Sisters for life

Lizzy Allen as Meg Magrath, Lily Capote as Babe Botrelle and Kiersten Nicole Farley as Lenny Magrath, left to right. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette]

Home » Arts & Entertainment
Posted April 9, 2021 | By Lisa McGinnes, Ocala Gazette | Photography by Bruce Ackerman

“Crimes of the Heart” opens at Ocala Civic Theatre

Lizzy Allen as Meg Magrath, Lily Capote as Babe Botrelle and Kiersten Nicole Farley as Lenny Magrath, left to right. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette]

The spacious kitchen of their family home in small-town Mississippi is where the three Magrath sisters are having an impromptu reunion after the youngest sister’s run-in with the law.

To be honest, none of them is having a good day. Or a good year, for that matter. Babe, the youngest, hasn’t told anyone just how unhappy she is in her marriage to the state senator. Meanwhile the middle sister, Meg, tells everyone her Hollywood singing career is a success, but it’s not the whole story. And Lenny, ever the responsible oldest sibling, is having a crisis over turning 30 – a milestone birthday no one remembered.

“They have a lot of things to work through, and most of them, I think for the audience, will be very funny – although for the girls, it’s very serious,” explained director Trudy Bruner.

Deion Bruce Howard as as Doc Porter, Ashlyn Gibbs as Chick Boyle and Kiersten Nicole Farley as Lenny Magrath, left to right. The play about the delightfully dysfunctional Magrath family of small-town Hazlehurst, MS is live on stage from April 8 to May 2. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette]

Just as you’d expect from three sisters who suddenly find themselves under the same roof, reminiscing begins with giggling over the time Babe was “drunk on champagne punch” but digresses to jealous accusations of “you always got what you wanted” and builds to shouts of, “Meg, shut up! Why did you have to make Lenny cry?”

As only sisters can, the Magrath girls laugh, weep, and bring out the best and the worst in each other. One thing they can agree on: judgy, gossipy cousin Chick, convincingly played by Ashlyn Gibbs, can go on back next door where she belongs – even if they have to chase her off with a broom.

Ocala Civic Theatre newbie Lily Capote is endearing as the lovely and naive Babe. Kiersten Nicole Farley is relatable as big sis Lenny, and Lizzy Allen, playing rebel middle child Meg, shares some serious sparks with former flame Doc Porter, played by Deion Bruce Howard. Joshua Plante makes the most of his role as small town lawyer-with-a-vendetta Barnette Lloyd.

Lizzy Allen as Meg Magrath and Deion Bruce Howard as as Doc Porter, rehearse a scene. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette]

As Bruner noted, this Pulitzer prize-winning play is a comedy with some very tender, even serious moments.

“I think really the play is about what isolation will do to you and what being together will do for you,” she said, adding that it’s a particularly relatable theme as we emerge from a global pandemic.

Scenic designer Tyler Schank’s 1970s set is an enjoyable stroll down memory lane, complete with flowered wallpaper, an avocado green stove with matching Crock-Pot and the lace curtains and crocheted afghan that could be from grandma’s house.

So, will Lenny ever get to make her birthday wish? Will it come true? You’ll have to go along on this sentimental journey to find out. 

The set of Crimes of the Heart was designed by Scenic Designer Tyler Schank.

“Crimes of the Heart” runs from April 8 – May 2 with socially distanced performances at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and a 2 p.m. show on Saturday and Sunday at the theater, 4337 E. Silver Springs Blvd. Tickets are available at or by calling (352) 236-2274.

newspaper icon

Support community journalism

The first goal of the Ocala Gazette is to deliver trustworthy local journalism so corruption, misinformation and abuse are not hidden from the public or unchallenged.

We count on community support to continue this important work. Please donate or subscribe: