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Honky Tonk Angels, from left to right: Emily Watkins, Laurie Helmers, Chelsea Indrehus

Absolute Theatre starts a new era in a new home with some old chestnuts.

The new era is launched with the move to Castle Community's third floor auditorium, which will be turned into a country music club for "The Honky Tonk Angels," a jukebox musical featuring wall-to-wall country music favorites.

"This play is just full of chestnuts," said Suzie Hansen, who is directing the musical.

Included in the show, which opens Sept. 19, are "9 to 5," "Harper Valley PTA," "Stand by Your Man," "Coal Miner's Daughter," and "Rocky Top."

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Honky Tonk Angels, from left to right: Emily Watkins, Laurie Helmers, Chelsea Indrehus

They'll be performed by Emily Watkins, Laurie Helmers and Chelsea Indrehus, backed by a band led by Jon Davis. The Ravensfire Band will dust off some older country tunes for a pre-show happy hour.

The story is this: Three women are looking to escape from their hum-drum lives by becoming singers. They meet when they get on a bus to Nashville, and start harmonizing on their favorite songs. They get to Nashville and form a singing trio.

"In Act II, they're doing a performance in this honky tonk bar," Hansen said.

That's where the new Absolute home at the Castle gets to show off its versatility.

The hall will be set up as the honky tonk bar, with table seating, high stools, and servers delivering food and drink orders from the Castle's Cameo restaurant to the audience.

"We want people to come in and say, 'Wow, this is different,'" Hansen said.

The move to the Castle comes after bouncing around from place to place during Absolute’s first three seasons. Most recently, Absolute performed at Rochester Civic Theatre, but scheduling conflicts made that arrangement impossible to continue.

"They've been great to work with," Hansen said of the Castle staff.

The honky tonk bar setup seemed like a natural for this opening show, and Hansen said more creative seating arrangements are planned for future productions.

"There are so many possibilities here," she said.

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Life Reporter

Tom covers primarily arts and entertainment for the Post Bulletin and 507 Magazine. He also often writes feature stories about local history. He is a native of Milwaukee, WI, and enjoys reading and traveling.