The show must go on, and the Panhandle Players are making sure it will, as they prepare for their opening show next week.
Jerry Hurley’s first play, a Southern comedy set in Apalachicola, “Secrets and Sweet Tea,” will kick off the season at the Chapman Auditorium on Friday evening, Nov. 30, followed by a Saturday evening performance Dec. 1 and a Sunday matinee, De. 2.
The show had been originally slated for the weekend of Oct. 19-21 but Hurricane Michael’s wrath on the eve of tech week forced the show’s postponement.
In moving the show to the first weekend of December, the Panhandle Players decided to cancel their original plans to stage the holiday show, “A Nice Family Christmas” that weekend.
While this is Hurley’s first stab at writing a play, he’s no stranger to comic writing, last year publishing “Wildcrafting, And Other Stories I Share Only With My Friends,” a comic memoir of growing up in West Virginia, the heart of Appalachia.
He’ll be making a cameo appearance as Samuel Strainwhistle, an Apalachicola millionaire who lies in repose throughout the show, set in the funeral home owned by mortician Mr. Sladem (Scott Wilson).
Appearing as Beulah Mae Strainwhistle, the middle-aged spinster daughter who cared for her father, will be Megan Shiver, accompanied by her cousin Ida Shellingsworth (Katie Davis) and the town gossip Gertie Gilkerson (Jeana Crozier).
Betty Bender, the town’s aging working girl, will be played by Joan Matey, while Ken Carpenter, the town stud, is played by newcomer Eric Olsen, and Woody Stump, the village idiot, by Royce Rolstad, a veteran actor.
Because she was forced to relocate to Georgia after her Mexico Beach home was hit hard by the storm, Bonnie Casey has been replaced in the role of Ruby Butterworth, funeral home cleaning lady, by Liz Sisung. Ruby’s teenaged grandson Jeremy will be played by River Sheridan.
Rounding out the cast will be Mayor Clark (Tom Loughridge), Pastor Neaze (Bob Inguagiato), and Thorbin Maston, Samuel’s attorney, and reader of the will, played by Torben Madson.
Veteran director Judy Loftus, from St. Joe Beach, is directing the show.
Evenings performances are at 7:3 p.m., the matinee at 3 p.m. For tickets, go to www.panhandleplayers.com For more info, call 850-991-0021