The Theatre Blog: The Futrelle-ogy at TAG

TAG’s Futrelle-ogy is a rootin’ tootin’ hollerin’ good ole time!  Don’t miss this great trilogy of plays closing this weekend at TAG, December 8 – 11, 2011!  Tickets available at


The uber-talented cast and crew over at The Actors’ Group outdo themselves with a trifecta presentation of Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten’s Futrelle-ogy series of plays:  “Dearly Beloved,” “Christmas Belles,” and “Southern Hospitality.”  In putting together my reflections on this current slate of offerings from TAG it cannot be understated that in the normal production schedule of staged theatre it is difficult enough to stage one play but to do three plays simultaneously is nearly unheard of (or at least it is to me anyway as a casual observer)!  Our friends at TAG though pull off this superhuman feat with flying colors as I found each production crisp and refreshingly hilarious and a great way to spend both an evening as well as my hard-earned dollar.

Over the past several weeks I’ve had the pleasure of seeing each installment of the Futrelle-ogy.  I saw “Dearly Beloved” and “Southern Hospitality” back to back on November 19 and 20 respectively a few weeks ago and finished the trilogy off this past weekend on the 4th with Christmas Belles.  (I couldn’t in good conscience watch a Christmas play before Thanksgiving — just doesn’t feel right).

General Synopsis:

The Futrelle-ogy over the course of these three plays follows the misadventures of the Futrelle sisters (Honey Rae, Frankie, Twink and Rhonda Lynn played by Victoria Gail-White, Constance Hassell, Kathy Bowers and Michele Malinda respectively) and their extended family and friends who are all denizens of Fayro, TX.  Comedies at heart it often feels like you’re enjoying something similar to a cross between a sitcom or a series of Hee-Haw episodes.  I know for myself over the course of 3 plays I grew quite attached to our whacky cast of Fayro-ites.

From the TAG website here’s a brief synopsis of each individual play:

Dearly Beloved

Frankie has almost made herself sick with elaborate preparations for her daughter Tina Jo’s antebellum-inspired wedding, and the rumor mill in their small town of Fayro, Texas, is working overtime. No surprise there, the Futrelle Sisters have never been strangers to gossip. After all, they did survive the scandalous breakup of their almost-famous gospel singing trio, The Sermonettes. But Twink’s desperate attempts to get her boyfriend of fifteen-and-one-half years down the aisle, Frankie’s ongoing conversations with their dead mother, and Honey Raye’s tendency to race to the altar at every opportunity have kept tongues wagging for years.

Christmas Belles

It’s Christmas time in the small town of Fayro, Texas, and the Futrelle Sisters – Frankie, Twink and Honey Raye – are not exactly in a festive mood. A cranky Frankie is weeks overdue with her second set of twins. Twink, recently jilted and bitter about it, is in jail for inadvertently burning down half the town. And hot-flash-suffering Honey Raye is desperately trying to keep the Tabernacle of the Lamb’s Christmas Program from spiraling into chaos.

Southern Hospitality

The Futrelle Sisters – Frankie, Twink, Honey Raye and Rhonda Lynn – are in trouble again. This time, the problem is bigger than ever:  their beloved hometown, Fayro, Texas, is in danger of disappearing and it’s up to the sisters to save it from extinction.  Ever since the Super SmartMart and the rendering plant closed, folks have been leaving Fayro in droves, but Honey Raye, with a major assist from her former nemesis, Geneva Musgrave, has come up with a possible solution.

Watching each of these plays the Southern charm definitely permeated each production.  I for one definitely appreciated the efforts of the cast in bringing each of these characters to life and felt like a member of the community by the time the 3rd play started and was indeed a bit sad to let go of the lovely folks of Fayro by the time the final lights dimmed at the end of the third play.

Some of the cast of characters, aside from the eponymous Futrelle sisters, I came to enjoy in particular:

  • Futrelle daughter Tina Jo/Gina Jo (Dusty Behner):  Played to a hilt as the sweet girl-next door/farmer’s daughter type.  I actually really enjoyed Behner’s portrayal and hope to see more of her in the coming year on local stages (she starred as Tina in MVT’s Tony and Tina’s Wedding earlier this year).
  • Futrelle husband Dub Dubberly (Dale Hathaway):  Male patriarch of the family who was incredibly charming in his work.
  • Town preacher Justin Waverly (Tony Nickelsen):  he had a ton of great punchlines 🙂  I also enjoyed Nickelsen immensely and hope to see more of him in 2012 on the local stage.
  • Town sheriff John Curtis (Bob Stevens):  hilarious town Sheriff (think Roscoe from Dukes of Hazzard) who always had me rolling each time he had to draw his gun
  • Town nice guy Raynerd Chisum (John Wythe White):  played to a hilt as the sweet soul of the earth country guy (think Mater from Disney/Pixar’s Cars)
  • Town florist Geneva Musgrave (Mary Pat Sjostrom):  We need a Boo Koo Bouquet, lol

Overall, I highly recommend seeing any and all of these plays this weekend for whatever you can fit in in your schedule.  All shows are very hilarious and very charming.  You’ll get your money’s worth of laughs and smiles much like you would with your favorite sitcom.  Take a trip down south to Fayro, TX this weekend with your friends at TAG.

Dearly Beloved closes on Friday, December 9, 2011, 7:30 p.m.
Christmas Belles closes on Saturday, December 10, 2011, 7:30 p.m.
Southern Hospitality finishes up on Thursday, December 8, 2011, 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, December 11, 2011, 2:00 p.m.
General Admission: $20.00, Senior: $15, Student and Military (w/ ID):  $12.
You can purchase all 3 plays for $45.00
All seats on Thursday:  $12.00


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