Longtime Directing Duo to Deliver “Us From Mama!”

By  | August 13, 2022 | Filed under: News

Laura Connolly and Andrew Maples

SHEFFIELD-The Ritz Theatre’s 2022/2023 season continues with the high-octane comedy Deliver Us From Mama! Performances are on Aug. 25, 26, and 27 at 7:30 p.m. and on Aug. 28 at 2 p.m.  The play is directed by Laura Connolly and Andrew Maples, who have been directing plays for The Ritz together for 15 years.

Tickets are $15 and are available online at tennesseevalleyarts.org and at the door.

Deliver Us From Mama!–a comedy written by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, and Jamie Wooten–follows a madcap cross-country trip. Walker Sprunt is in Los Angeles when his wife goes into labor with their first child in Alabama. An airline strike means that he has to make the trip by car, with his meddling mother and bossy big sister along for the ride.

The play features 10 actors playing a total of 22 eccentric characters, as one thing after another goes wrong for the family.

“Audiences will enjoy the characters and the trip we take from California to

Birmingham, Alabama, and the chaos that ensues,” says co-director Laura Connolly.

She and Andrew Maples began their career as a directing team in 2007, when they directed Kitchen Witches at The Ritz. The pairing worked so well that they’ve continued as a team ever since. Deliver Us From Mama! is the 28th play they’ve directed together.

“We each have our aspects of directing that we handle for the team, but we are always talking and checking in with the other,” said Maples. “This partnership works because we communicate. Together, we can bring the best out of the actors and help the actors bring the characters to life.”

That skill is particularly important for this play, where the laughs are deeply rooted in the relatable, if exaggerated, characters.

“The audience will recognize themselves in the characters,” said Maples. “From the daughter who is tired of her Mom’s meddling, to the brother who is starting a family but missing the connection to where he grew up. And who doesn’t have a crazy Aunt or Uncle to add a little fun to life?”

In addition to tickets for this play, The Ritz is also offering a $55 season ticket for the remaining five plays in this season. Three of those plays are directed by Connolly and Maples. In addition to Deliver, they are also directing Sanders Family Christmas this November and Stuart Little in March of next year.

Deliver Us From Mama! Cast:

Savannah – Tori Helms

Norleen – Gail Brooks Allen

Walker – Tyler Hudson

Hayley – Katie Flannagan Dalrymple

Tamarind, Rema Jean, Marique – Shannon Christenson Milliman

Judge Hubbard, Ardale, Winkie – Connie Clayton

Fleeta, Nurse Kelly, Ariana, SueBrenda – Leslie Sawyer

Rudy Earl, Cousin Chicken, John Curtis, Mr. Toliver – William Freeman

Andre, Leon, Uncle Ferd, Reece, Loenard – Trevor Cartony

Denton Crocker, Orlan, Duval – Mark Newton

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