Tensions bubble to the surface in “Crimes of the Heart,” showing at College of the Mainland Community Theatre Sept. 8-25. From left, Caroline Menefee, Melanie Bernsen Clinkscales and Laurel Powell.After family tragedy, sisters in a dysfunctional family turn to each other in “Crimes of the Heart." From left, Caroline Menefee, Laurel Powell and Amber Bennett.

Scandals and sorrows lie hidden, soon to bubble to the surface, in “Crimes of the Heart” at College of the Mainland Community Theatre Sept. 8-25.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning play centers around the three Magrath sisters, torn apart by heartbreak and reunited by a fresh tragedy. As they deal with past and present misery, the family’s dysfunction springs to the surface in hilarious ways.

The oldest sister, Lenny, juggles many family crises, but everyone has a boiling point. Meg, the middle sister, is forced to leave a career in Hollywood when she is summoned home to restore balance to the family – but her return reveals that she is anything but balanced.

Babe, the youngest, battles her own demons, in the form of an abusive husband and grief over family hardships. On the brink of self-destruction, she copes with lemonade and a new saxophone.

The addition of Chick, the bossy first cousin who lives next door; Doc, Meg's tortured ex-boyfriend; and Barnette, a new suitor for Babe, in the form of a young lawyer bent on protecting Babe and settling a score with her husband, all bring more chaos and turmoil in ways that create laughter and tears.

"The truth of the story lies in the relationship of the sisters and their love for each other, despite unbelievable hardships,” said director Chris Pool. “Although dealing with layers and layers of discord, the writing is at once witty and dark. Family, forgiveness, humor and hope provide balance to abandonment, betrayal and despair.”

The cast includes Sean Maxwell Bailey, Amber Bennett, Melanie Bernsen Clinkscales, Caroline Menefee, Bill Nealon and Laurel Powell. Production stage manager is Micheal Salas, technical director is Curt Meyer, and Jasmine Ross did lighting and design. 

The play runs Thursdays to Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m.

Since 1972, COM Community Theatre has presented over 228 productions including children's theatre, concerts and workshops with attendance of more than a quarter of a million people. The theatre has been recognized as one of America's leading community theatres, setting high production standards and developing one of this country's most innovative programs.

For tickets, call the Box Office at 409-933-8345 or 1-888-258-8859, ext. 8345 or visit www.com.edu/theatre.