Gooch organizes ‘Lady in Red Players’

By Chris Cooper -

A new dinner theater group has been organized in Logan County by Darlene Gooch called the “Lady in Red Players.” Gooch, who is the director for Main Street Russellville, and an actor herself, started the group named after one of Russellville’s most famous women, Agnus Davis- better know as the Lady in Red.

Gooch says she loves the theater and wanted to start a group not only to allow for acting opportunities for those in the community, but also to be able to offer entertainment for those who live here as well. Gooch runs the Fourth Street Theater in Russellville, and is always trying to find ways to involve the citizens of Logan County.

“I named the group after Agnus Davis to honor her memory, as well as start a conversation about who she was,” said Gooch.

Davis was born in 1885 and lived in Russellville most of her life. She didn’t get her first job until she was 40-years-old, after her father- a lawyer- passed away leaving her penniless.

When Gooch moved back to Russellville in 1992, her love for theater was fresh. She began researching Davis and eventually portraying her in character.

Davis passed away in 1972 before Gooch would have the opportunity to meet her. But before she did, she had managed to break into the farming business. She had earned her way into the farmer’s hearts, as well as their pocketbooks as the first woman in the United States to sell fertilizer.

“A lot of people remember Agnus as the Lady in Red, because she always dressed as if she were going to church in her red dress,” said Gooch.

Davis purchased the Bibb House in 1952 and was an avid antique collector.

The first play to be held by the “Lady in Red Players” is Steel Magnolias. This popular southern production is scheduled for Friday Oct. 23 in the historic Logan County Courthouse. On Friday Oct. 23 dinner will be served at 5:30 p.m. with the play at 7 p.m. There will also be a showing on Sunday, Oct. 25 with lunch at 12:30 p.m. and the play at 2 p.m.

Steel Magnolias is a 1989 American comedy-drama directed by Herbert Ross. It is the film adaptation of Robert Harling’s 1987 play of the same name. The play and film are about the bond a group of different women share in a small-town southern community, and how they cope with the death of one of their own.

Gooch will be directing this play.

The “Lady in Red Players” will have four shows a year, one each quarter. Out of those four, three will have an all women cast.

“There are never enough plays for women,” said Gooch.

The cast has already been set for Steel Magnolias, said Gooch. Those actors are:

M’Lynn Eatenton will be played by Melanie Manley

Shelby Eatenton will be played by Lydia Manley

Truvy Jones will be played by Vickie Laster Costello

Annelle Dupuy Desoto will be played by Amanda Siedler Wilson

Clairee Belcher will be played by Donna Wilkerson

Quiser Boudreaux will be played by Donna Kissellbaugh Stuart

Gooch said she has already planned the next few plays.

In February she will cast for “Queen of Bingo”

In April she will cast for “As It Is In Heaven” about the Shakers.

Next year she will cast the female rendition of the “Odd Couple”

And then bring in “12 Angry Women,” an all female cast telling the story of a jury made up of 12 women as they deliberate the guilt or acquittal of a defendant on the basis of reasonable doubt.

Tickets for the dinner theater for reserved seating are $20 per person. If you chose not to eat, tickets are $8 each.

By Chris Cooper

To contact Chris Cooper, email or call 270-726-8394.

To contact Chris Cooper, email or call 270-726-8394.

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