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'Sunbonnets and Straw Hats' premieres Friday

Cast members rehearsing a scene in "Sunbonnet and Strawhat" are Ronnie Pepper, on platform, and, from left, Mary Louise Barber, Carolyn Justus, Jay Mullinax, Rosie O'Brien, Jim Toms and Sandee Carpenter. Cast members rehearsing a scene in "Sunbonnet and Strawhat" are Ronnie Pepper, on platform, and, from left, Mary Louise Barber, Carolyn Justus, Jay Mullinax, Rosie O'Brien, Jim Toms and Sandee Carpenter.

Tom Orr was being Tom Orr, which meant channeling his days as the Hendersonville High School drama teacher directing the senior play, which meant pulling his hair out.


"We've had a lot of interruptions," Orr said Monday night before a rehearsal for "Sunbonnet and Straw Hat," the new play TomOrrPamelaWarrTom Orr coaches cast as Pamela Warr looks on.about local history. "Robroy Farquhar taught me a long time ago the show goes on. You don't sit around and talk about the negative ... We just got in here Saturday so we haven't had much time to turn it around."
"Here" was the courtroom of the Historic Courthouse, where the actors and singers will stage the show, a tribute to the renowned poet and author Robert Morgan, a Green River native.
Reminded that he is no rookie at staging a play with amateur actors who must be whipped into shape, Orr concedes that that's true.
"Let me put it this way," he said. "Pat Shepherd reminded me yesterday that this is the 25th production we've put together. The wonderful thing about it is when you've worked with somebody for a long time there's no ego. I step on her and she steps on me."
Orr compiled and wrote the play, assisted by Jeanne Gooch and Pam Alexander Warr.
The cast is made up of natives whose roots extend to pioneers of the area and newcomers who have fallen in love with their adopted hometown.
"There are just so many good people in this cast, I hope this will be a successful play for them," Orr said.
The play premieres at 7 p.m. Friday in the courtroom of the Historic Courthouse, and will be performed at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Proceeds benefit the Henderson County Heritage Museum and the Henderson County Education History Initiative.
Tickets are available at the Heritage Museum Gift Shop at the Historic Courthouse and at the Henderson County Visitors Center, 201 S. Main St. Tickets for the opening performance, which includes a catered reception in honor of Robert Morgan, are $50; all other performances are $20. For more information, call the museum at 828-694-1619 or visit http://www.hendersoncountymuseum.com.