'Country Gravy' served at Temple — with a side of silliness

Aug. 14, 2014 @ 03:48 PM

The Temple Theatre in downtown Sanford is offering a blend of music, food, comedy and relationship advice with "Country Gravy and Other Obsessions," which will premiere at 8 p.m. Friday and run through Aug. 24.

"This is different than most of what we do," said Chris deLambert, Temple Theatre's director of marketing and business development. "We don't usually bring entire casts and crews here."

The three-person cast of "Country Gravy" flew in from Houston after performing the show there for five years. The two-week run in Sanford will precede a national tour of the relationship seminar hosted by Julia Laskowski, who plays Mavis Applebee, and Patti Rabaza as Myrtle McGillicurdle.

"It's just a friendly, wonderful place to develop the show," Laskowski said of Sanford. "The [Temple Theatre] itself is the most lovely, charming place."

Daryl Banner will join Laskowski and Rabaza, the writers of the show, onstage to provide music as Schworken Kabierbenbarben, a piano player from "somewhere overseas."

Banner said "Country Gravy" was meant to be lighthearted and fun, and that he could not think of a single rehearsal that didn't have all three actors bursting out in laughter.

"We want the audience in on the silliness of our show," Banner said. "It's a party we're inviting everybody to. And there's so much passion in it."

DeLambert said "Country Gravy" presents more than a hilarious take on life and love, and that it is a great opportunity for Temple to expand the types of performances it offers.

"In this particular instance," deLambert said, "the success of the show here goes a long way in determining whether we get more opportunities like this. I think it's going to go very well. It's a very, very funny show. ... Ticket sales have really hiked up in the last few days."

According to Rabaza, "Country Gravy" features everything from country to rap to opera music, and that one of the highlights of the show was a question and answer session with the audience.

"We invite them to tell us their terrible relationship problems," Rabaza said. "Myrtle believes the best way to have a healthy relationship is to learn how to control the other person."

Laskowski called the creation of "Country Gravy" a series of happy accidents. The characters of Myrtle and Mavis were part of two different shows, and when they came together, it just felt right.

"I had thrown together some songs [for another show]," Laskowski said. "Patti saw the show and said, 'This is it.' [Myrtle and Mavis] really gelled."

Laskowski's and Rabaza's characters also star in two other shows they wrote — "Husband Fixin' 101," and "Home for the Dysfunctional Family Holidays."

"Country Gravy" will run on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and on Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are available at the Temple Theatre Box Office or online at templeshows.com for $23.



WHAT: "Country Gravy and Other Obsessions"

WHERE: Temple Theatre in downtown Sanford


Friday at 8 p.m.

Saturday at 8 p.m.

Sunday at 2 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 22 at 8 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 23 at 8 p.m.

Sunday, Aug. 24 at 2 p.m.

COST: Tickets can be purchased for $23 at the Temple Theatre Box Office or online at templeshows.com.