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The Villages
Thursday, September 21, 2023

Villagers ready to bare skin to support good cause in ‘Calendar Girls’

The production of “Calendar Girls,” at Savannah Center on June 20-21, offers a first for a local theater group – “partial nudity.”
It’s not a skin show. Rather, The Players Theatre of Southern Oaks will break some local stage conventions for a good cause.
The play, the actors and the event is all about women fighting cancer.

“This charming, funny and ribald tale tells the story of the enduring power of sisterhood, friendship and lived relationships,” director Dave Saxe said in a press statement.

The Calendar Girls will bare it all to fight cancer in a play at Savannah Center June 20 and 21
The “Calendar Girls” will bare it all to fight cancer in a play at Savannah Center June 20 and 21.

“Calendar Girls,” is a play by Tim Firth. It is based on a true story in England where middle-aged women shed their clothes and banded together to pose “nude” for a calendar. The reason was to raise money for a local cancer hospital.

That act brought worldwide media attention and crowds to a little village in Yorkshire. Actress Helen Mirren turned “Calendar Girls” into a hit movie back in 2003.

“It’s a story of ambition unrealized, the inevitably of loss and the possibility of growing better as we age,” Saxe said.

That’s the challenge for the local cast which includes: Dellie Saxe, Beth Ely, Vanessa Osborn, Linda Payne, Michele Bress and Cyndi Slussar.

Dave Saxe wants people to “celebrate, to laugh, and yes, to cry enjoying this wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime special presentation of ‘Calendar Girls.’”

But the story goes beyond the Savannah Center stage.
“With life imitating arts, and art imitating life – as cancer touches so many lives – even more in The Villages…we have taken this beautiful story to heart, and to the next step.”
So, before you could say Hugh Hefner, The Players Theater of Southern Oaks decided to produce its own calendar to support cancer research.
“Our brave ladies took the ultimate step to drop their robes…” Saxe said. “And it is indeed spectacular.”
The calendar – photographed by professional photographer Valerie Begley — will be for sale soon, Saxe added. It will feature 17 women from The Villages who decided to ditch their wraps for a good cause.
They are:

Miss January…Michele Bress

Miss February… Beth Ely

Miss March…Carol Wiltman

Miss April… Sara Kallioinen

Miss May… Donna Evans

Miss June(s)… Sue Prince/Susan Mielnik

Miss July… Cyndi Slussar

Miss August(s)…Sherry Ruschell/Susie Bradley

Miss September… Linda Payne

Miss October… Dellie Saxe

Miss November… Vanessa Osborne

Miss December(s)…All the above plus
Carol Putrelo and Joyce Schenk
Darlene Lansing and Jan Beddi

Tony Violanti covers arts and music for Villages-News.com. He was inducted into the Buffalo NY Music Hall of Fame as a music journalist.

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