Take a trip back in time to a small town five-and-dime store where members of all-female James Dean fan club gather to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the actor’s death. The Footlight Players will perform “Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean” from April 21 to May 7 at the historic Charleston theatre.
In a five-and-dime store in small town West Texas, the “Disciples of James Dean” gather for their 20th reunion.
Now middle-aged women, they were teenagers when James Dean filmed “Giant” two decades ago in nearby Marfa. One of them, an extra in the film, has a child who she says was conceived with Dean during the shoot. The ladies congenial reminiscences mingle with flashbacks to their youth. Then the arrival of a stunning, but familiar, stranger sets off a series of confrontations that smash their delusions and expose bitter disappointments.
The comedy-drama was written by Ed Graczyk and premiered in 1976 at the Players’ Theater in Columbus, Ohio. In 1982, it was adapted into a film directed by Robert Altman, starring Sandy Dennis, Cher, Karen Black and Kathy Bates.
Director Jay Danner said when he came across this play he was “struck to the heart by the story of one person’s courage to change and become who they were born to be.”
He added, “I grew up in a small town in South Carolina and could relate to the community dynamics of brutal bullying, devastating secrets, and well-protected lies that still exist right alongside lifelong bonds and deep affections, especially between women.
“The stage play written in 1976 remains an excellent vehicle for gifted and disciplined actors to exercise their craft of immersion into characters whose truths are deeply buried beneath many layers of fragile fantasies, highly tuned coping skills, and rewriting of personal histories,” Danner added. “In this slice-of-life Americana, the effect James Dean’s death had on a generation of young people reverberates with questions of faith, love, family, self-loathing, dreams, and most of all, regret.”
Performances are 8 p.m. April 21, April 22, April 28, April 29, May 4, May 5 and May 6 with matinees at 3 p.m. April 23, April 30 and May 7. Tickets are $30 for adults, $27 for military/seniors and $20 for students. Order tickets online at footlightplayers.net or by calling the box office at 843-722-4487. This play contains mild adult themes and may not be suitable for children.