The Red Velvet Cake War opens June 2, 2023, here at Parkway Playhouse!
From the writing team of last season’s runaway hit The Savannah Sipping Society, this show is about the eccentric Verdeen Cousins of Sweetgum, Texas are saddled with planning a family reunion despite being neck-deep in personal disasters. In the middle of arrests, psychological evaluations and an oncoming tornado, the family’s horrid matriarch has challenged Cousin Gaynelle to a high-stakes baking contest.
We reached out to Bonnie Allen, one of our cast members to find out more about her and her experience working on this fun production.
What about this show are you the most looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to being able to participate in a full rehearsal schedule at Parkway! Last year when I joined the cast of Savannah Sipping Society as Dot Hagler I came into the process the week before we opened. I had 3 rehearsals and then tech week hit. While I thoroughly enjoyed working with my cast and crew I would be lamenting to say the bonding process the cast/crew goes through leading up to opening night is one of my favorite things about bringing a script to life.
What’s your favorite recipe? Can you share it with us?
Lemon Velvet Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
Prep Time 30 minutes (my first time making this it took me an hour… show yourself some grace)
Cook Time-28 minutes
Calories NONE 😉
1½ cups all purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1¾ cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup butter-flavored shortening
1-2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon pure lemon extract
1 heaping teaspoon lemon zest (from 1-2 lemons. You’ll find the heaping teaspoon next to the “”””say when”””” cheese grater in the junk drawer of your kitchen)
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1/3 cup hot lemon water (cold water is fine. Hot water mixed with 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice – I’ve never used the hot water and honestly I can’t tell the difference. I also made a C- in chemistry)
4-6 drops yellow food coloring
Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
2 (8 oz) cream cheese room temperature
8 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 ½ teaspoons pure lemon extract
1 ½ heaping teaspoons lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
4-5 cups powdered sugar sifted
1-2 teaspoons lemon juice (if needed)
4-5 drops yellow food coloring
Preheat oven to 325 F. Thoroughly grease and flour 2 (9-inch) dark cake pans. Set aside.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl mix together sugar ,oil and shortening.
Mix in eggs one at a time.
Mix in vanilla extract, lemon extract and lemon zest.
Combine dry ingredients into wet ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk.
Mix together the distilled vinegar and lemon water and mix into the batter.
Mix in the food coloring until your desired shade of yellow is reached.
Pour batter evenly into prepared pans and shake pans to release any trapped air bubbles.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, checking it at the 25 minute mark and adjusting the time if needed. (see note)*
*When moist crumbs cling to a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake, the way your ex was still clinging to you after you said it’s over remove cake from oven. Just like you removed them from your life.
Let cakes rest in the pans until pans are cool enough to touch. Similar to how one might need to rest till they are cool enough to approach for conversation. The cake will continue to cook as it cools.
Once cooled, carefully remove cakes from pan and place on a cooling rack to cool completely.
Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese and butter.
Mix in vanilla extract, lemon extract, and lemon zest.
Mix in powdered sugar until creamy, adding lemon juice to thin it out if needed.
Stir in food coloring if using. The cake and icing will appear mainly white. The yellowed the cake the more food coloring.
Place frosting in the fridge to allow it to firm up a bit before frosting.
Stir the frosting until it’s creamy and spreadable and frost the cakes.
Garnish with additional lemon zest if desired. (OR if you’re like me and you’re afraid you’ll grate your knuckles. Garnish with a lemon peel)
If you had to list 5 songs that represent how much fun this show is, what would they be?
Miley Cyrus – “Flowers”
The Chicks – “Goodbye Earl”
Joan Jett & the Blackhearts – “Bad Reputation”
Shania Twain – “Man! I Feel Like A Woman”
Wicked – “Loathing”
Honorable Mention: Sister Sledge – “We Are Family”
How did you get into theatre?
That’s a long story; but I’ll hit you with the cliff notes. I started putting on elaborate shows in my backyard as a child where I played every role – including the audience. As soon as I was old enough to read I plugged into school plays and it never looked back. I went to college for theatre and with persistence I’m happy to call myself an Award Winning Professional Actress. Now I’ve gone on to perform on stage and in front of the camera. Some of my favorite on stage roles include Maria from 12th Night, Sonia from Vanya, Sonia, Masha, and Spike, Queen Agravaine in Once Upon a Mattress, and Dot Hagler in Savannah Sipping Society. For my camera work you can find some of my feature films shown on Hallmark and Lifetime now available on Amazon. My commercial work encompasses products and companies from Texas Pete, NASCAR, Sonoco, and Hoover Vacuum.
What’s your favorite thing to do in Burnsville?
Not get caught speeding by the police. JUST KIDDING JUST KIDDING, that’s my Peaches Verdeen coming out. I absolutely love downtown. When I can stroll through and just being able to simply “be” is not a chance I often get. When I get off I-40 I know I’m heading to a place where I can slow down and enjoy the present. Burnsville isn’t just a place, it’s a vibe and a feeling and we need more of it in the world.
What have you loved so far about working with Parkway Playhouse?
Parkway Playhouse is a place set apart. There aren’t many professional playhouses in WNC and Parkway surpasses many of them. The wonderful humans I’ve encountered and worked with have all been consummate professionals in all that they do. This creates an environment where creativity, skill, and collaboration can thrive in abundance.
Bonnie is thrilled to be returning to the Parkway Playhouse stage. You might or might not recognize her as an adorable 60-something Dottie from last season’s Savannah Sipping Society. Bonnie is a Buncombe County native and professional actress whose talents have been shared on TV, Film, and Stage. You can find her work on Lifetime, and Hallmark, or even catch her during your regularly scheduled commercial breaks. Weekend adventures, board games, a good whiskey, and true crime are her preferred ways to pass the time with her husband and three cats. Her preferred cake? Lemon cake with cream cheese icing… Yum! She dedicates this show to her Grandma Mary who will be 90 years old this summer.
The Red Velvet Cake War is showing at Parkway Playhouse in Burnsville, NC June 2-11, 2023! Grab your tickets to this hilarious comedy here: https://parkwayplayhouse.com/tickets/get-tickets/