Scott Marks 9:44 a.m., May 21
Hewitt Finley, the famous country singer who wrote "Ten Cent Night," just committed suicide (you can see the bullet hole on the wall of his home). Folks who knew him can't decide which — the song or the suicide — was the best thing he ever did.
His children, two sets of twins, reunite after his death. Dysfunction reigns. Young Holt and Sadie (Jordan Zimmer and Erin Peterson) are beginning to have verboten eyes for each other. Older Dee (Jennifer Eve Thorn) may or may not be a virgin - but given the slender pickings at Burkeville, Texas, virginity may be the sanest move. Twin sister Roby's following in her father's footsteps: as a singer and a "hat puking" drunk.
As the family reassembles, they encounter mute Danny (Justin Lang), Roscoe (Mark Petrich), who dreams of dimes, and Lila Mozelle (Dana Hooley) the town hooker who had more than an eye for Hewitt.
The set-up recalls Tracy Letts' August: Osage County, in theme as well as length (Letts and Marisa Wegrzyn, who wrote Ten Cent are Chicago-based). But unlike Letts' remarkable control, Wegrzyn's multiple plotting tends to run away from her (she begins scenes better than she ends them, for example).
The Moxie production, directed by Delicia Turner Sonnenberg, can't conceal that the characters are as much patterns in a scheme as people. But the cast fleshes them out where they can.
As do Jennifer Brawn Gittings' precise, often hilarious costumes. She clothes Petrich in leisure elan, thick white belt and white shoes, just right for the garrulous dreamer. And Dana Hooley sports not so much a dress as a floral hothouse, in keeping with the character and Hooley's fine performance.
Karson St. John can add Ten Cent to her string of achievements. The Noel Award winner, who recently played the Emcee in Cygnet's Cabaret, is a pitch perfect Roby. Blind drunk and sad as a country lament, Roby wants to do the right thing, for once, even though the universe conspires against her. Think that's just paranoia? Then explain how she got handcuffed to a folding chair!