May 9 show all about attitude

Messenger photo by Kristy Zurbrick

Bunny slippers and all, Joyce Hildebrand is ready to take the stage May 9 as “The Queen of Attitude.” 

Two years ago, Lilly Chapel area resident Joyce Hildebrand brought down the house with her one-woman show devoted to the wise-cracking wisdom of humorist Erma Bombeck.

Guess what? She’s back, and this time she will embody the spirit of Maxine, the sassy-not-sappy cartoon creation of illustrator John Wagner, who has worked for Hallmark’s Shoebox Greetings since 1986.

Hildebrand has concocted a show inspired by Maxine’s all-too-real observations on life, which she will present on May 9 at First United Methodist Church, 52 N. Main St., London. The evening will include a musical interlude by accomplished vocalist and London resident Betty Londergan, after which Hildebrand will be joined on stage by London musician Clint Morse for the second half of the show.

Tickets are $15 and include a dessert buffet following the performance. All proceeds go to the local Iota Beta chapter of the Phi Beta Psi Sorority, a national organization devoted to raising money for cancer research.

“I cut out over 130 Maxine cartoons from books, the Internet, everywhere. They will be displayed on a screen using PowerPoint while I’m doing my performance,” said Hildebrand, who plans to look the part of Maxine, from the blue hair to the well-worn bathrobe to the signature bunny slippers. Iota Beta member Cara DePugh has created life-size banners of Maxine that will add to the visual stimulation.

Hildebrand will give voice to the cartoon’s “pearls of wisdom.” She has arranged them into categories, including food, age, men, work, seasons and favorite put-downs.

“She says such nasty things. Nothing is sacred,” Hildebrand said with a twinkle in her eye. “The humor is good for any audience. Women, men… kids will get it, too.”

The Maxine-inspired oration will comprise the first half of Hildebrand’s show. The second half will take on a mellow tone as Hildebrand invites Clint Morse to join her in singing three selections from the musical, “I Do, I Do,” about a couple’s 50-year marriage. Morse will turn over the piano to West Jefferson’s Mark Potter, who will provide the accompaniment.

Hildebrand is a stage veteran. Her local directing debut came in 1962 when she staged a play to raise money for the London PTA. The event became an annual tradition that evolved into the popular London Community Theater, which enjoyed a 25-year run. Hildebrand taught speech and ran the drama department at London High School from 1967 to 1991.

Kelly Snyder, a member of Iota Beta, encourages individuals to purchase their tickets to Hildebrand’s May 9 show as soon as possible.

“We sold out the last time we had Joyce on stage,” she said, adding that tickets to “Queen of Attitude” are a fun idea for a Mother’s Day present.

The show is one of many fundraisers Iota Beta organizes to raise money for cancer research. Last year, the chapter sent $12,629 to Phi Beta Psi, which distributed $349,800 in grants to cancer researchers nationwide last year. Founded in 1934 and 45 members strong, the Madison County chapter is one of 14 in Ohio and 98 across the United States.

The May 9 event is dedicated to the memory of Mary Kelly, an Iota Beta chapter member and London resident who passed away on April 18, 2007, as a result of breast cancer.

For tickets to “The Queen of Attitude,” contact any Iota Beta chapter member or call 740-506-3143.

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