The Last Night of Ballyhoo at Shawnee Theatre

It's the relationship between a southern girl and the Yankee that her father has hired that drives the play.

Actor Lisa Ermel still has a semester to go for her BA in psychology from Anderson University, but she’s already had two summers of professional work in quite another area with the Shawnee Theatre of Greene County.

Her special warm memory from the summer of 08 was of a comic strip tease that started with snow mobile gear in a vignette from the play Almost, Maine. This summer Ermel has played Holly in the musical version of The Wedding Singer, Stella in Street Car Named Desire, Maggie in Lend Me a Tenor and now Sonny Freitag in Alfred Uhry’s The Last Night of Ballyhoo.

“Lisa, it’s been quite a summer of romance for you,” said WFIU’s George Walker. “Yes, indeed. Matt Grabber has given me some terrific roles. Just the thought of getting to play Stella in Streetcar… is amazing by itself. And the other roles have all given me a chance to stretch and to grow as an actor.

“Sonny Freitag is the golden child of the family that’s at the center of the play. It’s her return from college and the growing relationship of this southern girl with the Yankee that has come to work for her father that drive the play. The two have some common background, but it’s the differences that build the tension and the drama. Come to think of of it, actually Sonny and I are just a semester apart in age. It’s kind of fun to play someone my own age.”

The Last Night of Ballyhoo is the final production of the 09 season for the Shawnee Theatre. Lisa actually has another play to do in August. It’s a piece for the Fringe Festival in Indianapolis that’s actually written by Ronnie Johnstone, another Shawnee Alum. Following that, it’s back to college to finish up her psychology major and then she’ll be testing the theatrical waters in Indianapolis and perhaps Chicago.

George Walker

After completing an M.A.T. degree in English at Indiana University, George Walker began announcing for WFIU in 1967. Along with regularly hosting classical music shows, he interviews artists and reviews plays and operas.

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