Come and listen to the Lyric Theatre’s story about a man named Jed — a mountaineer who was so poor, he could barely keep his family fed.
Jed, of course, is Jed Clampett, who with Granny, Jethro, Elly May, the Drysdales, Miss Hathaway and other characters, found fame in the hit television show “The Beverly Hillbillies.”
The somewhat eccentric but endearing family comes to the Lyric stage with the Lyric Theatre’s production of “The Beverly Hillbillies,” which opens Friday, Feb. 17 for a six-performance run.
“It’s lots of fun — very much a comedy,” director Larry Mathis said. “The vision we had was for each of the major characters — particularly the Clampetts and the Drysdales and Miss Hathaway — we wanted (the actors) to create a persona that would be recognizable in relationship to the original characters, but at the same time create their own identities.
“And for the most part I think they’ve done a really good job of doing that. It’s one of those things where we want people to come and not have to think about anything other than laughing and just having a good time. There is a storyline, obviously, that you have to follow, but it’s not complicated. It’s really simple and we just want them to enjoy the funness of the show.”
As the Lyric Theatre website explains, the play starts in the Clampetts’ mountain cabin and follows them through the discovery of oil, their improbable invasion of hi-falutin’ Beverly Hills society and the adventures they encounter there.
The play is based on playwright David Rogers’ script and includes some new characters who weren’t seen in any of the episodes of the television show’s run from 1962-1971.
The Lyric cast will feature many performers already familiar to
Brownwood audiences. They will include Jennifer Reeves as Granny, Jeff
Lewis as Jed Clampett, Gabi Guest as Elly May, Sam Cox as George
Turner, Paul Underwood as Brewster, Torri Choate as Cousin Pearl,
Matthew McNiece as Jethro, Stephen Haynes as Mr. Drysdale, Joy Renée
Blackstock as Mrs. Drysdale, Jill Underwood as Miss Hathaway, Suzi
Harkey as Mrs. Pennyweather, Nicholas Yeakley as Percy, Carlee
Richardson as Gloria Mundy, Keren Myers as Emaline Fetty, Doug House
as Colonel Foxhall, Jodie Armstrong as Mrs. Stokely-Smythe, Carl Wayne
as Mr. Oglethorpe, Sandra Richardson as Mrs. Oglethorpe, April
Alexander as Groovy Monahan, Joe Don Taylor as Frank Richards, and
Stephanie Lewis, Patti Kilpatrick, Holly Blanton, Tisha Goodrich and
Jen Williams as firefighters and party guests.
The complex and elaborate set includes the Clampetts’ mountain home — presumably in the Ozark Mountain in Arkansas — as well as banker Melbourne Drysdale’s office and a portion of the interior of the Clampetts’ California mansion.
Much of the play takes plays in the mansion’s ornate parlor room, which prompted Mathis to say, “it is elaborate. It’s probably the most elaborate set at least that I’ve done for the Lyric.
“My problem: how do you create the effect of a mansion on a stage that is only 25-foot wide by 25-feet deep?”
Mathis said he sketched what he envisioned the set should look like, and Randy Harkey and Jimmy Henry “helped take it from being just a vision on paper to the real thing. And those guys are both incredibly talented.”
The set includes a short staircase that leads to a section of a second story, columns and railings, along with mansion-appropriate furnishings.
There is also a large piece that represents the front of the mansion, but that piece is pulled up out of the way part way through the show to reveal the parlor room.
“The greatest percentage of the show takes places inside the mansion,” Mathis said.
“Therem are quite a few sound effects in the show. It’s a pretty complex set. But the storyline is quite simple. Complex set, simple storyline. We just simply want people come and just have a good time.”
Show times are:
• Friday, Feb. 17 — 7:30 p.m.
• Saturday, Feb. 18 — 7:30 p.m.
• Sunday, Feb. 19 — 2:30 p.m.
• Friday, Feb. 24 — 7:30 p.m.
• Saturday, Feb. 25 — 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 26 — 2:30 p.m.