A comedy about four “mature” women breaking out of the old folks home on July 4th sounds too good to miss. “Independence Day at Happy Meadows” was written by local playwright Laura King. Although the subject matter is funny, the play has a further purpose. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

This “romping comedy” will run for four shows from Feb. 12 through the 15 at Lionheart Theatre Company in Norcross. The Thursday, Friday and Saturday shows begin at 7:30 p.m., and the Sunday show is at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for students and seniors. Dessert is included! Tickets are available through www.lionhearttheatre.org or by calling 678-938-8518.

The play is being directed by Judith Beasley and Co-Produced by Linda Place. Beasley knew right away that she wanted to direct this play.

“When I first read the script during its development process, I was struck by the theme and by the quirky characters. I am the age of the main characters in the play and love seeing women my age show their spunk. And, always, a story of feminine friendship speaks to my heart,” Beasley said.

The idea of having a primarily female cast was also important.

“Friendship among women is precious, mysterious, truthful, and cannot be understood unless it’s been experienced. When it’s real, it is totally accepting, warts and all, and it brings out the best in everyone involved,” Beasley said.

Beasley has recently directed a short play by local writer Karla Jennings and acted in a short play by local writer Matt Lupo in Onstage Atlanta’s “Merry Little Holiday Shorts.” She is also presently in rehearsals for “Steel Magnolias” to be performed at The Art Place in Marietta in March. Working with local writers and composers is important to her.

“It is very important to me to support local artists and to promote the production of original works. Why? I can’t adequately say. It’s like trying to explain why I want to breathe or why I like pumpkin pie,” Beasley said.

This is the second time that Beasley has directed a play as a benefit for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, thanks to co-producer Linda Place.

Place was introduced to the charity through her daughter who worked for a division of the non-profit. Place is now active in training for strenuous athletic events held to raise awareness and funding for LLS as well as co-producing the play, which she loves.

“I like the laughter it generates and the heartwarming friendships, but mostly the laughter. I love a good comedy and to know it was written by a local playwright is even better. There is so much talent here in Atlanta, and I feel blessed to sponsor this fundraiser while spotlighting just one of our many talented playwrights,” Place said.

Lionheart Theatre is located at 10 College Street in Old Town Norcross next to Lillian Webb Park.

Holley Calmes is a freelance writer and public relations consultant specializing in the arts. Email her at hcalmes@mindspring.com

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