The Dixie Swim Club Review

A Performance to Share With Friends!

By Allie Causin

There’s nothing more appealing than a book that has you enraptured within its pages by the very first sentence. The delight is the same for a play that has you captivated as soon as the first lights come on. The Dixie Swim Club is like a delicious book that you are in love with before the very first line is spoken; an insuppressible grin appears on your face, and you’re immediately hooked.

The story is about five friends that get together once a year for a girl’s weekend at the beach house in North Carolina. Immediately as the show started, I found that it took everything within my power to keep myself sitting in my seat instead of joining Sheree in her completely carefree solo dancing to the summertime beach music. Lexie arrives not long after, like a fly on the wall, enjoying every second of Sheree’s dance, quiet for a moment, but once the moment has passed, flaunts herself center stage.  Next waltzes in Dinah, “I’ve got a martini shaker and I’m not afraid to use it!” Vernadette isn’t far behind making her ritual mad dash to the bathroom. Last, but not least, with a surprise in tow, ex-nun Jeri Neal makes her appearance. Lisa Denninger (Sheree), Kristen Mathisen (Dinah), Denise Martineau (Lexie), Julie Bohn (Jeri Neal), and Debbie Swanson (Vernadette) share with us the sweet sisterhood of friendship in all its colorfulness. These talented women bring you into their story and make you feel as if you are “one of the girls”. They make us laugh, they make us cry, and they make us truly grateful for the treasured friendships in our own lives, causing us to take a moment pause to fondly recall our own “remember when’s.”

All the characters are realistic and relatable, as if a sprinkling of our every day friends were suddenly on stage. Their story is a tribute to true friendship and reminds us that although it can go through the works, in the end, friendship can endure all. It is a great show to experience with friends and loved ones from all walks of life. Together you will laugh till your sides hurt. Though a Kleenex may be necessary at times, you are guaranteed to walk away with a happy heart. This is not a show to miss. The only thing I felt was absent was a martini in my hand. Once you see it, you will understand why.

A Little Bit About Allie: Allie Causin, 26 years old, lives in Coon Rapids, Minnesota. By day she works at a special education para at Adams Elementary and in the evenings teaches ballet in St. Paul and Forest Lake. She has been a performing company member with Out On A Limb Dance Company for the past 7 years. She’s currently going to school at Augsburg College for a degree in Elementary Education. When she isn’t working, dancing, or at school she is traveling the country working with her fairy friends at Renaissance Festivals. On the rare occasion she has even been seen as a mermaid.

Gab Session with the Ladies of Dixie Swim

The Dixie Swim Club cast and artistic staff are hard at working preparing for what is sure to be a hilarious and heartwarming show. Here is what the five spunky Dixie gals had to say about the show, their characters, and Lyric Arts.

LA: Three things that make a “Girls Weekend” perfect?

DENISE (“Lexi”): Giggles, gossip...

DEBBIE (“Vernadette”): My character Vernadette would say, “No men, lots of laughing and good food!” Hmm, funny. I guess I would say the same thing!

LISA (“Sheree”): And don’t forget no cooking or cleaning of any kind. And wine.

 

LA: What is your best anti-aging secret?

JULIE (“Jeri”): Get your hair highlighted! You can hide the gray hairs in with the color.

DEBBIE (“Vernadette”): To have friends younger than me...I learn all about pop culture, fashion, and the Internet. I may not choose to pursue any of it, but I can keep up my side of the conversation!

 

LA: What is your favorite show Lyric Arts has produced?

KRISTIN (“Dinah”): I would have to say The Hallelujah Girls of course, but I have a feeling it will soon be replaced by this one.

LISA (“Sheree”): Almost, Maine. It was enchanted by it. It made me laugh and touched my heart...a perfect show for a cold January evening. Though it’s a very different show, I’m hoping that The Dixie Swim Club will do the same for audiences!

 

LA: Best line from The Dixie Swim Club?

DEBBIE (“Vernadette”):  “I traded in my treadmill for stretch pants and a deep fat fryer!” There’s many a morning when I’m walking on that treadmill at 6am, wishing I could do the same...

KRISTIN (“Dinah”): “Never wrestle a pig in the mud. You both get dirty and the pig enjoys it way too much.”

 

LISA (“Sheree”): Well, I’m not giving away any of the best lines. But I’m pleased that I get to use “all y’all” in a sentence.

Meet Denise Martineau who is performing in The Dixie Swim Club

Lyric Arts had a chance to interview Denise Martineau, who is performing, as Lexie,  in The Dixie Swim Club. Read on to hear what she has to say about her experience thus far! LA: Tell us a little bit about why this particular play interested you?

DM: My best friend from childhood was in a production of The Dixie Swim Club in Hudson, WI last spring and I was so jealous of her, up on stage having so much fun.

LA: For those that are unfamiliar with The Dixie Swim Club can you tell us about the show?

DM: The audience will enjoy the inside jokes and closeness of five lifelong friends who face aging and life's challenges with humor and love.

LA: Talk about the character that you play in The Dixie Swim Club How have you developed this character?

DM: I would love to have Lexi as my alter-ego.  She covers up her insecurities with a lot of fancy clothes and fast men.  She's self-  centered, but has a heart of gold.  She's lucky to have friends who    can see past all her "window dressing" to the wonderful person she really is.

LA: Why should women come and see The Dixie Swim Club?

DM:I think every woman will find a little of herself in the characters in the show and be able to laugh at it's honesty.

LA: Talk about your fellow cast members, how do you see their characters developing? Any that you are particularly amazed at?

DM: The professionalism of the women in this show is a credit to the quality of performances that is fostered in the Lyric Arts community. Each of our characters is a caricature, but each of my cast mates iS  infusing her character with such humanity and love.  I'm honored to be part of the group and daunted that the bar is set so high.

LA: What do you feel are the "wow" elements of The Dixie Swim Club?

DM: The writing captures a lot of truth about women's friendships; sometimes catty, sometimes playful, sometimes snotty, but always loving.  I think our cast is handling the balance between silly and sentimentality very well.

LA: What is your favorite aspect of the show?

DM: The humor.

LA: Being that this show is all about a group of girlfriends, what is your favorite thing to do on a “Girls Weekend?”

DM: I love staying up and talking the night away and laughing until my sides hurt. 

LA: Please tell us a little bit about yourself?

DM:I'm thrilled to be returning to the stage after a twelve-year absence while home with my kids.  I have appeared in more than 20 shows and one of my favorite roles was as a street person/chorus in "Sweeney Todd."  I enjoy writing and always welcome new readers to my blog:  www.brazenhussywordsonthewind.blogspot.com.  I teach music with the Osseo School District.

Meet Kristen Mathisen performing in "The Dixie Swim Club"

Lyric Arts had a chance to interview Kristen Mathisen, who is performing, as Dinah,  in The Dixie Swim Club. Read on to hear what she has to say about her experience thus far! LA: Tell us a little bit about why this particular play interested you?

KM: After playing Bunny Sutherland in “The Hallelujah Girls” last season, I was eager to play another character written by the same playwrights.  I love the way these women are written and the sweetness of their relationships over the years. 

LA: For those that are unfamiliar with The Dixie Swim Club can you tell us about the show

KM: Five college friends who were on the same champion swim team meet every August on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  You see their relationships evolve over several decades.  The comedy is sweet and gentle, and there are some very poignant moments.

LA: Talk about the character that you play in The Dixie Swim Club? 

Dinah Grayson is probably the most serious of the five women.  She is a lawyer by profession and has a sense of humor as dry as the martinis of which she is quite fond.  How have you developed this character?  It is still early in the process, and for now I am relying a great deal on the wonderful women I am working with to guide me as I explore the opportunities for this character.  I am also grateful to the internet for giving me instructions on mixing martinis and screwdrivers; it is not a skill that comes 

LA: Why should women come and see The Dixie Swim Club?  

KM: It is a play about friendship, and how the magnificent women we share our lives with can help us to keep life in perspective with love, humor and kindness.  Oh, and good southern biscuits. 

LA: Talk about your fellow cast members, how do you see their characters developing? Any that you are particularly amazed at? 

KM:I am amazed at how quickly I feel I have bonded with these women, most of whom I have only just met.  I feel as though I have known them for a long time. 

LA: What do you feel are the "wow" elements of The Dixie Swim Club? 

KM:Each character is unique and because of their individual qualities each brings an interesting story to tell.  The way comedy is used to illustrate each character is a lot of fun.

LA: What is your favorite aspect of the show? 

KM:The way comedy and sentiment are balanced in the story lines.  And the amount of laughter during rehearsals.  I only hope the audiences will enjoy watching this show as much as we are enjoying doing it.

LA: Being that this show is all about a group of girlfriends, what is your favorite thing to do on a “Girls Weekend?” 

KM: Having grown up on Lake Superior, it would have to be sailing the Apostle Islands.  Or simply sitting around eating junk food and talking.

LA: Being that The Dixie Swim Club is written by the same creative playwrights who also wrote The Hallelujah Girls, that Lyric Arts produced last season, what are the differences between the shows?   

KM: “The Hallelujah Girls” centered around a group of women struggling to help a friend grow her spa business in the face of aggressive opposition from another woman in the townFriendship plays a key role in both shows.  While “Hallelujah Girls” covers a period of about one year, “Dixie Swim Club” allows us to watch the progress of these friends through most of their lives. 

LA: Please tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am an actor, and count myself fortunate to live in the Twin Cities where there is so much opportunity.  Finding Lyric Arts was such a bonus.  It is so representative of the theatre organizations available in the Metro area.   I am also passionate about my family, photography and writing – in particular, taking photos of family and then writing about the pictures.

Meet Debbie Swanson performing in "The Dixie Swim Club"

Lyric Arts had a chance to interview Debbie Swanson, who is performing, as Vernadette,  in The Dixie Swim Club. Read on to hear what she has to say about her experience thus far! LA: Why should women come and see The Dixie Swim Club?

DS: As I’ve gotten older, I have really learned the value of having “girl” friends. This show has such strong writing that illustrates the bond long- term women friends can have. Through thick and thin, they are there for each other and I think all of us women can certainly relate to that!

LA: Talk about your fellow cast members, how do you see their characters developing? Any that you are particularly amazed at?

DS: All of the women I’m working with are such fantastic actors! As we rehearse, everyone is experimenting with their lines—trying to get the right inflection, timing and accents for each of our particular characters. The director-Kari Steinbach-has been leading us through the process of exploring who these “Dixie Swim Club” women are and what their motivations could be and it has been so rewarding.

LA: Being that The Dixie Swim Club is written by the same creative playwrights who also wrote The Hallelujah Girls, that Lyric Arts produced last season, what are the differences between the shows?

DS:  I think that Dixie Swim Club digs deeper. It is set over a time period of many years rather than just the one year, so the characters find themselves dealing with more issues—both the good and the bad! We see each of the women changing and growing as the years go by, so I feel like the audience will relate more to each of the women and feel more invested in their lives. But don’t get me wrong—there is plenty of one-liners and laughing to go around, just like in Hallelujah Girls!

LA: Any other area that you would like to comment on?

DS: I feel so grateful that Lyric Arts continues to choose such a wide range of shows for each of it’s seasons. Audiences get to experience a full range of shows throughout the year—from serious drama that really makes you think, to lighthearted musicals, comedies and children’s shows and then of course, well written “slice of life” shows like this one. Dixie Swim Club will be my 9th show at Lyric Arts, and I keep coming back because of the high quality productions that you offer! Thank-you, Thank-you.