‘Four Old Broads’ opens Friday at Seymour theater

Think very uncensored “Golden Girls.”

That’s how Director Betty Baute describes Actors Community Theatre of Seymour’s upcoming production of “Four Old Broads.”

In the play, written by Leslie Kimbell, retired burlesque queen Beatrice Shelton desperately needs a vacation — and not another trip up to Helen, Georgia, to see that “precious little German village for the umpteenth time.”

A Sassy Seniors Cruise through the Caribbean may be just the ticket if she can just convince her best friend, Eaddy Mae Clayton, to stop praying and go with her.

Unfortunately, things have not been very pleasant at Magnolia Place Assisted Living in Petula, Georgia, since Nurse Pat Jones began working there. The newest resident, Imogene Fletcher, is suddenly losing her memory. Maude Jenkins is obsessed with her favorite soap opera and planning her own funeral. Sam Smith, a retired Elvis impersonator, keeps trying to bed every woman in the building.

A mystery unfolds with laughter as the four old broads try to outsmart the evil nurse and figure out why so many residents have been moved to “the dark side,” what exactly is that mysterious pill and what happened to Dr. Head.

Hilarity ensues as Imogene goes undercover and Maude enters the Miss Magnolia Senior Citizen Pageant to throw Pat off their trail. If they can solve the mystery, they may make it to the cruise ship after all.

“I read it, and it’s absolutely hilarious,” Baute said of choosing the show. “I am a comedy person. I believe in what Charlie Chaplin once said: ‘A day without laughter is a day wasted.’ That is my motto, and I am a big fan of that, so I would really much rather do a comedy. I have stepped across lines and done a drama now and then, but comedy is my thing. If I can make somebody laugh sometime during the day, then my day has been accomplished.”

The show will be staged at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 10 and 11 at ACTS, 357 Tanger Blvd., Suite 208, at Shops at Seymour. Tickets are $12.

Baute said she had submitted the show for consideration a few years ago, but then it was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year, she had the seven cast members set, but within a few weeks, she lost five of them due to illness or unexpected time commitments.

“Life happens,” she said, “so some of these guys didn’t come on board until just two weeks, three weeks ago.”

Fortunately, she had some veterans and a newcomer step up to fill the roles. Her daughter, Kat Baute, is playing the role of Beatrice, while Elyse McGill is portraying Imogene, Ashley Browning is Eaddy and Sarah Bott is Maude.

“I just could not find anybody to take the role of Nurse Pat,” Betty said. “Everybody was committed to other things, and so Betty gets stuck with doing Pat, which is only my second time onstage in 10 years because I’m usually directing or producing or doing stage work.”

Even though she didn’t initially audition, Kat said when she was asked to be part of the show and read the script, she immediately knew she wanted to play Beatrice.

“She’s a wonderful character for me,” Kat said. “I’m a chameleon anyway, so I can be whoever I want to be or whoever I need to be. I’ve had a lot of characters like this. … It’s that free spirit thing that keeps coming back. She’s a natural leader. She wants to have fun. She has been used to having her own way.”

Browning said Eaddy is the religious one of the bunch, but that comes with a twist.

“She is not religious to be religious. She’s religious so she can go to church to talk about people behind their back,” Browning said. “The entire time she’s praying, she’s not praying to pray. She’s praying to throw shade.”

While Eaddy and Beatrice are best friends, Browning said it doesn’t come off that way a lot.

“But they are very similar in the sassy and catty direction, so she has been a lot of fun to play. They are not necessarily a sidekick but almost a sidekick. (Eaddy) is the one who has to get in the side quips,” Browning said.

“You’re the Robin to my Batman,” Kat said.

Bott, in her first show at ACTS, said Maude is in her own world.

“She’s very obsessed with this soap opera, and it consumes her whole life, and it’s one of the only things she thinks that she has in life,” Bott said. “She’s also constantly planning her own funeral. She has a journal that has a bunch of fabrics and flowers in it, samples of what she would want in her casket. If she doesn’t want a casket, she wants to be cremated. It changes all the time.”

While Imogene hasn’t been at the retirement home very long, McGill said she already has made some really good friends, but she’s having some issues.

“Somebody is messing with her medication and causing her to have some issues. That’s what gets the whole mystery started,” McGill said. “She gets a little crazy. She’s a little sassy, but at the same time, she’s not over the top about it. Beatrice is extremely sassy 24/7.”

Pete Law plays the role of Sam in the show, and Alexis Kineinger is pulling double duty as Ruby Sue and the assistant director.

If you go

What: Actors Community Theatre of Seymour’s production of “Four Old Broads”

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 10 and 11 (doors open at 7 p.m.)

Where: Actors Community Theatre of Seymour, 357 Tanger Blvd., Suite 208, at Shops at Seymour

Tickets: $12 (buy online at seymouracts.ticketleap.com/four-old-broads); concessions will be available for purchase

Director: Betty Baute

Assistant director: Alexis Kieninger

Cast: Ashley Browning, Sarah Bott, Elyse McGill, Kat Baute, Betty Baute, Pete Law, Alexis Kieninger