2005-07-14 / Front Page

Dearly Departed opens Friday at The Playhouse

Dearly Departed opens Friday at The Playhouse

Fists are raised as tempers flare during the wildly funny Dearly Departed, summer production of the Washington Little Theater Company. Pictured above are cast members (from left) Sarah Peacock, Tony Macchia, Rick Hawes, and Billy Creel.
Dearly Departed,

the Washington Little Theater's lighthearted summer offering, opens Friday night, July 15, at 8 p.m. Two additional performances follow, one on Saturday at 8 p.m. and the other on Sunday afternoon, the 17th, at 3 p.m. All three will be presented at the Playhouse on North Alexander Avenue in Washington.

Director Bolton Lunceford cautions that since the run of the play is shorter than usual, tickets may be harder to get. "Call 706-678-9582 for reservations," she said, "or take a chance on getting tickets at the door." All seats are $10.

Both of the play's authors - David Dean Bottrell and Jessie Jones - are Kentucky-born actors who wrote Dearly Departed in 1991 to such favorable reviews and widespread productions that they also worked on a movie version which came out ten years later. Their ear for Southernisms is unerring, and their knack for piling comic scenes on top of each other is awesome.

"You have all that plus one of the best casts we have ever put on the stage and you have got yourself a prize," claims Lunceford. "The movie, by the way, came out in 2001 under the name Kingdom Come, and in spite of having an all-star cast headed up by Whoopi Goldberg, got terrible reviews. It turned the play into a farce and missed its poignance entirely."

Major roles in the WLTCo production are being played by Jeanie Collins, Jerry Ray Denard, Tony Macchia, Rick Hawes, Rose Bennett, Sarah Peacock, and Billy Creel. Jeanie Collins may have the most difficult assignment in that she had a major role (Suzanne) in the WLTCo production of 2000, and is now playing a second one as Raynelle, the matriarch of the Turpin clan. "We are lucky in that she is so thoroughly professional in her approach to any role," says Lunceford.

Libby Foster is the all-important stage manager and she is assisted by Debra Wall and Carol Boyle (who also has a part in the play). Lights are being handled by Rachel Maurer, Carol's daughter. James Trimm is in charge of sound, and Joann Baldwin has the box-office chores.

"You've got just this one weekend to see this wonderfully funny show. Don't miss the chance!" urges Lunceford.

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