When Sherry Josand Fletcher first appeared on the Bellevue Little Theatre stage, as a seamstress in “The Pajama Game” in 1983, the converted movie theater had no place backstage for the actors to gather.
Their dressing-room space was a crowded attic above the theater lobby. Actors had to either enter the stage from the auditorium's aisles or run outside the building to a backstage door.
Now, 30 years later, Fletcher is performing in her sixth Bellevue Little Theatre show. “Leaving Iowa,” a family comedy opening Friday, centers on a newspaper columnist who journeys home to Winterset, Iowa, hoping to bury his father's ashes at the family home. But when he gets there, he finds the old homestead is a supermarket.
The play flashes back to when he and his sister took a road trip with their parents. Fletcher and Ron Chvala play people who cross paths with the family on their journey. Her nine roles range from farm wife to grandma, drunken lady to Amish lady, mechanic to waitress.
While the play includes flashbacks and reflections on how things change, Fletcher is flashing back on decades of Bellevue Little Theatre history.
“It's the same building, but they've rebuilt their stage twice since then,” Fletcher said. The theater also expanded into the building next door, allowing more dressing-room space.
Fletcher moved to Bellevue as an Air Force wife in 1978 and has since appeared in dozens of shows at the Chanticleer, the now-defunct Firehouse and Upstairs dinner theaters, the Magic Theater, the Playhouse and other area venues.
Fletcher, a freelance writer and editor who lives in Bellevue, said the Bellevue Little Theatre has a dedicated group of volunteers, many of whom she has known since her first show there in 1983.
“This is a very cute script,” she said. The challenge of playing so many strange and varied characters makes her glad to be back onstage in Bellevue.
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