Winner of the 1995 Richard Rodgers
Production Award from the American Academy of Arts and
Based on the 1978 cult novel
of the same name by Edward Swift, the story takes place
in Splendora -- a small town in East Texas.
People there still talk about Timothy John Coldridge,
the young man who ran away from the town fifteen years
ago, never to be heard from again. They also talk
about Splendora's new arrival, Miss Jessica Gatewood, a
lady of Victorian dress and speech, hired to run the
county bookmobile and taking up residence in the house
of Timothy John's deceased grandmother, Esther Ruth.
Within weeks, Jessica captivates the town; her style is
emulated by the Splendora Ladies Study Group and she is
lauded for her municipal restoration efforts. Only
one person, Sue Ella Lightfoot, suspects "there's
something mighty slippery beneath those frills and
flippery," and makes a startling discovery: that
Jessica and Timothy John are one and the same person.
but, for how long? As Timothy John begins to fall
in love with Brother Leggett, Splendora's assistant
pastor, it's clear that he must reconcile himself with
his hurtful past so that he can finally leave Jessica.
- from the cover
Dramatist's Play Service