Ivy Rowe, played by Barbara Bates Smith, is probably Lee Smith's most beloved character, drawn from her most beloved book - Fair and Tender Ladies. You will relish Ivy's stand against the coal company's bulldozer, defending her home place and reporting on her love life as described by her letters to "Dear Sister".
Originally co-adapted and directed by Mark Hunter, this spunky mountain woman’s story takes
us in a flashback through a life of “livin’ on love.” With a sensuous nature and a flair for storytelling, Ivy Rowe, played by Barbara Bates Smith, paints a vivid picture of 20th Century Appalachia revivals, mine disasters, rural electrification, the Depression, and three wars.
Jeff Sebens is a genius as Barbara’s accompanist, seamlessly making the music a major, integral part of the story.
“I used to be a scandal… Now I’m an institution”, says Barbara Bates Smith. This is my slogan for my 30th year of performing “Ivy Rowe.” It was about 700 times a decade ago—now I’ve lost count. Lee Smith has asked, “Don’t you ever get tired of doing this?” No. Never. Beginning in Tampa, on to New York, and Edinburgh, & all over, it’s been a thrill each time. Its special magic both grounds and uplifts me; if I miss too many months, I get restless. And in hard times I remember Ivy’s advice: “You gotta keep on keepin’ on.”