Hershey Area Playhouse Presents Dearly Departed

HERSHEY, Pa., January 29, 2019 – Hershey Area Playhouse is proud to present the first mainstage show of its 20th Anniversary Season, Dearly Departed, a comedy by David Bottrell and Jessie Jones.

In the Baptist backwoods of the Bible Belt, the beleaguered Turpin family proves that living and dying in the South are seldom tidy and always hilarious. Despite their earnest efforts to pull themselves together for their father's funeral, the Turpins' other problems keep overshadowing the solemn occasion: Firstborn Ray-Bud drinks himself silly as the funeral bills mount; Junior, the younger son, is juggling financial ruin, a pack of no-neck monster kids, and a wife who suspects him of infidelity in the family car; their spinster sister, Delightful, copes with death as she does life, by devouring junk food; and all the neighbors add more than two cents.

As the situation becomes fraught with mishap, Ray-Bud says to his long-suffering wife, "When I die, don't tell nobody. Just bury me in the backyard and tell everybody I left you." Amidst the chaos, the Turpins turn for comfort to their friends and neighbors, an eccentric community of misfits who just manage to pull together and help each other through their hours of need, and finally, the funeral.

“Not since Steel Magnolias has a more colorful and dysfunctional group of Southern eccentrics gathered below the Mason-Dixon line. 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. "If you were amused by the kind of bucolic mayhem of…GREATER TUNA, this more ambitious trip down a rustic main street could be just your dish of cola." —NY Post. "Dearly Departed is drop dead funny." —NY Daily News.

“It’s said that “every family has one” special member that stands out as being a bit odd. I dare you to decide which one that would be in this romp through the Turpin household,” director Lois Heagy said. “I directed this show ten years ago and still laugh and the antics and the personalities of this family and their neighbors. Nothing could happen without the talents of the actors and crew that pulled together and made this a (dysfunctional) family affair.”

The actors that bring this dysfunctional family to life are: Sunshine Rishel as Raynelle Turpin; Steve Dincau as Ray-Bud Turpin; Marte Engle as Lucille Turpin; Glenn Muir as Junior Turpin; Shelby Snyder as Suzanne Turpin; Kathy Luft as Marguerite Hall; Jason Pecho as Royce Hall; Jilly Harris as Juanita Turpin; Colleen Barno as Delightful Turpin; Kurt Dise as Reverend Hooker; Bridget Still as Veda Tucker; Amy Hiler as Nadine; Mike Stubbs as Norval Tucker/Clyde/Bud Turpin; Alyssa Adams & Molly Sargent as Nadine’s kids; and David Maletz as Cecil Depew

In addition to Heagy, the production team working behind the scenes for Dearly Departed include Rachel Koppenhaver, stage manager; Becky Jenkins, David Yoder, Amy Skeel, Brittany Laird, and Steph Toth, stage crew; David Maletz, stage crew chief; Laurie Miller Petersen, fight director; Carlton Hoke and Jeff Miller, set designers, builders, and painters; Stephen Jahn, sound designer; and Allison Barno, sound operator.

Experience the history of Dearly Departed, running February 7-10 & 14-17, 2019. Thursday through Saturday performances begin at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday performances begin at 2 p.m.


Tickets are $20 for teens/adults and $17 for those ages 12 and under. Tickets are available by visiting or by calling the Playhouse's box office at 717-533-8525.