Local theater character "Sister Myotis" prepares for trip to The Big Apple

By Anna Marie Hartman - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - To local theater audiences she's Sister Myotis, the fictional female force behind a fictitious, 80,000 mega-church.  Behind the costume, Sister Myotis is really Steve Swift, an actor and playwright who created the God-fearing Christian character.

"She's just kind of an amalgam of people from my childhood," Swift said.

The head of the Honeybees Ladies Auxiliary has a unique perspective of the world. 

"She can say whatever she wants," Swift said. "She just has to insist that she's right, so that's her only moral compass really is that she's just right."

Next month, northern audiences will get a taste of the sister's southern charm. The three-member cast and director of "Bible Camp" have been invited to the Abingdon Theatre in New York City for 22 performances, beginning June 11th. 

Swift, in an exclusive in-character interview as Sister Myotis, shared what New York audiences can expect. 

"We're going in to New York and we're trying to plant what we call a 'sleeper cell' of Ladies Auxiliary members, that's really gonna come in and take hold of that old rotten big apple and turn it into something that the Lord would be proud of," Sister Myotis said.

Five weeks is a long time to be away from the many church activities for which Sister Myotis has earned her banner of badges.  But what she'll miss most is Action News 5's Dave Brown. 

"He kind of reminds me like a young Barnaby Jones or something, you know? And you know much as I'd love to sit in church beside old Barnaby, one thing Barnaby couldn't do is tell me whether it's gonna rain tomorrow, and Dave has got that licked," Sister Myotis said. "Amen!"

Myotis won the hearts of regional audiences when the theatre group 'Voices of the South' brought her to life on stage in 2002.  More recently, her YouTube videos (click here to watch) have had more than three million hits, proving audiences everywhere can relate.

"I dare say that we will be up there in New York with all those Yankees and they are going to find somebody who's very similar that they recognize," said Voices of the South's Jenny Odle.

The cost of taking the show on the road is an expensive reality.

"It's a pretty lean show in terms of set," director Jerre Dye said. "No one's swinging from trapezes from the ceiling. No one breathes fire although...I'm interested."

The cast has to pay for their own food and lodging for five weeks.  While they're in desperate need of donations, taking Mid-South talent to the Big Apple is a priceless opportunity for Voices of the South, and it's star.

"That's all you can do Anna Marie really is plant a seed, and then I'll come back home and watch it grow," Swift said.

You can donate to the trip through Voices of the South's website by clicking here. You can catch a preview performance of Sister's show this weekend at First Congregational Church on South Cooper.

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