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News: Roane State Playmakers to perform Crimes of the Heart April 21-22

News: Roane State Playmakers to perform Crimes of the Heart April 21-22

From left, Roane State students Shelby Stout, Courtney Briley, and Karmen Miller will perform in Crimes of the Heart.

By Bob Fowler
Roane State staff writer

The Roane State Playmakers will be presenting a Pulitzer prize-winning play Crimes of the Heart by Beth Henley, this month at the O’Brien Theatre on Roane State’s Roane County campus.

Director Jon Chemay called the play a “Southern Gothic Drama” in the vein of Tennessee Williams or Harper Lee. He said, “There are some heavy elements to this play, but they are presented with a sense of humor distinct to the southern family.”

The play takes place in the small town of Hazlehurst, Mississippi, where the three Magrath sisters await news about their grandfather, living out his final hours in the local hospital. One sister, unmarried at 30, faces diminishing martial prospects, another has returned home after a failed singing career, and the third sibling is out on bail after shooting her husband in the stomach.

Their troubles, grave and yet, somehow, hilarious, are highlighted by their priggish cousin, by one sister’s old flame, and by the awkward young lawyer who tries to keep the youngest sister out of jail while helpless not to fall in love with her.

“The play examines life problems, some common, some unique, viewed through the lens of family. Jealousy, resentment, and of course, love prove essential if not to solving these problems, at least learning how to deal with them,” Chemay said.

Cast members are Courtney Briley, Shelby Stout, Karmen Miller, Morgan Henry, Seth Young, Ryan Carver and Christopher Allen. Stout, Miller, Allen and Briley performed in the Playmakers’ autumn performance of The Odd Couple, Female Version.

For Chemay, it’s the fifth time he’s directed for the Roane State Playmakers. He said many of the theatre students were interested in performing a drama, and Crimes of the Heart fit the needs of the current student actors and came highly recommended by the Roane State English Department.


Performances of Crimes of the Heart are Saturday, April 21, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.; and Sunday, April 22 at 2 p.m.

There will be a special performance featuring ASL interpretation on Saturday, April 21 at 2 p.m.

Tickets and info

Tickets are $5 for students, seniors and Roane State staff members and $10 for general admission. For more information, contact Chemay at (865) 882-4653 or

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