LUVERNE — With its show airing in syndication for decades, the beloved comedy "The Beverly Hillbillies" will come to life on the stage of Luverne’s Palace Theatre starting Friday.
The Green Earth Players has cast several familiar faces — as well as many new theater buffs — into the roles of the Clampetts, the Drysdales and the Bodines for the production. Directing the cast is Jacquiline Pierce-Humke, with her son, Pierce Humke, as assistant director.
Pierce-Humke has directed more than half a dozen productions for the Green Earth Players. She’s excited about leading the cast of "The Beverly Hillbillies."
“This is such an iconic show,” she said, noting that the production closely follows the TV series, not the movie by the same name that was released in 1993. "The Beverly Hillbillies" aired from September 1962 to March 1971. Today, its episodes can be found rebroadcast on MeTV and Hulu, and can be searched on YouTube.
The play is comprised of scenes from the first four or five seasons of the television show, Pierce-Humke notes. It begins with the Clampetts — Jed (played by Jim Harsma), his daughter Elly May (Kieren Shea Humke) and his mother, Granny (DJ Luethje) — selling off oil drilling rights on their land in the Ozarks after Jed accidentally discovers “liquid gold.”
When relatives encourage them to move to California, they pack up their belongings and hit the road to Beverly Hills.
“They chose some very memorable scenes — episodes that really stick out in people’s minds (for the play),” Pierce-Humke said, noting a couple in particular, such as when Elly May has a gentleman caller, and how Elly May reacts to Jethro and the women attracted to him.
“If (people have) watched any of the episodes recently, they’ll remember a lot about them,” she added.
The 18 cast members were actually instructed to watch the old television episodes to help them get into character.
“These characters are so well known,” Pierce-Humke said. “I told them to pick up on those mannerisms — the little things they do — because that’s who they are.
“It’s fun to see the mannerisms they’ve picked up,” she added. “Elly May always has such an innocent face; Jethro is always smiling.”
What makes "The Beverly Hillbillies" entertaining is the misunderstandings that happen when the “backwoods” Clampetts get to know their new neighbors, the wealthy and extravagant people of Beverly Hills.
“(The Clampetts) believe they’re so helpful and so kind, and totally misunderstand what everyone around them is talking about,” Pierce-Humke said. “They’re so charming. Everyone wants to have friends like them. Everything they do is sincere and for the good of other people.”
Pierce-Humke is pleased with the actors and actresses cast in the roles, saying some of the characters are the strongest she’s seen in a long while.
“There’s some really good talent,” she added.
Roughly half of the cast members are relative newcomers to theater, assistant director Humke shared.
Show times for "The Beverly Hillbillies" are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Nov. 10. A second weekend of shows begins Nov. 21, with 7:30 p.m. curtain calls daily through Nov. 23. The final show is a 2 p.m. matinee Nov. 24.
For ticket information or reservations, go online to palacetheatre.us or call the Palace Theatre box office at (507) 283-4339 between noon and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.