The Off-Broadway hit, 'Love, Loss and What I Wore,' premieres regionally at the Backstage Theatre in Breckenridge tonight and runs through Feb. 2.
The romantic comedy, which won a Drama Desk award, is based on the 1995 book of the same name by Illene Beckerman, adapted by the late writer/director Nora Ephron (of "When Harry Met Sally" and "Sleepless in Seattle") and her sister Delia.
The story consists of a series of monologues and vignettes of important moments in the lives of various women, from a female gang member to a cancer patient, as they discuss their loves, losses and what they happened to be wearing at the time. Ephron added anecdotes from friends and material from her own 2006 book, "I Feel Bad About My Neck," into the adaptation.
"It reminds me of A.R. Gurney," said longtime local and Colorado Mountain College professor of English and communication, Joyce Mosher, who makes up part of the cast. "There are four mother-and-daughter pairs and it is built around memories of what clothing was being worn in different stages of these females' lives," she said.
The rotating cast of five includes 19 local actresses and a guest actress from Denver, Backstage artistic director Christopher Willard said. The cast changes every week, with Judy Phelan-Hill, Lenore Giardina, Megan Meek Ramig, Genevieve Price and Ashley Prill starring on opening weekend.
"I love the various messages in the play," said Willard, who directs the production, which he described as "very funny," "surprisingly moving" and "truthful."
"I also love the simplicity, class and theatricality of the show," he said. "Five women, five chairs, a few projections - it doesn't get more economical than that. Yet, so much emotion, humor and love run through this piece."
The Backstage received several donated clothing items that will be part of the backdrop. For example, there is an item one of the actresses wore when attending yoga class during chemotherapy, Willard said.
"Chris Willard is rounding up some people who've been involved in theater for many years and putting on this charming show," said Mosher, who has been with the Backstage - which will celebrate its 40th anniversary in September - for 37 years. "I'm very proud of the theater. It's not easy to be a community theater for that many years. We are Colorado's longest-lived theater year-round except for Germinal theater in Denver."
Audiences should note that the performance contains mature situations and adult language. Mixed drinks, including a specialty Pink Cosmopolitan created for the run of "Love, Loss and What I Wore," will be available at the Backstage bar.
NOTE: This article has been updated. The original stated that the actresses would be wearing the donated articles of clothing. In fact, the clothing makes up the backdrop and the actresses wear black in the production. -etm