Amy Scott returns to Gaslight Dinner Theatre in Shirley Valentine

Release Date: 1/22/2009. Expired: 2/11/2009

Stuck in a life where the highlight of her day is talking to the kitchen wall while she prepares her husband’s dinner, housewife Shirley Bradshaw decides to break free on an adventure to Greece where she rediscovers love and the woman she used to be: Shirley Valentine.

The Gaslight Dinner Theatre presents the comedy Shirley Valentine Feb. 3-March 14 at The Renaissance Center in Dickson. Matinees for patrons 55 and over will be Tuesday-Friday beginning with a buffet lunch at 12 p.m. Tickets are $25. Evening performances will be Fridays and Saturdays beginning with a buffet dinner at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $35.

There will be two special performances of Shirley Valentine on Friday, Feb. 13, and Saturday, Feb. 14, to celebrate Valentine’s Day weekend. Tickets for those two evening performances are $100 per couple and include a special dinner menu and gifts.

Amy Scott, assistant artistic director for The Renaissance Center, returns to the stage after more than a year to star in the Gaslight Dinner Theatre’s production of Shirley Valentine. Scott is appearing in her 18th Gaslight production but her first since playing Truvy in 2007’s Steel Magnolias.

Pacer Harp, artistic director, will be directing the show, the 21st Gaslight production he has helmed.

“Funny and moving” are the words critics used to describe Shirley Valentine, the award-winning comedy by British playwright Willy Russell, which debuted in Liverpool in 1986 and moved to London’s West End in 1988. Pauline Collins starred in the one-woman show, winning the Laurence Olivier Awards for Best Comedy and Best Actress.

Collins made her Broadway debut when the show opened Feb. 16, 1989, at the Booth Theatre in New York and earned the Tony Award for Best Actress. Russell adopted his play for the screen and Collins starred in a 1989 film version that earned Oscar nominations for Best Actress and Best Original Song for The Girl Who Used to be Me by Marvin Hamlisch, Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman. The movie picked up the Top Comedy Film award from the British Comedy Awards and earned three Golden Globe nominations, including Best Film and Best Actress.

Middle-aged, working class housewife Shirley describes the rut her life has become as she carries on conversations with the wall of her kitchen. She talks about her grown children, her husband Joe, her past and an intriguing offer she has received from a girlfriend who has won an all-expenses-paid trip for two to Greece. Shirley finally works up the courage and nerve to pack her bags, leave a note for her husband and launch a voyage of self-discovery that awakens the spirit of her younger self and reinvigorates her life and passion. The newly alive Shirley describes her rebirth as she sits on a beach in Greece and talks to a rock while she anxiously waits to reintroduce herself to Joe.

Harp has moved the story from Liverpool to a home somewhere in Middle Tennessee and converted some of the more English references in the script to make it more identifiable with area audiences. Some mature language and subject matter in the original script also has been altered to make the show family friendly.

Scott’s turn as Shirley will mark the 39th production at The Renaissance Center for the Robertson County native, with 17 previous Gaslight productions including The Miss Firecracker Contest, Nunsense, The Honky Tonk Angels, The Dining Room, I Hate Hamlet and I Do! I Do! It will be her second appearance in a one-woman show after previously playing Amelia Earhart in Amelia Lives for the Mind Enriching Theatre series in 2003. She also has directed 20 productions at the center since 2004.

After appearing in back-to-back Gaslight productions of Greater Tuna and A Tuna Christmas, Harp returns to the director’s chair for the first time since last year’s sold-out run of A Chorus Line. He has directed 24 previous shows at The Renaissance Center, including dinner theatre productions of My Fair Lady, Steel Magnolias, Lend Me a Tenor, Driving Miss Daisy, Barefoot in the Park and Always… Patsy Cline.

Shirley Valentine is a remarkable story of self-discovery where our heroine finds romance and a new awareness of who she is and what her existence can be with just a little effort on her part,” said Harp. “We get to laugh along with her on this journey through life as Shirley gets her groove back.

“The show also provides a peek at the talent and emotional range of an exceptional actress such as Amy Scott. Since coming to The Renaissance Center in 2001, her roles have covered every end of the spectrum from singing and dancing as Snoopy and an absent-minded nun to dramatic turns in two different plays about the Holocaust. Her ability as a character actor has made her stand out in large casts such as Anything Goes and Nunsense, while the experience of watching her character grow within the show in productions like I Do! I Do! and Steel Magnolias make her a perfect choice for Shirley Valentine.”

Tickets for the Gaslight Dinner Theatre’s production of Shirley Valentine are on sale now. To purchase tickets, call (615) 740-5601. For more information, call (615) 740-5600 or visit www.rcenter.org.

The Renaissance Center is a fine arts education and performing arts center at 855 Highway 46 South in Dickson, just 35 miles west of Nashville on Interstate 40 at exit 172.

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