is a ten-character country-western musical which is uniquely American. The setting is a down-home restaurant located in Success, Arkansas, a road-stop somewhere between America’s two great country music meccas — Branson, Missouri, and Nashville, Tennessee. Billie Joe is the Cafe’s hot-blooded owner with a short-order philosophy on men. She has three grown kids – Louisa, Missi, and Tex – each named after the state that they were conceived in. That way, she quips, I can remember the last good time I had with their daddies.
Every night Billie Joe & family, backed by a group of talented musicians, put on a show for tour bus groups and celebrities who stop by the cafe. Aching for the bright lights and big time waiting just up the road in either direction, they learn they are soon to lose Success. In just three weeks, the Army Corps of Engineers will tear down the levee holding back the mighty Mississippi and the whole town will be under water.
When Billie Joe decides to burn down the Cafe to collect the insurance money, all hell breaks loose. In the midst of the pandemonium, Louisa falls in and out of love, Missi gets a chance to sing with Garth, and Tex has a close brush with death. Never missing any opportunity to try out a new hit, the cast sings twenty original country songs from tear-in-your-beer ballads, to Texas-swing, to songs that just might make their way up the charts.
COWBOY CAFE was produced in its world premiere on July 4, 1994 by The Blowing Rock Stage Company, Mark Wilson, Founder and Producing Director for the Blowing Rock Stage Company, an Equity professional theater in the mountains of North Carolina. It was further developed in subsequent productions. Under the Direction of William Dreyer, it opened at The Parkway Playhouse on August 4, 1994, and it was later produced by the Mill Mountain Theatre, Jere Lee Hodgin, Executive and Artistic Director, where it opened on October 25, 1995. Phyllis MacBryde was awarded the 1995 North Carolina Playwright’s Fellowship for COWBOY CAFE, an award which is funded by the North Carolina Arts Council. Producers T.G. Solomon and Absolute Films II, LLC, presented a company of COWBOY CAFE, opening June 27, 1996, at the J.E. Broyhill Civic Center and moving to the Garden Theater in Charleston, South Carolina, where it opened on July 6, 1996.
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