‘Brides’ woo, win audience at Ritz

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 28, 2005

A packed house at the Ritz Tuesday night was treated to a colorful and action-packed stage spectacle that both claimed the hearts and the tickled the funny bones of young and old alike.

&uot;Seven Brides for Seven Brothers&uot;, the final production of the 2004-2005 season for the Greenville Area Arts Council (GAAC), truly carried the season out with a bang – plus plenty of spins, back flips, somersaults and plenty of high-energy dancing.

The 28 cast members and eight-member orchestra gave their all in this humorous, homespun story of Milly, a small town waitress in the 19th century Oregon Territory who is swept off her feet and speedily married to a visiting farmer named Adam Pontipee.

Little does this new bride know her handsome, charming Adam has six younger brothers back at the farm, all in dire need of a woman’s gentle, guiding hand (not to mention her cooking, cleaning and laundry skills). Soon, Milly is determined to turn these sow’s ears into silk purses she can marry off to the girls in town!

With amazing speed Adam’s new bride is able to transform the loutish Pontipee brothers into rather dapper-looking fellows who can cut quite a rug when they go to the town social.

Adam, however, is having none of this sissy stuff and encourages his brothers to fall back into their two-fisted ways – much to Milly’s dismay.

When the eldest brother leads his younger siblings on a nighttime raid to kidnap their desired brides, Milly and Adam part the ways. He heads to a cabin in the hills, the younger brothers head out to live in the barn, and Milly and the six would-be-brides hang on until the spring thaw and the opportunity to properly hitch the half-dozen couples.

Of course, it all ends on a happy note. Milly and a repentant Adam, proud new parents, renew their vows as the six brides and six brothers pledge their troths to one another. Stand-out songs included &uot;Bless Your Beautiful Hide&uot;, &uot;Sobbin’ Women&uot; and &uot;Love Never Goes Away.&uot;

Much laughter and enthusiastic applause were heard throughout the evening, with many commenting it was one of their all-time favorite GAAC productions.

&uot;There was an incredible amount of energy and athletic ability up there – what fun!&uot; remarked Mary Ann Hamilton.

&uot;That was a wonderful show – precious, just precious!&uot; said Nonnie Hardin.

Several of the cast members came over to the Whitney Bank after the show to enjoy the lavish array of hors d’oeuvres and libations offered by the talented members of the GAAC.

Alicia Albright (Milly) had the opportunity to meet several of her fans that night. Albright, a California native, has toured in musicals and dance companies in Europe but said this was her first chance to travel extensively across the U.S.

&uot;This is my first trip to Alabama. I love I am getting to see new places…we are having a great time on this tour.&uot;

The group, part of Windwood Theatricals, travels by bus – one bus for the crew members, who travel ahead of the cast to set up in each new town and city, and a second bus for the two dozen-plus cast members, most of whom range in age from 19-30. They put on 82 shows during a touring season – one show a day, in a new theater each day.

&uot;You have to stay in shape – you can’t go out partying a lot and stuff. We did get to go out and do some sight seeing last night in Saint Augustine and it was really beautiful. [The schedule] can be tough – but we all get along, and we really do have a great time doing the shows,&uot; one cast member explained.

After a welcome night’s sleep at a hotel, the cast was heading back to Florida for yet another show – leaving behind autographed program books and many wonderful memories for all those who made it to the Ritz.