Three of the performers, from left, Wendy Jelinek, Robin McGilvrey and Vicki Richards, strike a pose during a recent rehearsal of “Angry Housewives” at Gig Harbor’s Paradise Theatre. Actress Stacee Villa, the fourth housewife is not pictured. Photo by Scott Turner, KP News

When Paradise Theatre’s production of “Angry Housewives” premiers March 7, the Key Peninsula will be well-represented.

Lake Minterwood resident Robyn McGilvrey, 32, will play the role of Wendy, one of four housewives who form a punk rock band to raise money for a friend who’s hit hard times.

“Wendy is the one who gets the crazy idea to start a band to help one of the other housewives whose husband has died and she’s losing her house,” McGilvrey said before a recent rehearsal.

The women name their band “Angry Housewives.”

Wendy is the drummer for the band, which meant that McGilvrey had to learn to play the drums.

Luckily, McGilvrey’s husband is a drummer, “… so he’s teaching me how to play. He’s being really nice. He should be a teacher,” she said with a laugh. “It’s sort of bringing the whole family into the act.”

The play, which debuted in Seattle in the ‘80s and ran for six years, is a first show for Paradise Theatre, according to Director Sharon Gregory.

“It’s an extremely popular play. It has sort of a cult following. People look it up on the Internet to see where it’s playing so they won’t miss a show.

“People who haven’t seen the show often think it’s about man-bashing or women who are on a rampage,” Gregory added.

But it’s not that at all.

“It’s about four women who are way out of their element, forming a band that they call ‘Angry Housewives.’ You learn a little bit about each of them and how they get the courage to step outside their comfort zones to help their friend,” Gregory said.

It’s a fun show, McGilvrey said, although the language is sometimes a little racy. “It’s kind of snappy, cheesy fun from the ‘80s.”

It’s more than just a little bit funny, Gregory added. “It’s roll-out-of-your-seat funny. It’s extreme comedy.”

The cast, she said, is fabulous, too.

“They all bring their own ideas to the show. It’s teamwork from the bottom up. The audience will be wowed. I’m sure it will be sold out,” she said.

That will make Jeff and Vicki Richards very happy.

The husband and wife team founded Paradise Theatre 14 years ago and now serve as the theater’s artistic directors. They lived on the Key Peninsula for more than a decade before moving into Gig Harbor.

“I’m hoping there are a lot of ‘Angry Housewives’ groupies around who’ll come to our show,” Jeff Richards said.

Paradise Theatre produces seven shows each year –– four musicals and three “straight shows,” he said.

The theater also offers singing, dancing and acting classes for kids and adults, plus a two-week intensive summer workshop for youngsters “that has been going on for 19 years,” he said.

“We’ve watched kids come in when they were 5 years old and stay with us until they’re 18. And then they show up in our productions,” Richards said.

The theater provides a creative outlet for people throughout the Gig Harbor/Kitsap Peninsula area.

One former performer, Marianne McColley, is a long-time KP resident. She’s now on the theater’s board of directors.

And McColley’s granddaughter grew up taking Paradise’s classes. “She’s now 23 or 24 years old and she started with us when she was just 6,” Richards said.

For McGilvrey ––Wendy in the play –– the local theater is sort of a dream come true. “I dreamed of being an actress, but life led me down a different road –– being a mom,” she said.

“But you just drive 15 minutes across the spit to the theater, and you can have that shining star moment in your lives whether you’re a kid or an adult,” she said.

 

WANT TO GO?

Paradise Theatre’s production of “Angry Housewives” runs March 7-23. Opening night includes a wine and cheese reception before the show. The March 23 production is a dinner theater. Paradise theatre is located at 9911 Burnham Drive. For information visit paradisetheatre.org.

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