Grab your medications, oxygen tanks, and maybe a couple Depends for the laughs. You’ll feel right at home at Magnolia Place Assisted Living from Leslie Kimbell’s “Four Old Broads,” coming next week to Marathon Community Theatre.
Directed by Jackie O’Neil, MCT’s newest show is primarily a comedy, with a mystery thrown on top. “When they gave me the script it made me laugh right from the beginning all the way through it,” said O’Neil. “I figured if it made me laugh, it would make others laugh.”
Retired showgirl Beatrice (Joanne Zimmerman) is in desperate need of a vacation, and she’s convinced that a Sassy Seniors Cruise in the Caribbean is just the escape she needs from Magnolia Place Assisted Living. As she takes to the warpath to convince her best friend Eaddy (Marianne Benvenuti) to stop praying just long enough to go with her, the “old broads” of Magnolia Place are soon caught up in a mystery. Shady medication mix-ups, along with a disturbing number of residents being moved to the nursing home “dark side,” prompt the two to recruit their friends Maude (Cheryl Wilcox) and Imogene (Suzanne Terpos) for some covert sleuthing. Well…as covert as these four seniors can be. If the crew can investigate and outsmart the dubious Nurse Pat Jones (Terry Israel) and Ruby Sue (Charla Garrison) before Imogene loses her memory entirely, perhaps they still have a shot to make it to the cruise ship.
As with most MCT shows, the cast and crew of “Four Old Broads” features a mix of newcomers and familiar faces. O’Neil has been impressed by the progression of her first-timers, remarking that, “[The newcomers] are almost impossibly good for as quickly as they’ve learned it all. I just think they’re fabulous.” Along with the fresh faces, a good portion of the on-stage contingent will be recognizable to patrons. Three of the four “old broads” and their womanizing suitor Sam (Jimmy Zimmerman) shared the stage exactly one year ago in 2019’s comedy “Drinking Habits” (with O’Neil as their director, no less).
Whether new or returning, Jackie had nothing but praise for her cast and production crew. She noted the extra effort the group is willing to devote to give the show the best representation possible, including extra rehearsals at the cast’s own suggestion. “It’s been a lot of work, but it’s been work for everybody. The entire cast is trying the hardest they can to make it as professional as possible,” she said. “We see improvement with every single rehearsal, and I think that’s incredible.”
“Four Old Broads” runs on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8 p.m. from Jan. 16 through Feb. 8, with a 3 p.m. matinee performance on Sunday, Feb. 2. Tickets are available by calling MCT at 305-743-0994 or visiting www.marathontheater.org/tickets.