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Merced Arts showcases 'Dearly Departed'
playhouse pic
The cast of Merced County Arts Council's production of "Dearly Departed" portray the Turpin family and friends. - photo by Photo Contributed

“Dearly Departed,” a two act comedy about an eccentric Southern family gathering together for the funeral of the patriarch, begins a two-weekend run at the Merced County Arts Council Friday.

“Dearly Departed” is written by David Bottrell and Jessie Jones, and tells the story of the dysfunctional Turpin family.  After the death of Bud Turpin, Bud’s wife Raynelle tries to juggle her complicated life with her sons Ray-Bud and Junior and daughter Delightful.  The Turpins turn for comfort to their friends and neighbors, an eccentric community of misfits who just manage to pull themselves together and help each other through their hours of need.   
“Dearly Departed” had a successful off-Broadway run in 1991 and has become a standard show in regional and community theatre circuits.  The New York Daily News wrote "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."
Playhouse Merced’s production is directed by Corey Strauss and features local actors Dave Elam as Ray, Dianne Kocher as Raynelle, Matt Capron as Ray-Bud, Justin Choi as Junior, Casie Bonstein as Delightful.  Other cast includes Melissa Beckwith, G.B. Blackmon III, Elena Carter, Liz Ceccarelli, Amber Fowler, Jilliann Giacalone, Dan Hong, Theresa Hong, Garrett Mayer, Bernadette Mello, Sheila Noel, Rachel Rodrigues, and Meganne Ward-Kocher.
This show is rated "T" — recommended for teens 13 and above for some mature subject matter.

“Dearly Departed” opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday, and plays two weekends at the Merced County Arts Council through Jan. 20.  Tickets are on sale now for Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.  Tickets prices: Adults $20; seniors $19; students $10; children $8.  Purchase tickets by calling 725-8587, or visiting the box office at 452 West Main in downtown Merced, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.