The most unassuming things in life are often the ones that bring people together.
Such is the case of “Calendar Girls”, a 5-show production based on the 2003 British comedy starring Helen Mirren, set to debut at Courtyard Marriott in Houma on Nov. 9.
The production, presented by Lorna & Company, tells the true story of a close-knit group of women who go to great lengths to raise money to buy a couch. But not just any couch. A couch situated in the waiting area of a local hospital, which each of the women find themselves sitting on while visiting one of the ladies’ husbands, who is battling Leukemia.
“This little group would all go to visit him and they all noticed there was couch that they all end up sitting on that was horrible, nasty, and had springs that would always poke them,” Lorna Gianelloni says of the story. “They said, ‘We’ve got to figure out a way to raise money so we can buy a couch so we can all go see John.”
After several fundraising failures, a suggestion from a local postal worker sets them on a path to resounding success. A rather provocative calendar takes center stage for what unfolds into a beautiful display of perseverance.
After securing the rights to the play, which debuted in London several years after the movie, Lorna & Company were presented the opportunity to transpose the tale in a way that would relate to local audiences. The group wrote what was needed to bring the story of the Calendar Girls to Houma.
As an added touch, Lorna & Company made the decision to create their own calendar, one instead featuring local cancer survivors, to create a show with a cause. With a host of volunteers willing to be included in the calendar and community members eager to make it come to life, the group created a vibrant 12-month display featuring familiar faces and inspiring words. An allotment of 100 calendars will be sold at each performance with all proceeds going to Mary Bird Perkins TGMC Cancer Center.
The months-long process to bring the story of the Calendar Girls to Terrebonne Parish has not be an easy task for the group, but all of the hard work and the outpouring of support from the community has made the journey truly rewarding. From the veteran performers’ tireless efforts to those offering of rehearsal space to those that helped bring the calendar to life, it is truly a labor of love that will touch the heartstrings while also offering the community a way to support the essential services of the region.
“It’s a very touching performance and it makes a profound statement about how brave women are,” Lorna explains. “It really highlights the means that they will go to get something done.”
Want To Go?
Nov. 9-12, Dinner: 7 p.m., Show: 8 p.m.
Nov. 13, Lunch: 1 p.m., Show: 2 p.m.
“Calendar Girls” Cast
Director: Stephanie Gomez
Lighting & Sound: Percy Bergeron
Set Design: Nelson Bertinot
Stage Manager: Dianne Dupre
Chris: Lorna Farrar
Celia: Celeste Roberts
Jessie: Edwina Yakupzack
1st Lady, Adelaide Landry: Catherine Chaisson
John: Larry Hyatt
Lawrence: Scott Courville
Brenda-Elaine: Leslie Bland
Cora: Jillian Vedros
Rod: Doug Holloway
Ruth: Toni Hicks
Annie: Sue Peace
Marie: Jeanne Scott
Adelaide’s Assistant: Glenny Lee Buquet
Liem: Eddie Olivier
The Faces of “Calendar Girls”
JANUARY: Gaynell Airhart
FEBRUARY: Katie Legendre Hebert
MARCH: Deanne “Pie” Benoit
APRIL: Mary Lynn Dufrene
MAY: Janabeth “JB” Daigle & Dianne Dupre
JUNE: Susie Knight
JULY: Trudy Franks
AUGUST: Becky Robichaux
SEPTEMBER: Mary Naquin
OCTOBER: Valerie Manns
NOVEMBER: Karen Schilling
DECEMBER: Vanessa Walker