Girls with guitars have our backs

Long ago in 1848, Elizabeth Cady Stanton gave birth to today’s concept of, “us chicks gotta stick together.” Of course, it’s more popularly known as the Women’s Rights Movement. Paper Lantern Theatre Company, founded by a group of brilliant women, tap into that same sentiment to raise funds for their burgeoning organization.

This Sunday, PLT is hosting a fundraiser called Girls with Guitars in Triad Stage’s UpStage Cabaret. The musical sampler will include snippets from a variety of female musicians, with Laurelyn Dossett and Martha Bassett at its core.

Amy da Luz, artistic director and co-founder of Paper Lantern Theatre Company, says the fundraiser’s concept is centered on, “female artists supporting female artists.” “There’s nothing more powerful in the world,” she adds.

“Laurelyn and Martha have been supporting Paper Lantern since the day we opened our doors—each doing separate fundraisers for us over the years. But this is the first time we got them both together on stage. We are thrilled.”

All funds raised will go directly to paying the artists involved with the theater’s 2014-2015 season, including the actors, designers and directors.

“Viewers can expect nothing less than a roaring good time,” da Luz says. “The perfect way to spend one of our last summer Sunday afternoons. Cash bar, snacks, friends and music. All of the women are planning on bringing some (musician) friends, and their friends are some of the most talented musicians around so the audience is in for live music at it’s best.”

Joining the supportive, musical family will be The Dan River Girls, which da Luz calls the Triad’s newest generation of female artists.

“We are so incredibly lucky to be the beneficiaries of all this incredible talent,” da Luz said.

The small café-style theater will certainly bust with local talent, especially with Dossett and Bassett taking center stage. With her gentle, honeyed voice, Dossett has won songwriting awards and even had one of her tunes land on a Grammy-winning album. Her songs and voice have been recognized for their compelling emotion, but her lyrics are even more powerful for the Triad audience.

Dossett, who raised her three daughters in Pleasant Garden, is our local claim to fame, and her lyrics touch close to home. Her hit, “Leaving Eden,” for example, was inspired by the massive job loss in Eden after the closing of the textile plant for Pillowtex in 2003.

Bassett navigates effortlessly through jazz, swing, folk, country and rock and adds a playful approach to her emotionally honest lyrics. Bassett has played regularly at Merlefest, the Eastern Music Festival, Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival and concert venues throughout North Carolina and Virginia. She’s opened for Lyle Lovett, Tony Bennett, the Avett Brothers, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Jim Lauderdale and Chuck Prophet. She’s even contributed music to the Sony Classics film Junebug.

Da Luz says the two musicians will play old favorites, new works and exciting new collaborations since they haven’t played together for a long time.

“We encourage everyone to come out and support live theater,” da Luz said. “And (we add) a special shout-out to Triad Stage, Paper Lantern’s partner and friend. This wouldn’t be happening without their generosity.”

The first show of their seventh season that will benefit from the fundraiser will be Mrs. Mannerly by Jeffrey Hatcher.

The madcap comedy was inspired by Hatcher’s memories of a childhood etiquette class. The 80-minute play is set in 1967 Ohio, in Mrs. Mannerly’s 

etiquette class. For years, students have come to her to learn poise, grace, the polka, and the proper placement of forks and spoons when setting a table.

Mrs. Mannerly has graduated countless students from her class, but no one has ever managed to get a perfect score on the final exam. Jeffrey, Mrs. Mannerly’s newest student, is determined to be the first, and will do just about anything to make it happen.

Directed by Brook Davis, the cast features local professional actors Cinny Strickland, Stephen Moore and Tom Barker.

The play runs September 25 through October 5 in Triad Stage’s UpStage Cabaret, 232 S. Elm St., Greensboro. !


Girls with Guitars, a fundraiser for Paper Lantern Theatre Company, will be in Triad Stage’s UpStage Cabaret, 232 S. Elm St., Greensboro, Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets are $20 at the door. For more information visit