TLT announces cast of next show, ‘The Last Night of Ballyhoo’

Published 8:00 am Friday, August 24, 2018

So exactly what is “Ballyhoo?”

It is a lavish cotillion ball, sponsored by the Jewish country club in Atlanta.

The date is December 1939. Hitler has invaded Poland, and all of Atlanta is on tenterhooks awaiting the upcoming premiere of “Gone with the Wind.”

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This is the setting of Tryon Little Theater’s upcoming season opener, “The Last Night of Ballyhoo.”

Playwright Alfred Uhry (who wrote the award-winning “Driving Miss Daisy”) was approached by the Olympic Games’ Cultural Olympiad to produce a play for the 1996 Olympic Games, held in Atlanta. It was the first opportunity for the region to internationally showcase the progress it had made since the civil rights era.

Uhry was born in Atlanta to an upper-middle-class German-Jewish family, and created a story he knew so well — that of intra-ethnic prejudice. “The Last Night of Ballyhoo” went on to win Uhry another Tony Award.

The story revolves around Adolph Freitag (owner of the Dixie Bedding Company), his sister Boo and sister-in-law Reba, along with nieces Lala and Sunny.  They are a Jewish family  who are so highly assimilated that they have a Christmas tree in the front parlor.

“The Last Night of Ballyhoo” is described by the New York Times as, “much of the gently barbed, idiosyncratic Southern humor recalls a vintage episode of the television sitcom ‘Designing Women.’”

Directed by Carol Cox, the cast is a mix of former TLT actors and some new to the TLT stage.

Frances McCain plays Boo, Joshua Clarke is Joe and Brenda Craig plays Reba. Steve Harvey is Adolph, his nieces La La and Sonny are played by Lori Lee and Sarah Nathanson, respectively, and Alex Tapp is Peachy, the suitor from “one of the best” Jewish families in Atlanta.

“The Last Night of Ballyhoo” runs for two weekends: Sept. 20–23 and Sept. 27-30 at the Tryon Little Theater Workshop, 516 S. Trade St., Tryon. 

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– Submitted by Monica Jones