7:30 p.m. Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday
Footlight Theatre, Parliament House
410 N. Orange Blossom Trail
First thing you see on Alison Arngrim’s website: “Yes, it was a wig! Next question!” Nooooo! Nellie Olesen’s perfectly bouncy, shiny blonde sausage curls – we coveted them as kids, but like so many childhood obsessions (Sea Monkeys, we’re looking at you), it turns out they were a big fake. Also fake: that mean, nasty Nellie Olesen. Arngrim, who played the cat’s-arse-mouthed Nellie for seven years on the beloved TV series Little House on the Prairie, is nothing like the hateful rich girl she portrayed. When her Little House co-star Steve Tracy died of AIDS in 1986, it was a wake-up call that spurred her to begin volunteering for various HIV/AIDS charities. In her one-woman show, Confessions of a Prairie Bitch, Arngrim dishes the backstage dirt on the 1970s’ most wholesome TV show; her childhood as the daughter of Liberace’s manager (her dad) and the voice of Gumby (her mom); and how playing a “wretched, scheming, selfish, lying, manipulative brat” showed her the way to total self-confidence. Who would’ve thought out of all those characters, it would be Nellie who turned out to be the heroine? Suck it, Melissa Sue Anderson! – Jessica Bryce Young
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