Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- Abby Donaldson, St. Tammany Advocate columnist

Age is just a number for the group of talented seniors performing in the upcoming Broadway play “Love Letters” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 15, at the Slidell Little Theatre, 2024 Nellie Drive.

The local production of the 1989 romantic comedy replaces the typically young, energetic cast with a group of seniors 50 and older from the Senior Actors Theatre of Slidell.

“The fact that you get older doesn’t mean your talent isn’t still there, that you can’t still entertain, you just find ways to accommodate,” said Kenneth Faherty, a 69-year-old retired lawyer with one of the leading roles in “Love Letters.”

The senior theater program allows an older generation of actors to continue acting. The program accommodates any mobility or memory problems that may be brought on with age. Most SATS plays are staged readings or radio shows, which focus less on costumes and movement and more on voices and gestures.

“These are our best actors. They don’t have to walk about or anything. Just through their voices and gestures they entertain you tremendously,” said 71-year-old Margaret Rennie, the executive producer of the SATS production.

The upcoming performance of A.R. Gurney’s “Love Letters” is a staged reading about the powerful connection between a man and a woman who write each other for 50 years. The performance stars Faherty as the reserved Andrew Makepeace III and Helen Joffe, a 64-year-old former competitive Scrabble player, as the unruly Melissa Gardner.

SATS also will perform the original production of “Comfort and Joy: A Toy Box Tale” written by Joffe about the meaning of Christmas from the perspective of toys. The performance is part of a combined offering that includes the ballet performance of “The Nutcracker” by the Southern Youth Ballet and Ballet Esprit. Performances begin at 7 p.m. Dec. 19 and 3 p.m. Dec. 20 at the Slidell Little Theatre.

Admission is $10 per person and seating is general admission.

Opry celebrates 12 years

The Abita Springs Opry celebrates 12 years of presenting Louisiana roots music with a night of performances from local musicians and community favorites. The music begins at 7 p.m. Nov. 15 at City Hall, 22161 Level St.

“It does not seem possible that we have been playing for that long,” said Bryan Gowland, president and producer of the Abita Springs Opry. “But I guess the old saying is true, ‘Time flies when you are having fun.’ ”

The last show of the season kicks off with a country performance by The Steve Anderson Group. Then Big Daddy O returns to the stage to perform his smooth-style Blues music, followed by a performance by fiddler Gina Forsyth and her Cajun band. The celebratory night concludes with a performance by the duet The Bad Pennies Pleasure Makers.

“Music is one of the most important components of our precious culture in Louisiana, and that culture must be preserved,” Gowland said.

Tickets for the performance cost $18 and can be purchased at the door or online at


  • “WHAT FIRE COULD NEVER BURN”: 7 p.m. Thursday. The fire that destroyed Covington High School in 1974 is the inspiration for this original play by theater teacher Gary Mendoza. Performances are at 7 p.m. Nov. 13 and 15. Tickets are $10 for students and $15 for adults. Call (985) 893-9843 for information. Covington High School Auditorium, 73030 Lion Drive.
  • GALA GRAND OPENING AND “CLYBOURNE PARK” PREMIER: 6:30 p.m. Friday. The 30 by Ninety Theatre celebrates its grand opening in Mandeville with a cocktail reception and the premier of “Clybourne Park.” Cost is $30.90 per person. Additional performances begin at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 15, 21, 22 and 23, with some exceptions. Additional performances cost $13-$18. The play is recommended for ages 16 and older. Call (844) 843-3090 to purchase tickets. Mandeville Community Center, 3090 E. Causeway Approach.
  • “ARTIST TO ARTIST”: 7 p.m. Friday. Join the opening reception for the art exhibit featuring works by Adam Sambola and Kenny Bridges. The exhibit will be open noon to 4 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, Nov. 19 to Dec. 20. The Slidell Cultural Center, 2055 Second St.
  • “THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE”: 8 p.m. Friday. The Playmakers Theater, 19106 Playmakers Road, Covington, presents the last weekend of the scary mystery, based on the novel by Shirley Jackson. Performances are at 8 p.m. Nov. 14 and 15 and 2 p.m. Nov. 16. Tickets cost $10 for children and $15 for adults. Call (985) 893-1671 for reservations.
  • COVINGTON FARMERS MARKET: 8 a.m. Saturday. Head out to the farmers market for fresh fall produce, a cooking demo and samples of Steve and Elizabeth Nuccio’s famous muffalettas. The morning also includes music by the Last Chance Bluegrass Band and food from the Lola Deux food truck. The Covington Farmers Market is open 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays. Covington City Hall, 609 N. Columbia St.
  • MANDEVILLE TRAILHEAD COMMUNITY MARKET: 9 a.m. Saturday. Head out to the trailhead for local food, fresh produce, Bloody Marys, live music, shopping and more. The community market is open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays at the Mandeville Trailhead.
  • WALK TO END ALZHEIMER’S: 9 a.m. Saturday. Support Alzheimer’s research and care by participating in a two-mile walk through the local state park. Registration begins at 9 a.m., followed by the ceremony at 10 a.m. and the walk at 10:30 a.m. Fontainebleau State Park, 62883 La. 1089, Mandeville.
  • THREE RIVERS ART FESTIVAL: 10 a.m. Saturday. The 18th annual art festival lines the street of downtown Covington this weekend with local music performances, a variety of artwork from artists across the country, food trucks and vendors, a children’s craft area and more. Visit for a schedule. The two-day festival is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 15 and 16 in historic downtown.
  • BLOOMING LILY GALA: 7 p.m. Saturday. The nonprofit organization hosts its first gala to raise money for projects in Kenya. Admission is $75. Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum, 133 Mabel Drive, Madisonville.
  • ABITA SPRINGS FARMERS MARKET: Noon Sunday. Head over to the trailhead for fresh produce, local food, crafts and more. The market is open noon to 4 p.m. Sundays at the Abita Springs Trailhead.
  • CHRIST CHURCH CONCERT SERIES: 5 p.m. Sunday. Enjoy a performance by violinist Amy Thiaville and pianist Brian Hsu. Stick around after the free concert to meet the artists and enjoy wine and hors d’oeuvres. Christ Episcopal Church, 120 S. New Hampshire St., Covington.
  • SQUARE DANCE: 8 p.m. Monday. The Ozone Squares Square Dance Club hosts a two-hour square dancing class every Monday. Bogue Falaya Hall, 317 Jefferson Ave., Covington.
  • THANKSGIVING ART CAMP: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 24-26. The St. Tammany Art Association hosts a three-day art camp for children ages 6-12. Children can learn from professional artists through hands-on exploration of drawing, painting, sculpture and more. Costs $140, $120 for members. Call (985) 892-8650. STAA, 320 N. Columbia St., Covington.

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