A quirky, dysfunctional, yet loveable family is faced with planning a funeral for family patriarch Bud Turpin - not the circumstances one would associate with humor - but the Golden Chain Theatre’s latest production, “Dearly Departed,” will nonetheless, provide plenty of laughs.
“This show, opening Aug. 12 for nine performances, is rated PG-13 for language and adult situations, but “Dearly Departed” is sure to make you laugh and warm your heart,” explained Co-Director Melinda Rich.
Turpin unexpectedly dies at his breakfast table, and family members quickly rally around his widow, Raynelle, (Mary Helen Mierkey) to help with the funeral arrangements.
Hilarity commences as Ray Bud, Bud’s eldest child (George Rich) and his wife, Lucille (Melinda Rich) have no choice but to be the reluctant financial backers of the funeral.
Junior (Mark Friesen), Bud’s second eldest child and his wife Suzanne (Heather Sconce) have found themselves “strapped for cash,” as Junior invested all of his resources in a business venture that failed miserably. To add to calamity are Junior and Suzanne’s three beautiful, yet unruly children (played by Lindsay Martin, Cassie Longcor and Kaitlyn Larmay).
Bud and Raynelle have one other child, Delightful (Michelle Niewohner). Unfortunately, her contribution to the family is anything but helpful.
Extended family also make an appearance as Marguerite (Jennifer Piccolotti), Bud’s Bible-thumping sister and her good-for-nothing son, Royce (Co-Director Jordan Michel) lend their helping hands, as does well-to-do cousin Juanita (Darla Dean).
The family’s pastor, Reverend Hooker (James Mierkey) has the funeral service well in hand - or so he thinks.
The friends that gather to pay their last respects to Bud at his funeral will also leave quite an impression.
Older couple Veda and Norval (Judy Weiss and Bobby Woods), will have you giggling, as will Ray Bud’s boss, Clyde (Cristien Dunkle) and Lucille’s friend Nadine (Lyric Piccolotti).
And three of Nadine’s many children played by Amber Persson, Teagan Niewohner and Madison Larmay, also make appearances in the production.
“In the Baptist backwoods of the Bible Belt, the beleaguered Turpin family proves that living and dying in the south is seldom tidy and always hilarious,” Melinda Rich said.
Details: “Dearly Departed” - Written by David Botrell and Jessie Jones - 7 p.m., Friday’s and Saturdays Aug. 12-13, 19-20, 26-27 - 2 p.m., Sundays, Aug. 14, 21, 28. Golden Chain Theatre, 42130 Highway 41 (just north of El Cid Mexican Restaurant) - Tickets: $8 - $15 -(559) 683-7112 (10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday), www.goldenchaintheatre.org.
NOTE: Auditions for “The Music Man,” directed by Jennifer Piccolotti, will be held at the Golden Chain Theatre, 6:30 p.m., Friday Aug. 5, and 10 a.m., Saturday Aug. 6.