Guacamole Queens

Cast members run through the upcoming "Guacamole Queens" in a dress rehearsal

The Auburn Area Community Theatre (AACT) will close out its 15th season with its 60th show — "Last Round-Up of the Guacamole Queens," a comedy featuring some returning characters — with performances spread out over the next two weekends.

The Verdeen cousins, who first appeared on the AACT stage in "The Red Velvet Cake Wars" during a previous season, are back to their usual antics, but this time they are frantically planning a high school reunion while also working to keep their business intact and impress the governor, among other things.

"It's hilariously funny," said Terry Kelley, director and AACT president. "Calamity follows the Verdeen cousins no matter what they do."

Performances will occur on May 10-12 and 16-19, and on May 10, 11, 16, 17 and 18, shows will start at 7 p.m. On May 12 and 19, matinées will begin at 2 p.m. All shows take place at the Jan Dempsey Community Arts Center.

This week's performances will be accompanied by special events. On Friday, at about 9 p.m., following the premiere, community members can meet the 11-person cast at Keo's Restaurant and Bar (formerly La Palma) on Opelika Road. After getting out of costume, the cast will gather at the restaurant to socialize and meet any theater enthusiasts.

Prior to Saturday's performance, the Amsterdam food truck will open shop outside of Jan Dempsey for patrons to have a bite to eat before curtains open at 7 p.m. The food truck will operate from 5 to 7 p.m.

And closing out the first weekend, on Sunday, the theater will host a "Pay What You Can" show. While this one is in celebration of Mother's Day, Kelley said AACT has begun making a habit out of providing this inexpensive alternative to regular ticket prices so people in the community will be motivated to bring the entire family.

"You can come in and if you want to spend $1 on a ticket, you can pay that; if you want to give us $100, we'll be happy to take that as well," he said. "It's a nice way for you to take Mom out, let her see a show, and it doesn't break the bank.

"We try to do this for all of our adult shows — have at least one show for folks that is an inexpensive way to bring the whole family."

And Kelley said the entire family would enjoy the "Guacamole Queens" production. While it is an adult comedy, it is not risqué, though some of the humor may fly over the heads of younger audience members, Kelley said.

"It's not a family show, but it's family-friendly," he said. "There's nothing you would see that is inappropriate for kids."

The 11-person cast (not including one hand-puppet — a character all its own) is made up of AACT veterans as well as new faces. Kelley calls it is "all-star cast."

"They were off-book faster than any other group of actors I've worked with," said Kelley, who has 40 years of directing under his belt. "From the very first read-through they've become a family, and that's amazing. I'm finding a lot of joy in just watching them act and seeing what they bring to their roles."

He said he hopes the show, written by Jones, Hope and Wooten — one of whom wrote for the television series "The Golden Girls" — brings laughter into the audience's day.

"I hope they have a good time; I hope they laugh themselves silly," he said. "It's a farce. It's a fun show.

"I hope they also walk away from this knowing that community theater is alive and well in Auburn, that we have some wonderfully talented people and that we do a good production. This is a quality production, and they can be proud to have this type of production in Auburn."

Tickets can be purchased online, at auburnact.org, or at the box office starting an hour before the show. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for seniors and students. Email info@auburnact.org for group rate information.

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