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Updated: 01/04/2018 08:30:00AM

‘Dixie Swim Club’ to open HLT season

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Playbill for "Dixie Swim Club."


Denise Miriani, who plays Jeri, during rehersal.


From left; Tracy Schuknecht (Vernadette), Dawn Smith (Sheree) and Denise Miriani (Jeri).


Outer Bank’s lodge set.


Outer Bank’s lodge set.


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Highlands Little Theatre opens 2018 with “The Dixie Swim Club,” performed on the main stage at the Lakeside Playhouse. This is a delightful story of five Southern women, whose lasting friendship began many years ago when they were on their college swim team.

These very different women form a bond that time and circumstances cannot break. Every year they make the trip to a retreat at North Carolina’s Outer Banks to relive those old times, catch up on their lives and create new memories to cherish.

Cast members include Denise Miriani (Jeri), Tracy Schuknecht (Vernadette), Dawn Smith (Sheree), Marcia Ward (Dinah) and Margaret Macbeth (Lexie). Suzanne Schilffarth is the director and Steve Lundey is the stage manager.

Ward is a 25-year veteran at HLT and is best known for her portrayal of the Wicked Witch of the West. Macbeth has been in several recent productions at HLT including “Second Samuel” and “Hairspray.” Schuknecht is a veteran actor and director at HLT and was most recently the lead in “Hairspray.”

Miriani is thrilled to return to the stage after a six-year hiatus. She has also been a director and worked in costume design. Smith has been seen on stage as Annie in “Annie Get Your Gun” and as Mrs. Anna in “The King and I.”

These five women make up the memorable cast. Sheree is the spunky team captain who desperately tries to maintain her self-proclaimed perfect life. Dinah is a dynamic overachiever in the court room, while her personal life leaves her frustrated and feeling empty. Lexie enjoys variety in her men and marries often. She is desperately trying to hold on to her looks and youth forever. Vernadette feels like a dark cloud is always hovering over her, but embraces the chaos that is her life. Jeri surprises her friends by making a rather late entry into motherhood and questions the timing in her life.

They’ve relied on each other through the years to get through the many challenges of life. Fate intercedes and throws a wrench into one of their lives, but this family of women show their teamwork, determination and strength to take the situation in a new and unexpected direction.

Suzanne Schilffarth is the director. She is also an actor and played the part of Ouiser in “Steel Magnolias.” She enjoys experiencing the different roles that can be played as part of being onstage at HLT. Lundey has been seen on stage and working behind the scenes.

Don’t miss the “Dixie Swim Club,” a hilarious and touching comedy about friendships that endure and last forever. The 2017-2018 Blackman Stage Series Season sponsor is Dental Care of Mid Florida.

The performance runs from Jan. 12 to Jan. 28. Show times are 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Sunday shows are at 2:30 p.m.

To purchase tickets you can go online at or call the box office at 863-385-2525.

Remember — “When push comes to shove — you can always rely on your friends!”