During WWII, six women gather at the church to roll bandages and plan the church's 75th anniversary. Overseeing things is Edith, the pastor's wise-cracking wife who dispenses Red Cross smocks and witty repartee to Luby, whose son is fighting in the Pacific; Mae Ellen, the church's rebellious organist who wants to quit but hasn't the courage; Olene, who dreams of a career in Hollywood; Sammy, a shy newcomer with a secret; and Vera, an influential Baptist with a secret of her own. When Luby learns her son has been wounded, she confounds the others by blaming the vulnerable Sammy.
Twenty-five years later, our "First Baptist Six" reunite. Back to reconcile with Luby - whose son died of his wounds - is Sammy, whose own son is now in Vietnam; and Olene, whose flashy show business career will set the town on its ear. There to welcome them are Vera, her secret still safe; Mae Ellen, still rebellious and still looking for an escape; and Edith, whose biggest challenge isn't the church's upcoming centennial but revelations that shake relationships formed over a quarter of a century. With humor and pathos, these six very different women find comfort, forgiveness and redemption in each other.
The playfeatures music, in the form of hymns (played on an organ or piano) as well as other hymns and traditional music song by cast members (used to advance the story, develop character and entertain).
"A wonderful new play from the pen of Ron Osborne...a warm and respectable story about six strong and resourceful characters...very, very funny, all the more because it relies on deep human emotions to bring forth the humor...will be compared to Steel Magnolias, but forget steel; these mountain magnolias are pure gold...humor, drama, warmth and six of the most wonderful characters you'll see - tasty comfort for the playgoer's soul."- Bristol Herald-Courier
"First Baptist of Ivy Gap has drama, tragedy, love, loss and redemption with plenty of comedy too." - WhatsHappeningDayton.com
"A beautiful Southern comedy that will keep you in stitches beginning to end." - Elizabethton Star
FIRST BAPTIST OF IVY GAP
premiered at Barter Theatre, the LORT-member State Theatre of Virginia. The play's 40-plus performance run on the theatre's 505-seat main stage was among the most successful in the theatre's 80-year history.