Pinewood Players Announce Changes to 2018 Play Line Up

Pinewood Players is proud to announce the following changes to the previous announced 2018 schedule.

Our first adult play will beAspirin and Elephants” written by Jerry Mayer, directed by Les Maurseth. Les is no stranger to the Pinewood Playhouse Main Stage with credits for “Wrong Window,” “Bells are Ringing,” “Blithe Spirit,” “Be My Baby,” and “Bus Stop.” He also successfully produced the 2017 Reader’s Theater. This will be Les’s directorial debut and we are all looking forward to his initial production.

“Aspirin and Elephants” is a hilarious, award winning romantic comedy with six very strong roles bursting with the kind of witty dialogue actors love and audiences rave about. It is a laugh-filled, emotionally moving comedy about marriage, family relationships and overcoming life’s reverses. Scroll down to read a synopsis of the play. Play dates are June 15, 16, 17 and June 22, 23, 24.

Our second adult play “Southern Fried Funeral” is a comedy written by Osborne and Eppler, directed by Linda Sustman. Linda’s Pinewood Playhouse directing debut  was in 2017 as director of the very successful and  hilarious comedy “The Crazy Quilt Club” which played to sell out audience last season. Linda has a long list of credits for producing and directing in the Houston, Texas area where she and husband Scott live in the off-season and have won several prestigious community awards including “Citizens of the Year” in 2012, the “Charlie Award” voted by the cast and crew for the most outstanding contribution to “The Walden Follies” in 2009 and “Walden Woman of the Year” in 2014.

“Southern Fried Funeral” is a genuinely funny play that offers an accurate, if somewhat derivative, perspective on Southern manners and traditions. The characters are as colorfully wacky as you’d find in any Southern neighborhood and the relationships are as richly diverse as you would expect to find there. Scroll down to read the play synopsis and review. Play dates are August 3, 4, 5 and August 10, 11, 12.

The box office and online ticket sales are still months away from opening, but you will want to mark your calendar to make sure you get your season tickets early for what promises to be one of the most entertaining Theatre in the Pines seasons ever.

Aspirin & Elephants Synopsis

ASPIRIN & ELEPHANTS is LIFE presented as a hilarious romantic comedy with the kind of witty dialogue audiences rave about. This award-winning play shows what happens in the lives of an upscale mother and father who take their two married daughters and sons-in-law on a North Sea cruise to celebrate their fortieth anniversary.

The father is still recovering from a recent heart attack.  (His heart attack explains the title of the play – he jokes about his coronary, which felt like an elephant sitting on his chest and now he must take an aspirin every day.)  She is a strong wife/mother who works hard to keep her husband healing and the family functioning – in other words, she helps them all navigate life.  The two daughters and their husbands have their own life issues.  Does that sound like LIFE?  Sound familiar?

While on their cruise “life” happens to all of them – all of their real-life issues – health, sex, work, financial, love – failures and successes.  Watching them deal with all those issues will keep you laughing, even after you begin to feel the emotion.

The professional opening of Aspirin & Elephants ran for two years.  Pinewood Players production opens June 15, 2018, but will only run for 6 performances over two weekends.  So put it on your calendar now, you don’t want to miss this one.

Southern Fried Funeral Synopsis and Review

 Bless their hearts; J. Dietz Osborne and Nate Eppler have scored a bona fide hit with their latest collaboration “Southern Fried Funeral.” The play is genuinely funny while being affectionate toward the cast of characters created by the playwrights. The comedy offers a view into Southern manners and traditions.

Clearly, Osborne and Eppler are writing about people, places and things they have known from birth. They display an impressive knowledge of what constitutes proper funeral etiquette and the peculiarly Southern way of life and death in all its “Jesus Called…And Dewey Answered” glory!

Throughout the plays you’ll see flashes of Robert Harling’s Steel Magnolias and Fannie Flagg’s Fried Green Tomatoes.  The playwrights succeed in adding their own unique voices to that softly lilting cacophony of regional drawls. The characters have clearly defined personalities, all of whom speak in their own individual voices. The dialogue created by Osborne and Eppler is wonderfully genuine.

Set in the small Mississippi town of New Edinburgh, the play’s action takes place over several days in August during the funeral of Dewey Frye, who dropped dead in the middle of a joke to the Rotarians during their dinner meeting. His wife, Dorothy, is faced with dealing with funeral arrangements, the realities of widowhood and a crazy assemblage of family.

The characters are as colorfully wacky as you’d find in any Southern neighborhood and the relationships are as richly diverse as you would expect to find. There are Dorothy and Dewey’s three children: Harlene, the black sheep daughter who made off for Dallas at the first opportunity; Sammy Jo, the younger daughter who personifies contemporary Southern belle perfection and Dewey Jr., aka “Dew Drop” who’s kinda daft in a sweetly weird way.

Adding to the equation is Dub Frye, the late Dewey’s dastardly brother, with just the right blend of condescension and smarmy Southern charm.

The cast also includes Atticus Van Leer, the Frye family’s consigliere (that’s “lawyer” for all you hicks out there) Sammy Jo’s adoring husband (who obviously loves her despite the fact that she’s overbearing and bossy). The cast is completed by five friends (of a sort) of the Frye family.

The play’s action is propelled along at a strong pace and creates tableaux that makes for pleasing visual effects onstage. The actors will have a grand time with “Southern Fried Funeral” which will translate wonderfully onstage, making it a surefire hit with audiences. The play will run August 3, 4, 5 and August 10, 11, 12.


Pinewood Players Election Results

The Pinewood Players Board of Directors election was held during the General Membership Meeting on September 9. We wish to congratulate the four newly elected members:

Bill Heckman
Cheryl Parker
Dee Spain
Dovie Templin

We also with to thank the retiring members Vy Amour, Nancy Del Duca, Pam Solace and Melanie Westmark for their service to Pinewood Players. Bill Gibney also left the Board as Past President Adviser and was replaced by Pam Solace.

The Board of Directors met on Saturday, September 16 in an organizational meeting to seat the newly elected Board Members and to elect the Executive Officers of President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary. The results of the Executive Officer election is below:

President: Dan Slocum
Vice President: Lori Prescott
Treasurer: Chris Murphy
Secretary: Andy Harper

The process of appointing  Standing Committee Chairpersons was also begun at the organization meeting. A complete list of Committee Chairpersons will be sent in a separate message once all chair positions have been filled.

Communique from Pinewood Players/PWCC Committee

Special Communique from the Pinewood Players/Club Committee

Dear Pinewood Player members:

We continue to hear rumors and wrong information about the agreement we reached with Pinewood Country Club and how Pinewood Players is to be managed in the future. We prepared a list of Questions and Answers to address these rumors and your questions.  But there are a few things we wish to make sure you know:

Pinewood Players, Inc., was founded in 1997 and incorporated as a non-profit in that same year.  However, prior to incorporation as a non-profit, Pinewood Players was always a member organization of Pinewood Country Club.  We have records showing that in 1995, for example, tickets for plays were being sold out of the Country Club’s office.  We have other documentation showing that information about joining Pinewood Players was directed to Pinewood Country Club members, not unlike the Pickleball-Tennis group soliciting new members in recent times.  Plays were performed on the Club’s premises.  Everyone in the Pinewood proper was part of Pinewood Country Club at that time.  When Pinewood Players, Inc. was formed in 1997 as a non-profit all members of Pinewood Players were members of Pinewood Country Club.

In 2001, after a time period in which some members brought a law suit to the Club about the dues equalization vote, property owners in Munds Park were no longer required to pay Country Club dues.  The lawsuit did nothing to change the relationship between Pinewood Country Club and its member group, Pinewood Players.   Over all these 20+ years, the vast majority of Pinewood Players members have been Country Club members.  Member’s guest were allowed to participate, but they had to pay Player’s dues for an Associate membership and they had no voting privileges.  We learned later from other documentation that Associate members had to “stay behind the scenes”, which meant not participate as an actor/actress.

Fast track to 2012, when Pinewood Players and the Country Club analyzed the current situation and found that more and more people were actively participating in plays yet were not members of the Club. In addition, kids and grandkids of Club members were being overlooked for drama camp, while non-members’ family members were given parts.  The drama camp, and how it was to be run and for whom, was the impetus of the discussions about Pinewood Players in 2012.

The Pinewood Players has a lease that guarantees use of the Playhouse for $1 per year, through 2025.  The Country Club provides parking for the plays and for members as they come back and forth for rehearsal.  The Country Club provides rehearsal space when it is able to, inside and outside of the Club buildings.  The Country Club maintains the surrounding grounds.  Yes, Pinewood Players does some maintenance on the building, pays some of the electric bill, and has also invested monies in upgrading the internal building facilities. The $1 lease payment has not been paid in several years, if ever, showing what we think is a good faith effort on the Country Club to treat Pinewood Players like any other of its member groups.  The Club also restricts its evening music activities on nights when there are plays so the music will not interfere with the productions.

The Boards of both organizations successfully came up with a solution in 2012 that was viewed as a good one by the majority, but not all, of Pinewood Players members and Club members.  Keep in mind that Country Club members who learned that non-members were participating in plays and enjoying the benefits of this amateur theatre were questioning us as to how these folks could do so without paying their share for the Club’s operations, etc.  The relations between Pinewood Players and Pinewood Country Club at that time were somewhat challenging, because there were non-Club members who didn’t care one bit what the Club did, as long as they could have the theatre and its amenities available to them.  The committees that worked on a solution in 2012 agreed to grandfather 18 individuals from Club membership through 2019.  They were encouraged to try the Club’s other amenities for no cost of a period of time.

In 2016, however, Bill Gibney, then President of Pinewood Players that year, asked the Country Club to forever grandfather those individual who were still active and put the issue of membership to rest for these folks.  With this new agreement, we did just that.  We recognize that Pinewood Players is an asset to the Club.  It is an asset to Munds Park, in that the general public can see amateur productions for entertainment, and the agreement we reached also allows for non-club member’s children to participate in Drama Camp if there is room.   But in the end, it is Country Club members who pay the taxes, maintain the overall property, and provide an entire building to be used solely by a drama group of the Club.

While presenting this opportunity to the people who are grandfathered – meaning they never have to pay Club dues yet can participate fully in Pinewood Players – it is ultimately their choice on how to proceed.  We have taken a risk in making that decision, because others have told us that arrangement is not fair to dues-paying members.  We urge everyone to stay with Pinewood Players and the Club, but if in good conscious you cannot, it is probably time to move on and halt the negativity.  We are here to have a good time.  We are fortunate to have a social club that offers many outlets for enjoying life.  Let’s all do that.


The Pinewood Players/Club Committee

p.s.  We will be in the Club’s Green Room from 4:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. (at the beginning of Happy Hour) on Wednesday, August 16th, should you want to stop by and ask us any questions.  Or, you may also contact anyone of us prior to that with any questions or feedback you have.

 Margaret Dyekman,

Les Maurseth,

Georgia Osborne,

Pam Solace,

Pinewood Players & Pinewood Country Club
Agreement Frequently Asked Questions

We have asked a number of members about the recent announcement of the motions passed by both Pinewood Players Board of Directors and the Pinewood Country Club Board of Directors. From their responses, we have developed a list of FAQ’s. We hope this list will be helpful to promote a better understanding of some components of the agreement. If you have additional questions please contact any of the Committee members shown above or use the CONTACT US feature in the pull down menu on or send your questions via

Q: Why are we seeing these new policies now?
A: The policies are not new. They have been in effect since 2012 when an agreement was reached with the Pinewood Country Club that continued their relationship and set some guidelines for how the two groups worked together. That agreement was to culminate in 2020. Committees from both Pinewood Players and Pinewood Country Club have been working since the end of last season to find a way to accelerate and make permanent the components of that 2012 agreement. There is little that is new in the motions passed by both boards except to be more specific in some areas where the 2012 agreement required some clarification.

Q: Is Pinewood Players part of Pinewood Country Club?
A: Yes. Pinewood Players was created by 5 Country Club members 27 years ago in 1990.  Plays were held in the Country Club Showroom and the Library for some time.  When the audiences became so large as to spread out into the lobby, a better solution was sought, hence the Playhouse which had previously been an activities center building. The Country Club allowed Pinewood Players to lease the building for the sum of $1 per year and those terms remain in place to this day.  In 2002 a legal action impacting the entire community caused changes in Country Club membership. As an unintended consequence Players membership was allowed to expand beyond club members until finally in 2012 the Country Club Board took note of the situation and determined that it was time that Club membership requirements should be enforced. A committee of two board members from each organization hammered out a compromise agreement which went into effect in 2012 and was to culminate in 2020 with country club membership required to participate in production activities (acting, stage management and light and sound operators) with no exceptions. Among other things, the 2012 agreement allowed for a classification of non-country club members for Pinewood Players and it also “Grandfathered” some non-club members to allow them to participate in production activities until 2020. The groups have been operating under this agreement for the past 5 years.

Q: What activities are Pinewood Players members who are not members of the Country Club allowed to participate in?
A: Pinewood Players members who do not belong to the Country Club may participate in a number of activities such as set building, set painting, set decoration, backstage crew, make-up, costumes, ushering, ticket sales, housekeeping, web site, carnival, drama camp volunteers and virtually all other volunteer activities. The only activities that are excluded are on-stage production activities: acting, stage managing and light and sound operations.

Q: How did the list of “Grandfathered” individuals come about and how were the grandfathered members selected? 
A: The “Grandfathered” category was created by the original 2012 agreement as a concession to Pinewood Players during the negotiation of that agreement with the Country Club. At that time the list included around 18 individuals including couples. These Pinewood Players members were allowed to continue to participate in all activities including acting, stage manager and sounds and lights because they were long-time Pinewood Players members and critical key contributors to the organization. However, there was a time limit established of 2020 when all grandfathered individuals would have to become Country Club members or they would no longer be allowed to participate in the production activities. The motions passed last month allow the grandfathered members to continue to participate in acting, stage management and light and sound operation as long as they are Pinewood Players members and desire to participate. The list of grandfathered members is comprised of those members who were on the original grandfathered list who are still active in Pinewood Players. Several of the individuals on the original 2012 list are no longer in Munds Park or active in the organization. These people were not included in the new agreement.
Q: Are non-Country Club members ever allowed to participate in production activities?
A: While Pinewood Country Club members are given priority in the acting, stage management and lighting and sound operator roles, there is flexibility in the agreement in cases where cast members are unable to fulfill their roles and Country Club members cannot be found to replace them.  The flexibility also applies if there are insufficient Country Club members available to fill all the roles. There is a simple process and procedure which the Director can follow in these cases to gain approval for non-Country Club members to be able to fill these roles.

Q: Are you allowed to direct if you are a non-Country Club member?
A: Yes. Directors are paid independent contractors. They do not have to be members of the Country Club.

Q: Are children and grandchildren of Pinewood Players members who are not Country Club members allowed to attend the drama camps.
A: The agreement gives priority to Pinewood Country Club members and their families. If there are still vacancies in the camps not filled by Country Club families after a sufficient time has been allowed for registration, the agreement allows non-Country Club members to participate. The Drama Camp Administrator also has the option to increase the size of the camps to accommodate additional participants. This has been done in the past.



Pinewood Players Founders Honored

To: Joan Gorges, Jim and Vel Hedberg

Founding Members, Pinewood Players

The Board of Directors of Pinewood Players would like to thank you for your amazing foresight and vision in the founding of our wonderful community theatre.  Your hard work, tenacity and unwavering support of the theatre has not gone unnoticed.  You are always in attendance, quietly supporting others without drawing attention to the fact that your decisions many years ago led to the theatre’s very existence and the success of over 100 productions.  The theatre has provided exposure to the wonderfully creative process of creating magic on the stage and has profoundly affected several generations of Munds Park residents. We are all the grateful recipients of your service to the community.  It is not possible to enumerate the life enriching exposures to theatre or the countless favorite memories you have helped to create.  Please know that the legacy of your hard work is one that continues to bless and enrich us all.

We have instructed the ticketing company that you are to receive two complimentary tickets to each of the three productions this summer and for each of the wonderful summers ahead. Thank you once again for your gift to us all.  Please choose your preferred dates and contact Eileen Jones @ 602-996-5192 to receive your tickets.





Scholarship Awards

Pinewood Players Award 2017 Scholarships

By Penny Petersen

Pinewood Players is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2017 PWP Scholarship competition.   Sophia Drapeau and Kirsten Ryder will each receive an award of $2,000 toward college expenses.

The purpose of the program is to assist students who have a close connection to Munds Park and attend college in a field connected to the arts (theatre, music, dance, performing arts education and technical theatre.)  Former participants in the PWP drama camps are urged to apply.  Candidates are required to have theatre or other performing arts area as their declared major or minor.

Sophia Drapeau, granddaughter of Nancy and Bart Del Duca, graduated from St. Mary’s High School in Phoenix with a GPA of 4.3.   Her goal is to receive a Bachelor of Fine Arts in acting.   She will be attending New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts this fall.  Sophia is a past participant in the PWP Drama Camp where she performed in Perfect Pirates,  Annie, and 101 Dalmations  (Cruella.)

Counting high school plays and those in the valley, Sophia has more than 40 productions to her credit including,  Anything Goes, The Importance of  Being Earnest, Much Ado About Nothing,  Harvey, Into The Woods, Curious Savage, and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  In addition to PWP, she’s performed with Valley Youth Theatre, Southwest Shakespeare, Phoenix Theatre, and has done commercials.    She is also proficient in dance.

Sophia served as Student Body President at St. Mary’s, is a member of the National Honor Society, and has several Best Actress awards.

“I am so grateful to Pinewood Players for introducing me to theatre,”  said Sophia.  “I credit my love for acting entirely to Pinewood Players.”

Kirsten Ryder is the granddaughter of Lynn and Lou Rouyer and the daughter of Debbie Ryder who has been a director of past Kidz Kamp productionsShe graduated from Jefferson Preparatory High School in Glendale with a GPA of 4.0.   She will be attending NAU and studying Early Childhood Education with a minor in Theatre Arts.  She is a past participant in the PWP Drama Camp and served as a counselor for the camp for three years.

Kirsten began acting at age three.  Some of the productions she has appeared in include School House Rock, Alice in Wonderland (Alice), Footloose,   and Once on This Island.   She regularly sang the National Anthem at sporting events and is well known for her singing voice.

Kirsten served as Student Body President, is a member of the National Honor Society, and received Actress of the Year awards both her junior and senior years.  She was also selected as Student of the Month and was team captain of the Regional Volleyball All-star Team.

“I can’t imagine a future without being involved on a stage or behind the scenes of a production,” said Kirsten.  “I see how much the theatre has helped to build my confidence and given me the ability to present myself to others in a more polished manner.”

Criteria used to select recipients included the following:  Experience in High School theatre and community productions, academic performance, extra-curricular activities, selection of a major or minor in performing arts,  honors received in the arts, an essay regarding how the scholarship will be utilized, and letters of recommendation.

Serving on the selection committee were Rich Dahl (chair), Cheryl Parker, Dee Spain, Penny Petersen and Frank Hess.

A fund raising event is being planned for later in the summer.  All funds raised will benefit the PWP Scholarship Program.