Gridiron Gridlock: Q&A with Actress Judy Trice

Judy Trice

Judy Trice in The Rep’s Born Yesterday production during the 2006-2007 MainStage Season.

The lawyers are back at it this week!

More than 75 lawyers and law professionals will once again take The Rep stage, starting Wednesday (Aug. 13) with their production of Gridiron Gridlock. After a four-year hiatus, the lawyers bring back their biennial musical production spoofing Arkansas people and politics.

Many lawyers have graced the stage to put their best acting and singing skills to the test for decades. But, there is someone who is not a lawyer, but rather an equity actress who became a part of this tradition through her late husband Bill Trice, who was a lawyer. Her name is Judy Trice and she is returning to The Rep stage after performing several years in the lawyer spoofs, as well as several professional productions, including Born Yesterday during the 2006-2007 MainStage Season.

We had the chance to talk to her about her role in this year’s Gridiron Gridlock, what makes it such a unique production and why it’s so special for her. Here is what she had to say:

What is your role in Gridiron? I will be playing lawyer Virginia “Ginger” Atkinson. She was well-known for her choice of expletives and her very famous line “I hate men.” She was in Gridiron for a number of years and everybody loves her.

How long have you been involved with this special show? My last show was in the ’90s. The first one I did was in 1978 and I did them up through the 90s. My first Gridiron was with the the late Griffin Smith. He loved Broadway and wrote this show around the music he liked.

Who are some of the politicians can we expect to see spoofed onstage? My daughter Catherine Pryor is going to be Hillary Clinton this year and will be doing a duet with Joe Purvis, who is playing Gov. Chris Christie; you’ll also see former state treasurer Martha Shoffner, along with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama this year. We will have a wonderful duet with Congressman Tom Cotton and Sen. Mark Pryor’s father, played by Dewey Watson.

What is so unique about Gridiron? Gridiron, which is kind of modeled after the Washington D.C. shows, consists of lawyers who love to perform. In the past, there have been some wonderful singers– it’s so natural for them onstage. It’s the only show now in the state that is a parody. There were the two shows– there was one for print called the Farkleberry Follies– but now it’s just us. The show is certainly entertaining. People will enjoy it!

Why is this show so special to you? I’ve enjoyed getting back together with these people since my husband passed. It’s about getting to socialize with people I haven’t seen in awhile– doing something fun. It’s bittersweet because Bill isn’t here.

Tickets are still available for Gridiron Gridlock, showing Aug. 13-16. Buy them online or call the Box Office at (501) 378-0405.

Funds raised through ticket sales support some deserving local non-profits. This year, the lawyers intend to donate the net proceeds to The Rep and the Pulaski County Bar Foundation in appreciation for the support both institutions have given to Gridiron over the years. Get more information about the performances here.