By Dee Jae Cox
A southern twang almost always makes something sound funnier. Southern euphemisms and expressions can make you laugh out loud at the image of a one legged man in an ass kicking contest. And while I don’t find humor in women (or men) referring to other women by sexist and derogatory names regardless of how many men she cheats with, there is something pretty funny about two friends who have been done wrong by their men and are now taking back their power southern style.
Roger Bean, is the writer and director of Coyote Stageworks current production, “Honkytonk Laundry,” on stage at the Annenberg Theatre in Palm Springs. Bean, also the author of the hit show, “The Marvelous Wonderettes,” is very talented at weaving hit songs into his books. His current rendering of a boot scootin’ musical, while not a serious or thought provoking show, is filled with enough hit country songs to fill your night with lots of laughs and down home fun.
Lana Mae Hopkins, (Bets Malone,) owns the ‘Wishy Washy Washateria,’ a retro fluff and fold laundry that was originally founded by her grandmother and not much has been updated since. Just as she’s bemoaning her lot and longing for a vacation from her life, in walks Katie Lane Murphy, (Misty Cotton,) who is in the midst of her own life crisis with a cheatin’ boyfriend. Lana Mae hires Katie Lane, for some desperately needed assistance and along the way the two become good friends. They decide to fulfill Lana Mae’s dream of being a country singer and turn the Wishy Washy into a Hony Tonk Laundromat and stage show.
Malone and Cotton are very talented performers and belt out familiar songs with such force that you could almost imagine yourself at a real live concert of country greats such as Reba McEntire, Carrie Underwood, Dixie Chicks, Dolly Parton, and many others,. These two share wonderful stage chemistry, perfect comedic timing and have professional voices that could rival many of the singers they are emulating. I will admit that I enjoyed the second act more than the first when Lana Mae and Katie Lane let loose in grand ole opry style.
Honky Tonk Laundry, is a fun and entertaining night out. Good music and good laughs are always a great combination. The production values are definitely worth noting. Tom Buderwitz’s set design was creative and set the tone for this night of laughs. Renetta Lloyd’s costumes were perfect and pretty as a picture and Moira Wilkie’s lighting design created the ideal mood for this down home Laundromat turned honky tonk.
Honky Tonk Laundry can be seen through February 10, 2018 at The Annenberg Theatre, located at 101 Museum Dr, Palm Springs.
Dee Jae Cox is a playwright, director and producer. She is the Cofounder and Artistic Director of The Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Project.