Chapin Theatre Company


"Chapin Theatre Company's 'Simply Divided' is Good Stereotypical Southern Humor" Read James Harley's full review at (scroll down)


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Since the Toyota Truck plant opened in Mobile, the men of Simply, Alabama, have been leaving town for work. no one is more alarmed by this than the women who congregate at the Simply Delicious Diner. Owner Sissy Mae Montgomery struggles to keep the doors open as the town dies around her, but still enjoys the camaraderie of her friends, including the four-times divorced town "cougar," a one-time tennis star who has moved home to care for her ailing grandfather, and a freelance hairstylist who carries an entire beauty salon in her huge handbag. The friends commiserate about their failed love lives and how their town will survive without any men. One day, a handsome new teacher from the high school wanders into the diner and the women begin to compete for his attention. With plenty of verbal jousting and surprising plot twists, Simply Divided feels like spending an evening with old friends—old friends that want to kill each other.

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Meet the Cast   | Production Staff

Julie Long Schelble – Sissy Mae
Julie is thrilled to make her acting debut with the talented cast and crew of Simply Divided and the Chapin Theatre Company. Julie is a teacher by trade and has enjoyed being the ESOL program supervisor for Lexington/Richland Five for the last five years. Her most cherished role is that of wife and mother to her precious family - John, Addy and Beau. She would like to thank them for allowing her the time to devote to this project. Julie also extends love and thanks to Julie Painter for being her greatest fan. "There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves; it is not my nature."

Melinda Collins – D'Ellen
Melinda has appeared at Chapin Theatre Company as Claire Ganz in last season's Rumors, Charlotte Hay in Moon Over Buffalo, Barbara Smith in Run for Your Wife, Elaine in The Miss Firecracker Contest, Joanne in Come Back to the Five and Dime Jimmy Dean, and Ruth Condomine in Blithe Spirit, to name a few. At Town Theatre, she appeared as Pamela in The Fox on the Fairway, Gwendolyn Pigeon in The Odd Couple, Ursula Westerby in There Goes the Bride, Maude Bodley in Not Now, Darling, and Linda Swan in Cash On Delivery. At Workshop Theatre, she appeared as Lee Green in The Tale of the Allergist's Wife, Kitty in Six Degrees of Separation, Maggie in Lend Me a Tenor, and Cassie Cooper in Rumors. Thank you to Julie for another fun role. Much love to Chad.

David Reed – Ray
David hails from the booming metropolis of Gray Station, Tennessee, which got their first traffic light when David was in high school. And when they put in that Dairy Queen ... folks were jubilant to finally have a hub for social activity. So, therefore, David can fully appreciate the role that establishments like The Simply Delicious Diner play in the daily social lives of others in small towns throughout the South. David's last six roles here at Chapin Theatre Company were all in last fall's production of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (multiple personality disorder indeed!). Not only has David appeared in community theatres around the area, but he's also toured the region professionally in several productions with the The Actor's Theatre of S.C. He's been on the radio across the state for nearly 30 years and, when not doing a theatre, is an avid bookworm.

LaQuana Peterson – Trish Ann
LaQuana is originally from Newark, New Jersey. Acting and singing have been parts of her life from a very early age, when she began appearing in community talent shows and church plays. She attended a performing arts high school, where she studied drama and television production. She holds a degree from Ramapo College (NJ) in contemporary arts, with a concentration in theater, and she has appeared in Guys & Dolls, Loose Knit and Footloose. She is in her third year of teaching and spends her days with a fabulous group of fourth graders at Irmo Elementary School in the Lexington-Richland Five School District. LaQuana is very excited to be in her first show with the Chapin Theatre Company and working with such a talented cast and crew! She dedicates these performances to her AMAZING support system: her mother and best friend, Charlotte; her encouraging IES family; the love of her life, Ash; and the awesome students of B-139!

Gayle Stewart – Charity
Gayle is simply delighted to play with the wonderful cast and crew of Simply Divided! She last appeared in Theatre Rowe's premiere production, Second Samuel. Other credits include Chapin Theatre Company's The Homecoming, But Why Bump Off Barnaby?, A Murder Is Announced and It Runs in the Family; Town Theatre's Harvey, Moon Over Buffalo, Steel Magnolias, Dearly Departed, and My Fair Lady; and Village Square Theatre's Little Women: The Musical and The Gift of the Magi. Many thanks to Jeff Lovett for creating such a marvelous script and to Julie Painter for her amazing skill and insight, as well as for the opportunity to participate in this fantastic experience!

Chad Forrister – Gabe
Chad has appeared at Town theatre as Richard Hannay in The 39 Steps, The Childcatcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Underling in The Drowsy Chaperone, Wilson in Harvey, Speed in The Odd Couple and as Paul in Moon Over Buffalo. He has appeared at Chapin Theatre Company over the years as Ken de la Maize in The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940, Paul Bratter in Barefoot in the Park, Philip Lombard in Ten Little Indians, Tom in Dinner with Friends, Charles Condomine in Blithe Spirit, Bill Starbuck in The Rainmaker, Ellard in The Foreigner, and Paul in Moon Over Buffalo. He is glad to be working with Julie again after her hiatus. He sends a special thank-you to his sweet Melinda.

Sarah Anne Griggs – Sarah Beth
Sarah Anne is entering theatre with her first role, Sarah Beth Montgomery. She has grown up around Columbia and now lives in Irmo, where she is employed as a nanny for Julie Painter's Irish twins. She is a very shy person, enjoying Disney movies and her favorite books, Through the Looking Glass, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Invisible Man, Harry Potter, and Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, quietly as she keeps to herself. She would have probably never auditioned for anything had Julie not suggested it. Sarah Anne pursues her aspirations of nature filmography as she studies broadcast journalism in her sophomore year at USC, her parents' alma mater.

Leilani Phinney – Carlotta
Leilani is so excited to be in her first production with Chapin Theatre Company! Before this, she starred in A Christmas Carol at Village Square Theatre as the Undertaker's Woman and took drama in high school (under the fabulous Ms. Suber) and college (at THE USC). She has always loved theater, but after traveling with the Big Apple Circus and having two children, hasn't had much time for it. She wants to thank her wonderful husband, Robert Phinney, for all his support and love as she pursues acting again.

Merritt A. Vann – Earl
Merritt is a Quality Management Engineer for the SC Department of Transportation by day. By night, you'll find him creating and completing his life's bucket list. He marked off "Perform in a Hilarious Theater Production" last year in Theatre Rowe's productions of Murdered by the Mob and Murder Rides Again. Another one of his goals, "Appear on Film," was validated by way of appearances on the Cinemax original mini-series Banshee, Lifetime's pilot film Witches of East End, and Living the Dream, which was part of the Expecting Goodness Short-Film Festival. You're sure to be seeing more of Merritt as his bucket list includes all kinds of crazy stuff! Seriously, Merritt would like to thank the Chapin Theatre Company and Julie Painter for welcoming him to their team and putting together a top-notch production.

Daniel Huff – Bus Boy (Crew)
Daniel is 18 years old and has just recently started college. He had to take some time off from performing to get used to the "college" lifestyle. He is so excited to be back on the Chapin stage, working with such a great cast! He appeared in The Homecoming here at Chapin in the fall of 2011. He plans to pursue an acting career, along with studying theatre in college. He would like to thank Mrs. Painter for casting him in this hilarious production.

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Production Staff   | Meet the Cast

Julie DeLong Painter – Director
Julie is excited to return to the Chapin Theatre Company to work with the outstanding cast and crew of Simply Divided. Her previous directing credits with Chapin include Moon Over Buffalo, The Miss Firecracker Contest and Blithe Spirit. After a hiatus that involved having Irish twins, completing a graduate degree, and shifting her career focus, Julie jumped back into theatre last year when she co-produced the Lexington/Richland Five intra-district musical, Footloose. Julie's major project now (aside from her collaboration with the love of her life, Tommy, in raising their three kids) is working with amazing professionals in Lexington 1 to open River Bluff High School in August 2013. Go Gators!

Linda DuRant — Producer
Linda is delighted to see Simply Divided finally arrive on the Chapin Theatre Company stage. It has been a long time coming and she thanks playwright Jeff Lovett for being so patient and supportive. Kudos go to Julie Painter and the wonderful cast and crew, who are breathing life into the wonderfully funny script! Linda is on the Chapin Theatre Company Board of Directors and appreciates the hard work and support of all of the other board members. She retired from SC Educational Television four years ago and is busier than ever! A special thank-you to all of our Patrons and other audience members. As much fun as it is to actually do theatre, it is much more fun when you have a good and responsive audience!

Todd Kemmerling – Co-Producer
Todd is happy to help and learn the role of co-producer under the guidance of Linda DuRant. You may have seen Todd in a couple of Chapin Theatre Company productions in the past 18 months, including as Charlie Sneed in The Homecoming and Paul Jensen in Maybe Baby, It's You. But tonight is all about Simply, Alabama, so ..."Sit back and enjoy; this show is hilarious!"

Kari Beaty – Stage Manager
Kari appreciates the opportunity to share her love of theatre with this amazing cast and crew, her fellow CTC Board of Directors members, our outstanding director Julie Painter, and YOU! No creative work is ever finished until there is an audience. It just wouldn't be the same without you. Over the past two years, Kari has been cast and/or crew for Chapin Theatre Company's Hotbed Hotel, The Homecoming, Rumors, A Little Princess, Maybe Baby, It's You, and now Simply Divided.

Matt Pound – Lighting Design/Light Board Technician
Matt started his theater experience by first playing a tree... and then a woman. After that, he realized that behind the scenes was the place to be. Since that time, Matt has acquired experience backstage and in the sound and light booth with several of Columbia's local theatre companies. However, he splits most of his time between Chapin Theatre Company, Harbison Theatre and Town Theatre. During the day, Matt geeks out as an IT systems administrator, but much prefers the after hours "working" shows with this great group of people.

J.S. Lee – Sound Design/Sound Board Technician
J.S. Lee has a long standing history with the theatre and most recently appeared in several vignettes of Chapin Theatre Company's recent Maybe Baby, It's You. After many years on and off the stage, he was involved with a local haunted house for nearly a decade, which has given him a new perspective on the behind-the-scenes aspect of live entertainment. He has worked at Harbison Theatre for more than a year now, primarily as the sound engineer.

Diane Moore — Properties
Diane keeps busy behind the scenes gathering properties and helping out as needed for many CTC productions. She most recently appeared onstage as the cantankerous Aunt Iney in Southern Hospitality. Other shows include M*A*S*H (VST), The Musical Comedy Murders of the 1940 (CTC), and To Kill a Mockingbird (Workshop). Thanks to all of you for supporting the Arts - enjoy the show!.

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Back to Season

By Jeff Lovett

Director: Julie Painter
Producers: Todd Kemmerling and Linda DuRant

Show Dates:

March 15, 16 (8 pm)
March 17 (3 pm)
March 21, 22, 23 (8 pm)
March 24 (3 pm)

All performances are at Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College.

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