‘Dearly Beloved,’ we are gathered here to laugh

Published 1:26 pm Friday, January 5, 2024

JRT to present Southern-fried comedy “Dearly Beloved”

Here comes the bride…maybe?
Coming up next at Jonesborough Repertory Theatre is the hilarious Southern-fried comedy Dearly Beloved written by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, and Jamie Wooten. Performance dates are Jan. 19 – Feb. 4, with Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evening performances at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. A Sunday evening performance is also scheduled for Jan. 28 at 7:30 p.m.
The Futrelle-Price wedding is the talk of the community in the small town of Fayro, Texas, population 3,003, but not everything is exactly going to plan. Honey Raye, the prodigal Futrelle sister, has returned for the wedding which stirs up old wounds with her two sisters Twink and Frankie. The minister has been thrown in a “drunk tank for preachers;” the smell of greasy barbecue has engulfed the church sanctuary; and what was intended to be an elegant wedding dinner is now a “supper on the grounds” with swiss turnip bake, cheddar tuna whippy, and an infamous bean pot.
Oh, and has anyone seen the bride and groom?
And that’s just the beginning. One of the ladies is battling hot flashes but refuses to accept she is going through the “change,” the mother of the groom is determined to halt the wedding, the mother of the bride is guarding a big secret, and a palm reading from Nelda the town psychic has set the course for pure chaos.
The JRT production is directed by Joe Smith who has directed nine plays written by the Jones Hope Wooten team.
“They have a tremendous gift for writing laugh-out-loud shows,” said Smith, who first directed Dearly Beloved back in 2007. “Their works have entertained millions of audience members here in the U.S. and around the world, and when you see Dearly Beloved, which was their first show, you will understand why.
“They have the ability to create characters and situations that quickly resonate with the audiences,” he said. “Dearly Beloved is pure genius, and I’ve spent more than a decade dreaming of having the opportunity to bring it to stage again. When I first directed this show 16 years ago, few here in our community had heard of the show or the Jones Hope Wooten team, but after opening weekend, word-of-mouth reviews brought the remaining shows to a complete sell-out. People were lined up outside the theatre to get any leftover tickets.”
Since then, the Jones Hope Wooten team has written over 20 comedies, including The Wild Women of Winedale, which received its world premiere at JRT in 2018.
The JRT production stars Becky Edmisten, Janette Gaines, Caleb Hale, Gleason Holt, Chris Jones, Dylan Martin, Joy Nagy, Melissa Nipper, Justin Reilly, Catherine Squibb, Diane Taveau, and Krista Wharton, with standbys Kathleen Dameron, Liz Dollar, Angela Grigsby, Steve Humphrey, Bennett Little, and Bryttany Todd.
The creative team includes Emma Perry as stage manager, Liz Dollar as assistant director, Bennett Little as assistant director and lighting designer, Bryttany Todd as assistant stage manager, crew members J.J. Lane, Fritz Hagemeier and Melissa Nipper, Karen Elb as set designer, Kaeli Gardner as sound designer, wig styles by Lorianne Carver, Kari Tuthill as lighting technician, and Travis Dugger as sound technician.
Tickets are $18 general admission, $16 for students and seniors. There is also a special group rate for parties of 15 or more. To purchase tickets, call the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center at 423-753-1010 or go online to jonesboroughtheatre.com.

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