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New Dawn presents comedy 'Seeing Stars in Dixie'

Staff Photo: John Bohn Sharon Cagle, paying the part of Clemmie, serves tea to Chuck Mason, in the part of Glease during the first act of "Seeing Stars in Dixie" performed on stage Thursday at New Dawn Theater in Duluth.

Staff Photo: John Bohn Sharon Cagle, paying the part of Clemmie, serves tea to Chuck Mason, in the part of Glease during the first act of "Seeing Stars in Dixie" performed on stage Thursday at New Dawn Theater in Duluth.

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Staff Photo: John Bohn Michelle Saarela, playing the part of Marjorie, left, performs with Sharon Cagle in the role of Clemmie in a production of "Seeing Stars in Dixie" performed on stage Thursday at New Dawn Theater in Duluth.

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Staff Photo: John Bohn Actress Sharon Cagle plays the role of Clemmie, the owner of a tea room, during the first act of a production of "Seeing Stars in Dixie" performed on stage Thursday at New Dawn Theater in Duluth.

DULUTH -- New Dawn Theater presents a Southern comedy, "Seeing Stars in Dixie" until the end of August directed by the theater's owner, Sherry Ingbritsen.

"In the South, Southern comedies really pull, so we decided to look at it," Ingbritsen said. "When I looked at the script, I realized it was really funny."

The story takes place in the spring of 1956 in Natchez, Miss. where nothing ever happens, except for the change of the seasons and the beauty parlor gossip.

The word around the town is the famous stars Elizabeth Taylor, Montgomery Clift and Eva Marie Saint are in the city to film the movie "Raintree County" and they want a resident to act out a small part in a scene with Taylor.

The competition is down to two women: shy, underdog Clemmie who owns a local tea shop (Sharon Cagle) and loud-mouthed Marjorie (Michelle Saarela), the town's socialite. After a couple weeks of squabbling and practicing the one-line role, the ladies have an explosive confrontation. Clemmie comes out a winner because she is a changed woman.

"I liked the story -- a nobody making something of themselves," Karl Hefner of Mt. Airy said. "I'm at a loss for words for once."

The audience enjoyed the show, but the small, close-knit cast is very excited about it for many different reasons.

Sharon Cagle who plays Clemmie was attracted to her character.

"I really thought she (Clemmie) was a sweet character -- I like the whole Cinderella theme," Cagle said. "She goes from being a wallflower to coming out of her shell."

Chuck Mason, who plays the misunderstood Glease, has other reasons for performing.

"I enjoy this so very much because the cast is absolutely fantastic and the women are great," Mason said.

Kari Hefner, who plays the ditsy, Beauty Queen Jo Beth, performs for the love of the theater.

"It is challenging to pull the different emotions for my character, but this is my passion in life," Hefner said. "I do what I have to to make it work."

The cast will be performing "Seeing Stars in Dixie" until the end of the month.