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.


Volunteers Needed: Lighting & Sound

Lighting and Sound Operators: Volunteer Position – At least 3 individuals needed.  Pinewood Players is in need of Sound and Lighting operators for the 2018 season. Some experience with sound or lighting equipment is a plus but not a requirement. Pinewood Players will train interested candidates to operate the sound and lighting control boards for the 2018 plays. The positions involve operating the sound and lighting systems for technical run through,  dress rehearsals and live performances. Each candidate would likely be assigned to one play during the season (at least one technical run through, two dress rehearsals and six performances total, Friday, Saturday evenings and Sunday Matinee on two consecutive weekends). Anyone interested in learning these skills and supporting our  2018 live theater performances by performing these very critical functions,  please contact Dan Slocum at or call (480)415-8410.

College Scholarships Available

Last year, the Pinewood Players initiated a scholarship program designed to assist students who want to attend a college or university and study some form of theater arts.  Up to two scholarships of $2,000 each are being offered.

Scholarship awards are intended to aid students who have a close connection to Munds Park, maintain a high grade average, and demonstrate leadership qualities.  Young people who have participated in the Pinewood Drama Camps are encouraged to apply.  The expectation is that a scholarship recipient will pursue at least a minor in a theatre field such as acting, directing, music, dance, or technical fields such as lighting, sound, scene design and/or performing arts education.  They must enroll full time and participate in some way in college productions.  Recipients may attend any accredited two or four year college or university without regard to location.

Applications are now being accepted. The application form can be found and printed by clicking on Scholarship under the Drama Camp menu item on our website.  Applications are due by May 15.  They are also available by contacting  Rich Dahl at PO Box 18484, Munds Park, AZ 86017.

Last years’ recipients were Claire Haller and Mandy Tomkins.  Both had previously attended Drama Camp and are now in their first year of college level study. Decisions regarding recipients or our scholarships are made by the PWP Scholarship Committee and Board of Directors.