If you’ve already started to fantasize about the return of warm weather, the setting of Theatre in the Round’s latest drama is tailor-made for your
daydreams: Texas, in the middle of a scorching heat wave. But the real warmth in Come Back to the 5 & Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, first staged in 1976 and made into a Robert Altman movie starring Cher and Kathy Bates six years later, is generated by the jokes, jabs, generosity, and emotional embrace of the characters in the ensemble cast.
It’s 1975, and a group of middle-aged women has gathered in McCarthy, Texas, to mark the 20th anniversary of James Dean’s appearance in a nearby town: The hearthrob filmed Giant in Marfa, Texas, in 1955 just months before he died in an auto accident on a California highway. But friendship, not fame, lies at the center of this story, and Theater in the Round offers a deft, if no-frills, production. Among the standouts in the cast are Candace Barrett Birk as Juanita, Tina Frederickson as Sissy, and Tina M. Moroni as Joanne.