Dearly Departed 
An irreverent, dark comedy by David Botrell & Jessie Jones
Directed by Paula Leffmann
Nov. 3, 4, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19
, 2006

"a legitimate hilarious hit ..." Read the review

Playmakers Theater, Covington, announces the cast of "Dearly Departed", a drop dead comedy written by David Dean Bottrell and Jessie Jones, both of whom are Kentucky born actors. 

"Dearly Departed premiered in New Haven Connecticut in 1991. That same year it received critical acclaim in its Off-Broadway opening at the Second Stage Theater in New York. The New York Daily News said that "Dearly Departed" is drop dead funny...but don't take our word, see it for yourself. "Dearly Departed was then produced in Los Angeles where it received six Drama Logue Awards including "Best Production" and "Best Play Writing".  It was subsequently published and has been produced in hundreds of regional theaters in the United States, United Kingdom, and, Australia. If you see one play this year, don't miss this one.  

This Playmakers production is directed by Paula Leffmann. The talented 16-member cast is as follows: Kasey Blue, Shawn Curry, Mary Ann Carson Hemphill, Cheri Noto Karlin, Lottie Palazzo, Russel Krogsgard, Jill Lane McGuire, Missie Arato Noel, Lottie Palazzo, Joe Sanders, Kathlyn Seiler, Seth Trosclair, Catie West, Mary West, Mike West, Elizabeth Williams.

Show dates are: November 3,4,10,11,12, 17,18 & 19. Fridays& Saturdays are at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays are at 2:00 p.m. Reservations: (985)-893-1671


This deliciously hilarious comedy deals with a group of small town southerners, trying to get through a family funeral without causing even more grief. When the Patriarch of the Turpin family keels over dead in the first scene, the struggle to get him buried involves the whole clan, including the not-so-grieving widow who wants to put “mean and surly” on the tombstone. Despite the comedic efforts of this family to pull themselves together for the funeral, their other problems keep overshadowing the solemn occasion: oldest son, Ray-Bud, drinks himself silly as the funeral bills mount, Junior, the younger son, is juggling financial ruin, a pack of unruly kids and a wife who suspects him of infidelity in the family car, and their unmarried sister, Delightful, continues to seek consolation by eating junk food. Amidst the chaos, the Turpin family turns to an eccentric community of misfits for comfort, and they just manage to pull everyone together through their hours of need.


Playmakers has lively hit on hands with 'Departed'

Thursday, November 09, 2006
Stephen Cefalu

Playmakers Theatre in Covington has a legitimate hilarious hit on its hands with its production of "Dearly Departed."

The comedy by David Bottrell and Jesse Jones centers on the unfortunate death and impending funeral of family patriarch Bud Turpin and the behavior of his backwoods kith and kin.

Directed by Paula Leffmann, this comedy will have audiences laughing from the beginning to the end. Heading the cast is Mama Raynelle (Mary Ann Carson Hemphill), who has to deal with the untimely death of her husband, Bud.

Hemphill never goes over the top with her believable portrayal of the sometimes grieving widow.

Veteran actress Elizabeth Pfeffer Williams is wonderful as Bud's deeply religious, Bible-thumping, God-fearing sister, Marguerite.

Shawn Curry is very convincing as Marguerite's good-for-nothing, unemployed, alcoholic son Royce. His lifelong ambition is to get married and have his wife give birth so he can continue to get welfare.

Cherie Noto Karlin is excellent as the only sane member of the family, Lucille. Her reasoning makes sense and is always logical.

Mike West has a good handle on the character of Raybud. This hard-working, frugal Turpin fears that he will be stuck having to foot the entire bill for his father's funeral.

Seth Trosclair is extremely convincing as the down-on-his-luck, wannabe business tycoon Junior. Adding to his troubles is the fact his wife, Suzanne, is obsessed with finding out who he had an affair while "cleaning" the Kmart parking lot.

Veteran actress Jill Lane McGuire is excellent as Suzanne. She never lets Junior forget the fact that he blew all their life savings on a big piece of machinery used to clean parking lots. Her over-the-top, dramatic performance is hilarious.

Veteran character actor Russell Krogsgard does double duty as the Rev. Norval and as Norval. Krogsgard's subtle facial expressions and distinctive eyebrows enhance his portrayals.

Kaitlyn Seiler does not overdo it as Raynelle and Bud's overweight, junk-food-junkie daughter Delightful.

Missie Arata Noel carefully crafts out a noteworthy performance with her portrayal as the former (and always) Yam Queen Juanita.

There are some delightful contributions from Lottie Palazzo, Catie West, Joe Sanders, Mary West and Kasey Blue. They all help to make this a hit for Playmakers Theatre.

Assisting Leffmann are assistant director Weston Twardowski, producer Kay Files and stage manager Kasey Blue.

Alex LaVanway designed the lights and Kirk Benson and Elizabeth Pfeffer Williams designed the sound. Kudos to Williams for her costume designs that significantly enhanced the aura of the characters.

To make a reservation, call 893-1671. The theatre is located on Playmakers Road just off Lee Road.


November 5, 2006 

Playmakers Dearly Departed Is Laugh Out Loud Funny 


How could anyone believe a macabre setting at a funeral could be so riotously funny?  The exceptionally talented cast of Playmakers production of Dearly Departed made believers out of the champagne gala opening night  “first nighters” this past Friday as they laughed, no howled, at the zany antics of an incurable, dysfunctional family. The play was written by David Botrell and Jessie Jones.  It is ably directed by Paula Leffmann who also has amassed enviable credits as an actor with professional, community and collegiate theater companies. She has assembled a versatile cast of some Playmakers favorites as well as some who are making their debut on the Playmakers stage.  But all are aptly suited for their roles.  Just a warning. If your stomach hurts when you laugh, don’t come to see this play.  But one thing for sure is this show deserves to be played to packed houses.

              The setting for Dearly Departed is somewhere in the “Bible Belt” south of the Mason-Dixon line. The play opens with the abrupt death of Bud Turbin, the aging patriarch of the wacky Turbin family, while his long-suffering wife Raynelle reads a revival come-to- Jesus or else letter from his sister Marguerite, the guardian of the family virtues.  All of this sets in motion the play’s plot as the quirky, sometime utterly nutty family members, come together to plan Bud’s funeral.  As the various friends and relatives gather to pay their last respects, they begin to show their true colors. Bud was not universally loved in life so those gathered unleash a torrent of such amusingly eccentric craziness that it’s a wonder the audience didn’t die laughing. What makes the play move along are the quick scene changes and the rapid on target exchanges among the actors.            The matriarch of the family is Bud’s not so grieving widow Raynellle (Mary Ann Carson Hemphill) who heads the cast of oddball characters and gives just the right touch to her role with her dead-on comedic timing.  She subtlety portrays someone who had to put up with decades of misery and wants “mean and surly” engraved on her late husband’s tombstone. Elizabeth Pfeffer Williams is a sheer delight to watch as she plays Bud’s sister Marguerite, a Bible thumping widow who sings hymns over the phone to her no account son, Royce, hoping to redeem his soul.  Shawn Curry, making his debut on the Playmakers stage, is totally convincing as the irreverent, slouching, shiftless T-shirt wearing Royce who delivers his lines with a deadpan sense of humor that keeps the audience chuckling. The two play off each other beautifully, particularly in a scene when the two are in a car that has run out of gas.  To pass the time, Royce tunes the radio to heavy metal music.  His mother abruptly switches to gospel music and he switches back to the heavy metal station and the switch goes on back and forth.  The scene is one of the comedic highlights of the play and contributing to it was the perfect coordination of the sound effects as the two fight for control of the radio. Cheri Noto Karlin who made her Playmakers debut as Nursey in the The Sunshine Boys sketch for the “Barn” gives such an exciting performance as Lucille that she is sure to become a Playmakers favorite.  Mike West plays Raybud, Bud’s oldest high strung son who is the sanest of the crazy Turpin family.  He invokes empathy from the audience at his plight trying to bring some dignity to the occasion.  This is Mike’s first acting role on any stage but he more than holds his own among an exceptionally talent group of performers.  Jill Lane McGuire is an absolute scene stealer as Bud’s sobbing daughter-in-law who turns in a hilarious bit singing an off key song at the funeral.  She is even funnier as part of a duo teaming up with Seth Trosclair who plays her ne’er-do-well husband and Bud’s younger son, Junior.  Giving a strong performance in his own right, the two provide some comedic highlights as they bicker like a battling married couple, mostly caused by Junior’s infidelity. Seth is briefly in the opening scene as Bud Turpin dying grandiosely which results in the lunatic antics of the rest of the Turpin family. Russell Krogsgard, an old, old, Playmakers favorite, always a commanding presence on stage, gives an interesting portrayal of the diarrhea prone Reverend H. Noval. He is at his comedic best as he tries to say something nice in his eulogy to the dearly departed Bud. He also shows up later in another role that we won’t reveal here.            Kaitlyn Seiler proves you don’t have to have a lot of lines to standout.  Without a spoken word, she plays the food loving daughter of Raynelle, Delightful, in a way that makes it a delight to watch.  As an aria interlude, Mary West, Lottie Palazzo, Kasey Blue and Kaitlyn Seiler perform a quick number as the Joy of Life Singers. Joe Sanders, a frequent performer on the Northshore, contributes an amusing cameo as Raybud’s good buddy. Rounding out this talented ensemble with brief notable appearances are Catie West and Missie Arata Noel.            The assistant director is Weston Twardowski and the play is produced by Kay Files. The simple set is designed by Melanie Burck, Russell Krogsgard, Paula Leffmann and Linda Nato that allows the audience to focus on the actors. Costumes are the work of  Elizabeth Pfeffer Willliams

            Other evening performances are on November 10, 11, 17, 18 at 8:00pm. Matinee performances are on Sunday, November 12 and 19 at 2:00pm.  Tickets are $10.00 for adults, $5:00 for students. For information or ticket reservations, call the Playmakers box office at 985-893-1671.   



The Information represented here in no way influences or represents decisions by the Board of Playmakers. If the information is incorrect, please notify Playmakers. This is done as a free service. All changes must be approved by the Board of Playmakers. Contents of this site PlayMakers, Inc. 2001, PO Box 724, Covington, LA. 70434 or phone 985-893-1671 for reservations.

Dearly Departed Yellow T-Shirt


Ticket Prices
Adult $10.00
Student $5.00
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Show times
Friday-Saturday @ 8:00pm
Sunday matinee @ 2:00pm

For ticket reservations call 985-893-1671.

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