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Contact:Marjorie Lyons Playhouse, 318-869-5242,
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Centenary's Marjorie Lyons Playhouse Opens Women Behind Bars Nov. 13-15, 20-23

SHREVEPORT, LA—Women Behind Bars, a comedic take on the “women in prison” movies of the 1950s, will open Nov. 13 at the Marjorie Lyons Playhouse. A smash hit off-Broadway in the mid 1970’s, the comedy,written by Tom Eyen, will have a seven-performance run.

Women Behind Bars is a spoof of those unintentionally “bad” black-and-white "B" movies that found their campy humor in the melodramatic situations that each woman was placed. In this comedy, Mary Eleanor, an innocent wrongly imprisoned for taking the blame for a crime that her shady boyfriend committed, lands in the House of Detention, which is presided over by a massive matron with a taste for cruelty and manipulation Poor Mary Eleanor ends up hardened and cynical.

Leading the cast as the matron will be John Michael Strange. He recently appeared in the MLP productions of Mame, The Bat and 1776 as Robert Livingston. He won a Times Drama Award for Best Actor for his performance in A Tuna Christmas at the Shreveport Little Theatre and was nominated this past year for a Memory Award for his role in Smoke on the Mountain.

Sarah Smith will appear as Mary Eleanor, the innocent young girl imprisoned on trumped up charges. This past season she starred as the title character in Tell Me That You Love Me Junie Moon and was seen in The Shape of Things, earning a Memory Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

Ashley Beckham will play Gloria, a toughened career criminal who is serving out a life sentence. She has appeared in Wit, Electra, The Seabull, Tell Me That You Love Me Junie Moon and as the title character in Winnie the Pooh. Her performance in last season’s The Wayside Motor Inn earned her a Memory Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

Anysia Manthos appears as Guadalupe, a Hispanic spitfire mourning the loss of her pet chicken. She was recently seen as the troubled daughter in The Beauty Queen of Leenane, receiving an American College Theatre Festival/Irene Ryan nomination for her performance. At MLP, she has been seen in Electra, Winnie the Pooh, Wit and The Bat.

Peggy Byers will play Granny, a woman serving out a 42-year sentence for poisoning nine husbands. For her performance as Vera Charles in Mame, she won the Memory Award for Best Supporting Actress. Additionally, she has been seen in Nine, The Cripple of Inishmaan, The Foreigner, Moon Over Buffalo, Zorba and as Dotsey Mae in the national tour of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

Laura Sentell portrays Ada, an arsonist with a fragile hold on reality. She has previously been seen in The Wayside Motor Inn, Cabaret,Tell Me That You Love Me Junie Moon, Winnie the Pooh and Mame.

Leah Wingate will appear as Blanche, a community theatre actress who can’t leave behind her performance in A Streetcar Named Desire. She made her MLP debut in Wit and has been seen in Tell Me That You Love Me Junie Moon and The Seagull.

Joy Gutierrez appears as Cheri, a “working girl” who bears a slight resemblance to another blonde bombshell named Marilyn. She made her MLP debut last season in The Wayside Motor Inn.

Sarah Gardner plays Jojo, a street tough imprisoned for assault. She is making her MLP debut and is from Dallas, where she attended Booker T. Washington School of the Arts.

Filling out the cast are: Sarah Perkins as Louise, the neurotic sidekick of the matron; Phillip Brooks as Paul, Mary Eleanor’s shady boyfriend; Josh Porter as Dr. Hayes, a state psychiatrist; Blake Baudier, a pimp looking for new clients; Erin Broderick, the latest innocent being incarcerated; and Heather Bickham as a prison guard.

Women Behind Bars is being directed by Patric McWilliams. He received the Memory Award for Best Direction for The Shape of Things last season. The set and light designer is Don Hooper, with McWilliams designing the 1950s costumes. Assistant Director/Stage Manager is Shannon Shea.

Women Behind Bars plays Nov. 13-15 and 20-22 8 p.m. and Nov. 23 at 2 p.m. Reservations can be made by calling the Marjorie Lyons Playhouse box office at 318-869-5242 between noon and 4 p.m. daily.

Tickets are priced at $15 for adults, $13 for senior citizens, and $10 for students. Centenary students are admitted free with a valid ID. Tickets for a special preview performance on Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. are priced at $7 for all seats.

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