Dearly Beloved poised to bring laughs, love

By Lisa Burnett Originally Published May 5, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated May 3, 2013 at 1:00 p.m.
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Lisa Burnett

Sally Graham, who plays the mother of the groom in the Royal Players’ production of Dearly Beloved, gets pointers from director Frank Butler during rehearsal Monday night at the Royal Theatre in Benton. The show will be presented Thursday through May 12 and May 16-19.

— The Royal Players are preparing to make Benton residents laugh once again. The players will present Dearly Beloved, a Jones-Hope-Wooten comedy, Thursday through May 12 and May 16-19 at The Royal Theatre in Benton.

Frank Butler, director, said the production will bring a lot of laughs to everyone who attends.

“It’s a very funny show,” Butler said.

Susan Dill, who is the producer of Dearly Beloved, said it can be described as a “Southern-fried farce.”

Dill said the play follows the Futrelle sisters: Frankie, Honey Raye and Twink, while they plan a wedding for one of Frankie’s daughters, Tina Jo.

“[Frankie] is going through all sorts of stress with the wedding, and her two sisters get into all sorts of catastrophes along the way,” Dill said.

The Futrelle sisters used to be a singing group, The Sermonettes, but they became estranged, and the wedding is an event that will bring the trio back together, Dill said.

“I think [the audience] will see a lot of their family in the show,” Butler said.

The story is based in Fayro, Texas, so it has a lot of “Southern” references, Butler said. Despite the drama that ensues, Butler said that in the end, everything works out for the best.

“It’s about family and how love does eventually conquer all,” Butler said.

Randall Earnest, who plays Wiley Hicks, Twink’s boyfriend, said he likes the familiarity of the play. He said he has been acting at the Royal Theatre for the past eight years.

“[Dearly Beloved] will be very familiar to any person who grew up in the South,” Earnest said.

Rachel Bland plays “the twins,” Tina Jo and Gina Jo in Dearly Beloved.

“I love being in a comedy,” Bland said. “It’s really fun to play two completely opposite characters.”

Bland also said the play will bring many laughs to audience members.

“They’re going to find it a hoot and a half,” Bland said. “You’ll find yourself laughing for two hours.”

Susan and Mark Troillett, who were recently married, play Frankie and Dub Dubberly, respectively, in Dearly Beloved.

“It’s our first time on stage as husband and wife,” Susan said.

Mark said he is excited to play opposite his new bride.

“[This play] carries you through different emotions,” Mark said. “Jones-Hope-Wooten comedies are slapstick and funny.”

Susan said she enjoys acting in plays at the Royal Theatre because of the people with whom she gets to interact.

“Acting in [The Royal Theatre] makes us feel special,” Susan said. “I always like to meet and work with new people.”

Tickets for Dearly Beloved may be purchased online at or at the door.

Staff writer Lisa Burnett can be reached at (501) 244-4307 or

Online News Editor Lisa Burnett can be reached at

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