Local playwright’s “Hollerwood” show premiers at West T. Hill



West T. Hill Community Theater is premiering “Hollerwood on the High Seas” by local playwright Elizabeth Orndorff. Shows will run May 19-21 and May 26-28. Friday and Saturday shows start at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday shows begin at 3 p.m.

“Hollerwood on the High Seas” is the latest of four sequels in the Hollerwood saga by Orndorff. West T. Hill debuted the first in the series, “Hollerwood,” in 2008. The series follows the schemes and scandals of a group from the town of Random in Eastern Kentucky.

The leaders of Random include Mayor Babe Dean, played by Karen Logue, and Sheriff Jerry Peavler, played by Allen Martin. Throughout the series, Mayor Dean tries to come up with outrageous plans to earn money from the city people while Sheriff Peavler tries to keep her from being put in jail.

Orndorff explained that as part of previous schemes, “Babe has concocted a writer’s conference paid for by government grants, sold fireworks filled with cremains of the dead, held a vice-presidential debate to rival those in the big City of Danville, and made a mint when she charged admission for an eclipse.”

In “Hollerwood on the High Seas,” Mayor Dean buys a cruise ship from a drug dealer and plans to take people on weekend cruises of Lake Cumberland. However, the cruise is on a land-locked lake and not going anywhere because the fuel bill was never paid, so Mayor Dean has to get creative.

When Dean and Peavler find out that the promised crew to run the ship is on lockdown with Covid, they recruit Random citizens, friends and ex-husbands to run the ship.

Logue, who plays Mayor Babe Dean and is Managing Director of West T. Hill, said that anyone who has seen a previous Hollerwood show will especially enjoy it and will welcome back the original characters.

“Audiences seem to simply enjoy the ‘down-home humor’ and the references to local places in and around Kentucky,” Logue said. “They seem to enjoy the outrageous humor and suggestive innuendo that is intertwined throughout the scripts. More than ever, it seems folks are looking for humor and laughter, and things that tend to get our minds off the seriousness and heaviness of our days.”

Dean’s best friend Bertie Williams is played by Mary Anne Mathews, who has played this character in previous Hollerwood shows, and has commuted from Louisville to reprise her role. Dale Kihlman plays Bertie’s ex-husband Fred Williams, owner of the Random plumbing supply store. He is now the boyfriend of Brittanee, played by Katie Followell, a beauty queen extraordinaire and entertainment director for the cruise.

Dean’s ex-husband, played by Buck Rogers, who came from Florida to do this show, is recruited to act as Chef Pierre. Dean’s current boyfriend is Eddy Stone, played by Chuck Taylor. Brandon Long and Julie Taylor play a drug dealer and his moll. Steve Rinehart plays Gopher, the only person from the former crew.

Orndorff has been writing plays for 20 years after working in editing and publishing in Georgia and Pennsylvania. She lives in Danville with her husband Robert.

West T. Hill has performed many of Orndorff’s plays, and Logue said they are confident in her writing and talent. Orndorff has also been a West T. Hill performer, director, and board member.

Tickets are available online at westthill.net, or at the door if available.