Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Back from the dead

Posted June 23, 2008

I went on vacation and died. Did you miss me?

I played the mean and surly Bud Turpin in the play "Dearly Departed" at Raleigh's Theatre in the Park Sunday. My one time cameo role was to die at the start of the play and then assume a seat in the audience and enjoy the rest of the show as my true self.

What a wonderful production! The show is a hilarious spoof on Southern families and religion. “Dearly Departed” has been described as the confluence of Hee Haw and The Andy Griffith Show. Lots of great laughs. You should check it out if you can get a ticket. Performances are scheduled Friday night and Sunday afternoon at the theatre on Pullen Road in Raleigh near NC State University.

Frances Stanley was sensational as the sanctimonius Aunt Marguerite. She was perfect for the part. The other cast members were also terrific. Hats off to the versatile and rib tickling team of Janis Coville, Bob Harris, Phil Crone, Meg Dietrich, Jeffrey Nugent, Larry Evans, Kelly McConkey, Leanne Norton-Heintz and Margo Schuler.

I would like to thank Theatre in the Park director Ira David Wood for the invitation. I had a great time.

Today's question: what is your favorite theatrical performance? Please discuss.


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  • NCSUBAEstudent Jun 23, 2008

    Bill's blog has inspired me to buy a set of tickets to see my first play directed by Ira David Wood. I'm going to see "Dearly Departed" on Friday. I hope I like it! I can't wait to see "A Christmas Carol" this year as well!

  • thefensk Jun 23, 2008

    Was privileged to see Greater Tuna performed by the writers/originators in Austin TX in the early 1980s ... won't ever forget that one.

  • fishnett5977 Jun 23, 2008

    I did go see "The Lost Colony" a couple of years ago! I loved it!!! If the big productions are like this only better, I'm SOLD!!!lol Thanks, mdoodle! I'll check it out! I love musicals! My favorite dvd is "My Fair Lady" with Rex Harrison!

  • tennispro Jun 23, 2008

    Mama Mia is a must see!! I saw it on Broadway in New York!! The music is fantastic!!

  • tripletmommy Jun 23, 2008

    My all-time favorite was the NC Theatre Production of Wizard of Oz with Ira David Wood as the Wicked Witch - truly hysterical!!! I have tickets for Peter Pan with him as Captain Hook in July, and I can't wait! Also, it's just not Christmas until I see Theatre in the Park's version of A Christmas Carol.

  • nggeoteach Jun 23, 2008

    High school (Clayton): Our Town
    College (ASU): Fiddler on the Roof
    Raleigh Little Theater: 12 Angry Men & annual Cinderella is a special treat
    Theater in Park: Christmas Carol ~ of course as only Wood can contemporize
    Outdoor drama: The Lost Colony w/Andy Griffith no less and original Cora Mae
    Off Broadway: In the Heights (made it to the Big Lights now)
    Broadway: Phantom w/Micahel Crawford -> followed closely by Les Miz -> more recently Wicked. . . even West Side Story and Ave. Q're good enough to mention

  • blytle Jun 23, 2008

    prayergirl: Check out North Carolina Theatre's schedule for the coming year. They are doing Miss Saigon.

  • blytle Jun 23, 2008

    fishnett: The musical Wicked is MUCH EASIER to follow than the book. The musical takes a few liberties and changes a few things, but does not interfere with the meaning of the story -- just takes the complexity and gives it an easier flow. You would LOVE the musical. Check out North Carolina Theatre and Broadway Series South if you like musicals. They are in the process of selling season tickets for the coming season.

  • RaliwacagaNative Jun 23, 2008

    Glad you're back, Mr. Lazarus, er.. Leslie!

    Without a doubt, my past favorites were Dracula with Frank Langella, The Wiz with Stephanioe Mills and Miss Saigon. The Open House Theatre company had some of the best local theater productions i have seen.

  • Mmaker52 Jun 23, 2008

    Such a close call...would say Phanthom of the Opera is #1 and Hello Dolly with Carol Channing very close second!! Both Outstanding




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Bill Leslie