First Baptist of Ivy Gap

by  Ron Osborne

Full Length Play, Dramatic Comedy  /  6f

"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

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First Baptist of Ivy Gap

by  Ron Osborne

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

  • Duration


    120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre


  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Appropriate for all audiences

Additional Info

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).

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"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." -

"A beautiful Southern comedy that will keep you in stitches beginning to end." - Elizabethton Star


Performing Groups

  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Dinner Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Senior Theatre
  • Church / Religious Groups
  • Reader's Theatre
  • Outdoor
  • Large Stage
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups


  • Caution Mild Adult Mild Adult Themes

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $90 per performance



  • Time Period: 1970s, 1940s / WWII
  • Duration: 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Setting: Most of the action takes place in the fellowship hall of the First Baptist Church of Ivy Gap, a fictional town in east Tennessee. A short scene occurs on the porch of LUBY'S home (the set for this scene is more evocative than actual).

    The hall features

  • Additional Features: Play w/ Music


  • Vocal Demands: Easy



LUBY - A widowed member of the church who fears for the welfare of her son in the military (age 47 in Act I; 72 in Act II).
OLENE - A member of the church with a dream (25, Act I; 50, Act II).
MAE ELLEN - The church's rebellious organist (25, Act I;50 Act II).
EDITH - The pastor's take-charge wife (40, Act I; 65, Act II).
SAMMY - A non-member of the church with a secret (19, Act I; 44, Act II).
VERA - A prominent member of the church with a secret (40, Act I; 65, Act II).

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Cast Attributes

  • All Female
  • Ensemble cast
  • Flexible casting
  • Multicultural casting
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)
  • Parts for Senior Actors

Casting Notes

This play offers a terrific showcase for an all-female cast. Of particular interest is the fact that strong roles are available for actors of varying ages (and backgrounds) and that the second act takes place 25 years after the close of Act I, thereby giving each actress the opportunity to play a character at two very different stages in life.



Ron Osborne

Ron Osborne's plays - including the six full-length plays published by Samuel French - have been produced by hundreds of theatres throughout the U.S. and Canada as well as recognized in more than 90 national playwriting competitions. A number of monoloques from his plays appear in books published by French (Exceptional ...

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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.

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