Anna Maria theater stages prison comedy

Four pink-collar criminals enjoy prison life in Island Players' 'Delval Divas'

January 23, 2014 

From left, Diane Phinney as Rosemary, Sylvia Marnie as Stella, Robin Rhodes as Linda in "Delval Divas." PUBLICITY PHOTO

Barbara Pease Weber isn't a widely know playwright or even a prolific one. She doesn't even have a Wikipedia entry.

But she's well-known in the local and regional theater world, thanks to her handful of frothy and inventive comedies that focus on middle-aged women. They have such titles as "Hogwash!," "A Crock of Schnitzel" and "Four Weddings and an Elvis."

Perhaps her most popular comedy is "Delval Divas." It's next up from Island Players.

The plot revolves around a group of well-heeled and well-educated women -- they all have graduate degrees, and one's a Ph.D. -- who have been imprisoned for some fairly genteel "pink-collar" crimes. They're serving their sentences in the relatively comfortable environs of a low-security Delaware prison.

The characters are essentially con women, and they've used their criminal expertise to make the posh Delval prison even more posh.

But into their idyllic prison life comes a convict who threatens to make their environment quite a bit more unpleasant: a murderer who's sent to their facility. They also get the news that their prison will soon be closed and they'll all be transferred to a place less like a country club and more like Shawshank.

The cast for the Island Players production includes Sylvia Marnie, Diane Phinney, Robin Rhodes, Melissa Anderson, Laura Morales and Chrissy Abdala. The director is Heiko Knipfelberg.

Details: Jan. 23-Feb. 9, Island Players, 10009 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria. Show times: 8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $20. Information: 941-778-5755,

-- Marty Clear

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