Nashville may have its TPAC (Tennessee Performing Arts Center) but in the heart of the Grassland community in Franklin, Tennessee is a gem of a local theater company, the Bethlehem Players, a community theater outreach group of Bethlehem United Methodist Church.The acting troupe has staged productions for over 17 years in their BPAC (Bethlehem Performing Arts Center) ranging from “The Sound of Music” to launching premiere works like the hilarious “Southern Fried Funeral” franchise of award-winning playwrights, Osborne & Eppler.
The hilarious farcical comedy “The Foreigner,” set in a rural fishing lodge in Georgia, shows the funny side of being an outsider when the Bethlehem Players present this crowd-pleasing production select days February 28 through March 8 at Bethlehem United Methodist Church, 2419 Bethlehem Loop Road, Franklin, TN (37069).
Written by Larry Shue, the play had an initial two-year Off Broadway run and Bethlehem Players Director Dietz Osborne says it is a well-crafted and very funny play.
“Staged in the intimate performing arts space of Bethlehem UMC with new state-of-the-art lighting, this talented cast gives a comedic look at being an ‘outsider,’ tolerance and how difficult it is to communicate with other people, even when you share a common language,” Osborne said. “It’s the perfect way to break up the winter blues with an evening of excellent entertainment.”
“The Foreigner” is about the profoundly introverted Charlie who thinks he’s shatteringly and profoundly boring, played by theater veteran Johnny Peppers. Seeking peace and stuck at a rustic retreat, Charlie pretends to not speak or understand English in hopes of avoiding personal interactions and the opposite happens when various community characters confide and confess to Charlie in ways they never would if he could understand him resulting in hilarious antics.
Featuring both church members and area community actors, the cast includes Johnny Peppers (Charlie Baker), Kandace Peppers (Betty Meeks), Mark McNulty (Froggy LeSueur), Brett Myers (Ellard Simms), Eleanor Aiken (Catherine Simms), Flynt Foster (David Lee) and Dietz Osborne (Owen Musser).
The Bethlehem Players present “The Foreigner” at 7:00 p.m. on Feb. 28, March 6, 7 and 8 as well as a 2:00 p.m. on March 2. The Tuesday, March 4 show is presented at 7:30 p.m. with a special Fat Tuesday Pancake Dinner served at 6:00 p.m. followed by an optional communion service and Dixieland Band escort to the BUMC theater.
Tickets for show-only are $15 for adults and $12 for high school students and younger and are available for all shows. Dinner show tickets are $22 for adults and $18 for high school students and younger. This year’s benefiting charity is Love on Wheels begun by BUMC to provide children taken into custody by the Department of Children’s Services a suitcase, instead of the standard trash bag, filled with appropriate hygiene and toiletry items as a reminder that they are loved and have value. Financial as well as suitcase and toiletry items can be received at all play performances.
Shows take place at the Bethlehem UMC Performing Arts Center, 2419 Bethlehem Loop Road, Franklin, TN (37069). For reservations or more information, (615) 669-BPAC (2722), www.ticketsnashville.com.Group discount for parties of 10 or more with one check.
The community theatre outreach program of Bethlehem United Methodist Church was founded in 1997. Since its inception, the Bethlehem Players have successfully staged for packed audiences a spectrum of shows from “Annie” to “Steel Magnolias” as well as two world premiere productions, “Southern Fried Funeral” and “Southern Fried Nuptials.” For more information, www.bethlehemumc.com or their visit them on Facebook at Bethlehem Players.