While Music City USA may have seemed an ideal location to stage Cowgirls long before now, the country musical comedy finally makes its Nashville premiere May 3-21 (officially opening May 4) with Tennessee Repertory Theatre. The show's songwriter Mary Murfitt (Mary Lou) stars alongside original Off-Broadway cast members Rhonda Coullet (Jo Carlson), Mary Ehlinger (Rita) and Julie Rowe (Mickey).
Written by Betsy Howie (Yours, Truly and The Bridal Fit) with music and lyrics by Murfitt (Oil City Symphony), Cowgirls is really about the Coghill Trio, who are mistakenly booked to perform at country-western bar Hiram Hall's grand re-opening when their name is read as the Cowgirls Trio. Unfortunately for the Hall, the Coghill ladies are a classical music group, but they learn quickly how to bridge the musical gap between country and classical.
Cowgirls played Off-Broadway in 1994, running for 319 performances and 16 previews at the Minetta Lane Theatre.
Murfitt was a Drama League honoree, earning an Outer Critics Circle nomination for Best Off-Broadway Musical for Cowgirls. She and the other Off-Broadway cast members have appeared in Cowgirls across the country, including at The Old Globe Theatre, The Berkshire Theatre Festival and The Florida Studio Theatre.
Also in the Tennessee Rep cast are Kristi Wedemeyer (Lee) and Beth Musiker (Mo). David Grapes directs. Tickets are $38-$15. Tennessee Repertory Theatre performs in the Tennessee Performing Arts Center's Polk Theatre. For reservations, call (615) 255-ARTS.
-- By Christine Ehren