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Plant City Entertainment’s ‘Parallel Lives’ opens Nov. 8

PLANT CITY Among them they play almost 40 characters, a trio of friends who have graced the stage for countless community theater productions and now, for Plant City Entertainment, a third production of “Parallel Lives.”

The show plays opens Nov. 8 at the community theater at 101 N. Thomas St., where Kimberlee Sivret, of Valrico; Mollie Anderson, of Riverview; and Cindy Miller-Ray, of Seffner, plan to weave together — as male and female characters of many ages — a series of satirical sketches reflective of the common rituals of modern life.

“Parallel Lives,” written by Mo Gaffney and Kathy Najimy, starts with an opening scene featuring two of the three actresses, as “Supreme Beings,” deciding on a color scheme and planning for “the beginning of the world with the relish of two slightly sadistic suburban wives decorating a living room.” From its opening act the show’s topics include stereotypes, relationships, communication and role-playing.

For the Plant City Entertainment production, that color scheme reflects the respective journeys of people stricken with breast (pink), ovarian (teal), pancreatic and testicular (purple, orchid), colon (dark blue) and brain (grey ) cancers. The color of the show’s program, lavender, is “to reflect all cancers,” said director Oliver Sprague.

“Everybody involved in this show knows somebody who died from, is fighting or has survived some form of cancer,” he added. “Everybody has some connection to the disease.”

Indeed, back in 2009, when Sprague first directed Sivret, Anderson and Miller-Ray in “Parallel Lives,” the show had a repeat performance as a breast cancer fundraiser.

This year’s show is in support of the South Florida Baptist Hospital Cancer Resource Center, “in honor of all cancer survivors and in memory of those who have lost the battle to cancer.” Center representatives are scheduled to be available in the theater lobby at performances to answer questions.

In the show, which Variety called “a romp with feminist sensibilities,” Anderson plays 14 characters, coupled with Miller-Ray’s 14 roles and Sivret’s 11.

“I go from my normal voice to Valley Girl ditz to Spanish call girl to mime to an old New York Jewish woman and then I’m a women’s rights performance artist, and that’s all just in the first act,” Anderson said.

Miller-Ray offered a similar assessment.

“It’s a big stretch for me, too, especially to go from my normal voice to New York teenager to an African-American street walker to a Southern cabaret singer,” she said.

Sivret said her roles include a Jewish woman named Sivvey; Karen Sue (to Anderson’s Hank), a bartender named Carl and a little girl in a church confessional.

“I really enjoy the rapport Mollie and I have as Hank and Karen Sue,” Sivret said. “They’re in a bar, he’s drunk, and she’s trying to be nice to him.”

As Sprague put it: “This play has the broadest range of characters that you’re going to find in any show.”

But the show is not for everyone.

“We don’t want to offend any of our audience members, so we want everyone to know that it is a strong PG-13 show because of some of the language and subject matters, and not appropriate for children,” said Plant City Entertainment member Dodie White. “There’s nothing in the show that you don’t see on television, but still we feel more comfortable in letting the public know the content before they purchase a ticket.”

John Harrer, a long-time thespian and former theater board member, assists with directing duties.

“I saw Kim, Mollie and Cindy do this show for the Village Players a few years back and they were marvelous, wonderful,” he said, in relating his support to bring the show to Plant City. “It’s hard to put that much talent into three people but they showed it could be done.”

The show’s appeal is that it showcases real life, he added, with the actresses playing a broad range of characters, including teenagers, lifelong friends, children and couples.

“It’s stuff that people don’t talk about all the time,” Harrer said. “They put a funny spin on real-life situations. Everybody will find something they can relate to somewhere in there.”

For fans of the show, this third, local staging will have some changes and additions, including a scene called, “Disney Moms Support Group.”

“Let’s just say that moms have a very important role in all of the Disney films and Disney cartoons,” Miller-Ray said.


Show dates for “Parallel Lives” include 7 p.m. Nov. 8, 9, 14, 15 and 16, with a matinee scheduled for 1 p.m. Nov. 10.

Tickets will be available at the door of Plant City Entertainment theater, 101 N. Thomas St., prior to each performance. Advance tickets and group rates are available at Hardee’s Fashions, 1501 N. Wheeler St. Call: (813) 754-4929.

Tickets cost $10 for Plant City Entertainment members; $12 for senior citizens and students through the 12th grade; and $14 for general admission.

Go to www.PlantCityEntertainment.com or call (813) 417-4355.

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