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Calendar Girls



 
When I was aware that the Lonny Chapman Theatre was going to present The Calendar Girls, I became somewhat skeptical. After all, Calendar Girls was a film by Juliette Towhidi and Tim Firth about a group of middle-aged ladies who decided to pose nude for a charitable cause.

Firth adapted the film into a play, and after seeing it, I am pleased to be able to absolve you of any skepticism you might have, and tell you that you will not only find it in good taste, but you will enjoy every moment of this charming and well-written comedy superbly directed by Larry Eisenberg.

The plot focuses on WI, a women’s club in Yorkshire England that doesn’t appear to have any special or important purpose other than a social gathering of friends. When Annie’s (Lauren Peterson) husband John (Doug Haverty) dies of leukemia, she and her close friend Chris (Michelle Bernath) decide the club should raise money for leukemia research in honor of John.

Chris gets the brilliant idea of creating a calendar that will sell and raise a lot of money. What could be so different about their calendar to make it sell so easily? Chris’s idea is to create a calendar of nude pictures each month of the women of WI! Honestly, does she think that she can get these staid women to agree to pose nude for a calendar?

Annie has agreed to Chris’s idea, but the others? church organist and vicar’s daughter Cora (LizAnne Keigley), retired teacher Jessie (Chery Crosland Butler), Lady Cravenshire (Lareen Faye), housewife Ruth (Julie Davis), Marie (Belilnda Howell), Elaine (Jennifer Nicole Ross), or even sexy Celia (Vesna Tolomanoska)?!

With some reluctance, they eventually agree for the sake of their goal to raise money for their desired charity. The comedy ensues as each takes her turn in front of the camera, not an easy task for photographer Lawrence (James Guinn) who has to work around each lady’s timidity. But all’s well that ends well when the calendar is a huge success and brings more money than they could have imagined, and makes celebrities of them all.

Since the storyline takes place in England, the cast, which also includes Chris Winfield as Rod and Devin Juleff as Liam, speak with a British accent which, at times, is difficult to understand. However, for the most part, each performer holds true to the dialect (dialect coach Drina Durazo) throughout the entire production.

The Lonny Chapman Theatre is located at 10900 Burbank Blvd. in No. Hollywood. Calendar Girls plays Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM, Sundays at 2 PM, through Oct 9. Tickets are available online at wwwthegrouprep.com, or by phone at (818) 763-5990.