Mindy Lucas

Regional theater group brings award-winning comedy to Port Royal

(Left to right) Kay Owens, Kelley Ard, Christa Fortney, Dave Falls and Roscoe Sandlin (in bed) play in the upcoming comedy “Daddy’s Dyin’ – Who’s Got the Will?” at The Shed in Port Royal.
(Left to right) Kay Owens, Kelley Ard, Christa Fortney, Dave Falls and Roscoe Sandlin (in bed) play in the upcoming comedy “Daddy’s Dyin’ – Who’s Got the Will?” at The Shed in Port Royal. Submitted

If you’ve ever been embroiled in a family drama — and let’s face it, who in the South hasn’t — a new production opening this week in Port Royal feels your pain.

Or at least makes light of your situation, if only for a little while.

“Daddy’s Dyin’ – Who’s Got the Will?” — an award-winning comedy by American playwright and producer Del Shores — will open at The Shed this Friday.

It’s the second show Coastal Stage Productions has presented at The Shed and it won’t be the last for the area.

The Ridgeland-based traveling theater group which opened in 2014 is making a name for itself with well-attended and sold-out productions around the region. The company’s production of “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” packed The Shed in November and the comedic-thriller “Deathtrap” which ran in Bluffton in March also sold out.

“Daddy’s Dyin’” will feature actors from the area as well as veteran director Christine Grefe.

While it’s not the only thing the company does, Southern-based comedies, or “family-situation” ensemble productions are just some of what the company has been doing lately. The company plans to continue along those lines this fall when it takes on “Steel Magnolias.”

“We want to do something each year that people in the Lowcountry or the area will relate to,” said Rodney Vaughn, co-producer along with Luke Cleveland, in the company.

Vaughn, who has been working in theater in the Lowcountry since 2009, has said time and again he aims to make theater accessible to communities around the region.

Or perhaps he’s just aiming for “a good time was had by all.”

Set in a small Texas town, “Daddy’s Dyin’” opens with the reunion of a family gathered to await the imminent death of their patriarch, who has recently suffered a disabling stroke.

Debuting in 1987, the play was later made into a feature film starring Beau Bridges, Beverly D’Angelo and Keith Carradine. “Daddy’s Dyin’” unfolds “like a good summer novel,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“I use the phrase, ‘It’s more fun than a family reunion.’” said Vaughn, adding that there are touching moments that may make you cry and a great deal of hilarity in between.

“I think the overall theme is that if you’re together as a family, you can conquer any obstacles,” he said. “It’s empowering in the way these characters come together.”

If You Go

Coastal Stage Productions will offer a Friday and Saturday dinner theater experience to accompany “Daddy’s Dyin’ – Who’s Got the Will?” The dinner is professionally catered and will feature locally sourced ingredients.

Doors open at 6 p.m. with dinner served at 6:30 p.m. May 20 and May 21. Performances start at 8 p.m. Or, for those who only want to attend the performances, doors open at 7:30 p.m.

On Sunday, doors open for the performance-only matinee at 1:30 p.m. and the show starts at 2 p.m.

Dinner theater tickets are $48 and are available only in advance. The deadline for dinner theater tickets is May 18. Performance only tickets are $18 in advance; $20 at the door. Discounts are available for seniors, students and members of the military but are only available online.

For details call 912-656-1598 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com.