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Forest Park Theatre presents 'Five Women Wearing the Same Dress' Feb. 23-26

February 20, 2012

Think of it as sisterhood of the reluctant bridal party – five very different women bond while wearing hideous matching gowns and hats in an over-the-top wedding planned by a quintessential Southern belle. Alan Ball’s 1993 comedy “Five Women Wearing the Same Dress” is a touch of “Designing Women,” “Sex and the City” and even a dash of “Four Weddings and a Funeral.”

Four performances will take place at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 23-25, and 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 26, at the Mildred E. Bastian Center for the Performing Arts at St. Louis Community College-Forest Park, 5600 Oakland Ave., St. Louis, Mo 63110. Admission is free and open to the public.

On Friday, Feb. 24, a special “Girls Night Out” event is planned as part of the college’s 50th anniversary celebration. A cake-and-punch reception will follow the performance in the lower theater lobby, with wedding cakes provided by executive pastry chef Casey Shiller’s baking and pastry arts class. Shiller is the coordinator of the baking and pastry arts program in hospitality studies and won the Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” last summer. Bring your girlfriends for a fun night out – gentlemen are welcome, too!

During an ostentatious wedding reception at a Knoxville, Tenn., estate in 1993, five reluctant, identically clad bridesmaids hide out in an upstairs bedroom, each with her own reason to avoid the proceedings below. As the afternoon wears on, these five females joyously discover a common bond in this wickedly funny, irreverent and touching celebration of the women’s spirit.

Five Women Wearing the Same Dress Cast  
Clockwise, from left: Kristie Lyon and Dave Grubbs, both of St. Louis; Shawn Chevalier of Belleville; Katie Johnson of St. Peters and Kimi Wibbenmeyer of St. Louis. Not shown is Kaitlin “Tuck” Fortwengler of Louisville, Ky.

The cast includes Kimi Wibbenmeyer of St. Louis as Meredith, the bride’s  younger sister whose precocious rebelliousness masks a dark secret; Kaitlin “Tuck” Fortwengler of Louisville, Ky., a student at Lindenwood University, as Georgeanne, whose heartbreak over her own failed marriage triggers outrageous behavior; Katie Johnson of St. Peters as Frances, a painfully sweet but sheltered Christian fundamentalist; Shawn Chevalier of Belleville as Mindy, the cheerful, wise-cracking lesbian sister of the groom; and Kristie Lyon of St. Louis, a student at STLCC and Webster, as Trisha, a jaded beauty whose die-hard cynicism about men is called into question when she meets Tripp, a charming bad-boy usher to whom there is more than meets the eye. He is played by Dave Grubbs of St. Louis, a student at STLCC. Angela McClure of St. Louis is an understudy.

The play is directed by Lynn Venhaus of Belleville, who works in community relations at STLCC and is an adjunct communications instructor. Cara Artman of St. Louis is the stage manager; Jason Coale of St. Louis designed the set; Gary Koesterer of Freeburg designed the sound; Kimi Wibbenmeyer of St. Louis designed the costumes; and Kevin Hester of St. Charles is the props master.

“I knew Alan Ball could write for women in a funny and clever way, with great insight to characters, based on the TV shows he created – ‘Cybill,’ ‘Six Feet Under’ and ‘True Blood,’ plus he won an Oscar for the ‘American Beauty’ script,” Venhaus said. “Our cast has done a terrific job of making these distinct characters come alive in a warm and humorous way that will be relatable to the audience.”

The play is for mature audiences, and is being performed with permission from Dramatists Play Service Inc. in New York.

For more information, call 314-644-9744.