Chris Olson

Hometown: Traverse City, MI College: Northwestern Michigan College and Michigan State University

(701) 952-8454