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Virginia Repertory Theatre The Charitable Sisterhood of the Second Trinity Victory Church

By • Jul 27th, 2014 • Category: Reviews
The Charitable Sisterhood of the Second Trinity Victory Church
Virginia Repertory Theatre: (Info) (Web)
Virginia Rep Center – Hanover Tavern, Hanover, VA
Through August 24th
1:55 with intermission
$18-$36 (Plus Fees)
Reviewed July 25th, 2014

This has become the summer of “girl power” in Richmond. When one thinks of plays with all female casts, there are few classics beyond Steel Magnolias or Nunsense. Luckily for Richmond, local playwright Bo Wilson has added a strong entry to that list with a charming original comedy now playing at Hanover Tavern.

Virginia Rep is presenting The Charitable Sisterhood of the Second Trinity Victory Church, a comedy with a script as complex as its title; with numerous twists and dramatic turns broken up with comedy at its best.

The Charitable Sisterhood is a group of women in 1977 Coal Mountain Country Virginia, who get together to help those in need around the world. Every religious denomination has some form of the group (I remember as a child, my mother going to “Sisterhood” meetings) so the characters are in many ways universal and familiar.

Catherine Shaffner shines as the bossy Pastor’s wife, who runs every activity by stealing other’s ideas and then making them sound like her own: “Ladies, here’s what we need to do…” While Shaffner is one of Richmond’s most consistently stellar comediennes, the rest of the cast reaches the high bar that she sets. Their comedic timing is effortless and natural and they each interact so perfectly, you would think they have been doing this together for years not weeks.

Debra Wagoner is Lorraine, a super religious mother of nine, whose deadpan humor is filled with great facial expressions and wonderful asides. Jan Guarino portrays Jan, a hyperactive transplanted northerner, with a smile and supportive word for everyone. Donna Marie Miller is the vixen of the group. Without revealing too much, Miller’s Janet is one part Scarlett O’hara and one part Rhoda Morgenstern. Janet is new to the town and has a couple of secrets that are revealed along the way.

The last member of the group is Riley (Louise Keeton) a stranger who shows up suddenly to help the Sisterhood, while hiding some secrets of her own.

In a play filled with great moments, one highlight is utilizing the singing talents of Wagoner in a rendition of “Put Your Hand in the Hand.”

While some of the plot resolution is a bit contrived, the strong performances of the cast and the fascinating twists and turns of the story add up to one thing. To borrow a page from Bea, ladies (and gentlemen) what we need to do is support this wonderful piece of original local theater.

Photo Gallery

Jan Guarino, Cathy Shaffner, Debra Wagoner Donna Marie Miller, Jan Guarino, Debra Wagoner, Cathy Shaffner
Jan Guarino, Cathy Shaffner, Debra Wagoner
Donna Marie Miller, Jan Guarino, Debra Wagoner, Cathy Shaffner
Donna Marie Miller, Jan Guarino, Debra Wagoner, Louise Keeton, Cathy Shaffner
Donna Marie Miller, Jan Guarino, Debra Wagoner, Louise Keeton, Cathy Shaffner

Photos by Jay Paul

The Cast

  • Tina Yates: Jan Guarino
  • Lorraine Jensen: Debra Wagoner
  • Bea Littleton: Catherine Shaffner
  • Janet Murchison: Donna Marie Miller
  • Riley Reynolds: Louise Keeton.

The Crew

  • Director: Bruce Miller
  • Playwright: Bo Wilson
  • Stage Manager: Skyler Broughman
  • Set Designer: Terrie Powers
  • Lighting Design: B J Wilkinson
  • Costume Design: Marcia Miller Hailey

Disclaimer: Virginia Repertory Theatre provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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is by day a Special Education teacher, teaching History, Science and drama to Middle and High School students in a private Day School in Stafford. He has degrees in Educational Media and Special Education. He is also a part time Radio News Anchor and occasional actor in the Richmond area. Bruce is a native of New Jersey and spent most of his "adult" life in Upstate New York, where he started and ran a national award winning youth theater and cable television program for over 10 years. He has lived in Virginia since 2002, and in Caroline County since 2005, where he is active in many community groups; including serving on the Board of Caroline's Promise.

2 Responses »

  1. Congratulations, Bo and Jan, you I’m so proud of you. Margaret

  2. I am traveling from Missouri just to see this production and I can’t wait!