‘Five Women Wearing One Dress’ hits the Sumter Little Theater from March 24

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From the director of ‘True Blood’ and ‘Six Feet Under’, Five Women Wearing Alan Ball’s Same Dress is a deep comedy that will have you laughing, crying, thinking and celebrating the unique minds of five eccentric women.

Set on a lavish estate in Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1993, Tracy and Scott’s wedding reception looms as five reluctant, identically dressed bridesmaids seek solace one by one in an upstairs bedroom belonging to to the bride’s sister, Meredith (Lexi Melton). As they walk in and out on their own accord, the quintet of women — engaged in conversations about relationships, sex, religious views, wealth, and societal expectations — discover that they have more in common the with each other than Tracy.

Traci Quinn, Sumter Little Theater veteran and visiting director, praises Ball, saying he’s a “master at combining light and dark humor” because each character’s unique personalities and colorful dialogue inspire them. stand out from their similar outfits. In order of appearance: Meredith, the bride’s “rebellious, weed-smoking” little sister has lived in her sister’s shadow for years; Frances (Kassidy Townley) is a fundamentalist Christian and the sweet but naive cousin of the bride. Trisha (Charlotte Drayton) is the “jaded beauty” of the bridal party who refuses to be validated by her relationship status but takes a liking to one of the groomsmen; Georgeanne (Sarah Jane Gibson) is Tracy’s high school friend whose heartbreak over her failed marriage turns her into a “burning mess”; Mindy (Morgan Edwards) is the groom’s goofy, smart, and openly gay sister who fights societal expectations of homosexuality in the South with a plate of hors d’oeuvres in her hand; and as the only male cast, Tripp (Sean Hackett) is Playboy’s charming groomsman who falls for one of the bridesmaids.

Alongside veterans Melton, Drayton and Edwards, newcomers Townley, Gibson and Hackett will take the stage at the Sumter Little Theatre, bringing unquestioned life and energy to their characters. Quinn reveled in how the actors overcame the hurdles of removing their personal selves from characters who differ greatly from them while still being able to empathize with the experiences each character has endured.

“These five characters are real people. They’re real women, and they have real insides and outsides that don’t match, just like all of us do,” Quinn said. “I think it’s fabulous that half of my cast is new to the stage, and to me, that’s what community theater is all about.”



The women echoed, agreeing that it was not easy to immerse themselves in their roles. An entire character separate from themselves had to be created to do this. Townley shared that her perception of Frances changed as she came to understand the character’s emotions and passion for what she believed in, eventually “flipping the switch” a few weeks ago to become Frances on stage instead of Kassidy.

The cast hopes audiences can find similarities in the characters as they did and appreciate the humanity of each personality on stage. Drayton pointed out that the beauty of acting and what makes this show is being able to put someone else’s story in front of other people to reconcile their similarities to the characters.

For the safety of cast, crew, staff and patrons, masks are mandatory at Sumter Little Theater. Five Women Wearing the Same Dress contains strong language and discussion of sexual misconduct appropriate to the story, which may make it unsuitable for young audiences and those vulnerable to the subject matter.

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