The Laughter Continues with Southern Fried Funeral!  

Pioneer Playhouse of Danville continues its 72nd season under the stars with Southern Fried Funeral, a heartfelt comedy about one quirky family coming together for their patriarch’s funeral. The play, which opens on July 6 and runs through July 24, was penned by the popular playwriting team of Osborne and Eppler.

Southern Fried Funeral is perfect for our audiences,” notes Heather Henson, managing director of the historic theatre her father, Eben C. Henson, founded in 1950.  “It has outrageously funny moments, but it’s also full of heart and soul with characters everybody can recognize and identify with.”

Set in a small Mississippi town, Southern Fried Funeral begins with local Dewey Frye’s death, an event that not only leaves his wife, Dorothy (played by longtime Pioneer Playhouse favorite, Patricia Hammond), to contend with sudden widowhood, but also to deal with a snake-in-the-grass brother-in-law (another Playhouse favorite, Daniel Hall Kuhn), a nosy church lady (newcomer Ashley Rose Jones), a son who thinks he’s won the lottery (second year alum Adian Chapman), and a couple of grown daughters (returning actresses Erika Lee Sengstack and Jessa DeLuca) acting like toddlers.

“As the official description of the play says, funerals can bring out the best and the worst, but also the funniest in people,” Henson acknowledges. “This play definitely puts an emphasis on the funny. It shows how laughter can get us through even the toughest of times.”

Southern Fried Funeral is directed by Jennifer Goff, Assistant Professor of Theatre at Centre College in Danville.

“We have a terrific relationship with Centre,” says Robby Henson, artistic director of the historic theatre, and brother to Heather. “Along with First Southern National Bank, Centre College is sponsoring this play. We also have several company members, both on stage and behind the scenes, who are either past or present Centre students.”

“We love our cast and crew this year, and we love our sponsors,” adds Heather.  “It’s our 72nd season here in Danville, and we could not keep going without all the support we receive, both from our sponsors and from our loyal patrons, some of whom have been coming since the very beginning!”

Southern Fried Funeral is the second show in the 2021 summer season, and will run nightly, Tuesdays through Saturdays. A home-cooked, hickory-smoked BBQ dinner (choice of pulled pork or pulled chicken) is available at 7:00 pm each evening before the show, which begins at 8:30 pm. Beer, wine and spirits are served at a bar inside the grounds to those 21 years and older.

Pioneer Playhouse is located at 840 Stanford Road in Danville. Tickets are $20 for show only; $35 for dinner and show. Discounts are available for kids and for groups.  Shows are outdoors, and performances will continue during light rain. If shows are canceled due to severe weather, rain checks or refunds will be given. Call the box office at 859-236-2747 or go online at for more information and to purchase tickets.

Pioneer Playhouse Opens With Hilarious Comedy!  

 Pioneer Playhouse of Danville will open for its 72nd season under the stars on June 11 with Clue: On Stage, a zany adaptation of everyone’s favorite board game and cult classic movie.

“We’re so happy to be back to doing a full season,” says artistic director, Robby Henson, son of Col. Eben C. Henson, founder of Kentucky’s oldest outdoor theatre.  “Last year we had an abbreviated season, but this year, we’re back in full swing.”

Rehearsals on the historic stage have been underway since Memorial Day weekend, and much of the cast are familiar faces to those who attend Pioneer Playhouse shows regularly. Patricia Hammond and Daniel Hall Kuhn are two actors who have been traveling to Danville each summer for almost twenty years.

“Both Pat and Daniel have big followings here. Our patrons love seeing them on stage,” says Heather Henson, sister to Robby, and managing director of the theatre her dad started in 1950. “We also have Erika Lee Sengstack coming back for her seventh year, and Jessa DeLuca is on her third year with us. Also, Giancarlo Herrera, a terrific young actor from a few seasons ago has returned as well.”

“To say that Clue is a complicated show, is a big understatement,” adds Robby Henson, who is also directing the first show of the 2021 summer season. “Having such an incredibly strong cast makes a huge difference.”

Clue: On Stage is a relatively new play. The board game, which was originally created in England in the 1940’s under the name Cluedo, has been hugely popular throughout the world and through the decades. Clue was made into a movie in 1985 with big names such as Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn, Lesley Ann Warren, and Eileen Brennan, and Christopher Lloyd. The movie continues to be a cult classic today.  There is also a musical version of the game.

“We read this fairly new stage adaptation, and we just knew it was perfect for the Playhouse,” says Robby Henson. “Lots of energy, lots of mistaken identity, lots of silly characters running around trying to figure out what’s going on and who’s the murderer.”

“Our audiences are going to love it,” adds Heather Henson.  “It’s perfect for the times. Everyone needs to get out and laugh about now.”

And Robby Henson would like to emphasize the word out.

“My dad built a huge outdoor amphitheater and dining patio, and it’s the reason we were able to open for a short season last summer; it’s the reason we’re confident about opening for a full season this year,” Robby says.

“We’ve been doing theatre outside and under the stars for 72 years, and we’re still going strong, even during a pandemic,” adds Heather. “I guess we’re doing something right!”

Clue: On Stage runs June 11 through July 3, nightly, Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8:30 pm. A delicious home-cooked BBQ dinner is available before the show at 7:00 pm in the outdoor courtyard. Dinner and show is $35 per person; Show only is $20. Pioneer Playhouse is located at 840 Stanford Road in Danville, KY. A full schedule of plays and information can be found at or by calling the box office at 859-236-2747.

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Free t-shirt with Patron Pass purchase!


It’s a HIP, NEW T-SHIRT, designed by local artist Brandon Long, and approved by Miss Charlotte!

Patron Passes are ON SALE now! REDUCED PRICE till January 1, 2021!

And IF YOU BUY A PATRON PASS, you get a coupon for a FREE T-SHIRT!! (2 Free t-shirt coupons with purchase of Super Passes!)

It’s the PERFECT CHRISTMAS GIFT for that special someone on your list!

Until January 1, 2021
Patron Passes for six admissions are $90 each (save $10!)
Super Passes for ten admissions are $150 each (save $15)

Call the Box Office, Mondays-Fridays, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 pm, 859-236-2747 or go online,

One free voucher with Patron Pass
Two free vouchers with Super Pass

Must pick up t-shirt in person or redeem voucher. (No t-shirt shipping).

See you next summer … safely outdoors and under the stars!

Announcing our 72nd season in the Bluegrass…

A little different, but still the same uniquely Kentucky experience you’ve come to love! 

Three Plays + One Comedy Weekend + One Music Weekend = Fun under the Stars!

Clue: On Stage
Adapted from the Paramount Pictures film written by Jonathan Lynn, and the board game from Hasbro, Inc.
June 11 – July 3  — Three week run!
Kentucky premiere! Straight from Broadway!

It’s a dark and stormy night, and you’ve been invited to a most unusual dinner party! You’re given an alias, a choice of weapons, and the host is, well, dead! So…whodunnit? And more importantly, who’s next? Join iconic oddballs Scarlet, Plum, White, Green, Peacock, and Mustard as they race to find the murderer before the body count at Boddy Manor stacks up!  Rated PG.

Southern Fried Funeral
By Osborne and Eppler
July 6 – July 24 – Three week run!

Dewey Frye is dead, and the rest of his family is left to pick up the pieces – if they don’t kill each other first! Not only must Dorothy Frye deal with sudden widowhood, she must also contend with a snake-in-the-grass brother-in-law, a nosy church lady, and a couple of grown daughters who’ve decided to act like toddlers. Funerals bring out the worst, the best…and the funniest in people! A big-hearted comedy about family – Southern style! Rated G.

Jeeves in Bloom
Adapted by Margaret Raether 
from the stories of PG Wodehouse
July 27 – August 7  — Two week run!

The quiet English countryside will never be the same after Bertie Wooster and his unflappable butler, Jeeves, pay a visit! What starts as a plan to play matchmaker for a tongue-tied, newt-loving friend goes hilariously wrong. Soon Bertie is fending off unwanted amorous advances, a bungling burglary, and a homicidal French chef! Can the one and only Jeeves save the day? A delightfully silly and high-energy comedy!
Rated G.


Special Stand-Up Comedy Weekend starring Joe Deuce and Friends!
August 13 & 14

New! Live Music Weekend!

August 20
A night of Rock n’ Soul with Horns! High energy band playing your favorite songs from the 60’s and 70’s! Don’t forget your dancing shoes!

Elvis Under the Stars!
August 21
A very special evening with Elvis Tribute Artist Barry Lockard (Breaking Up with Elvis) and friends! Channeling the King and paying homage to the Rupp Arena “concert that never was.” 

Note on safety precautions. Please read!

We are opening July 31st!  

We want to provide the Playhouse experience you know and love and keep everyone safe.

Seating capacity will be reduced to promote social distancing. Masks for patrons are required. Only one family member should come to the box office window.  You are welcome to make reservations online, but please do not print them out. They will be given to you when you come to the show  Please come early so there is not a crowd rush at show time.

DINNER: we will serve our delicious barbecue dinner but it will be boxed and brought to your table. Any reservation should tell us how many chicken and how many beef preferences in your party.  No reservations can be taken after 3PM on the day of show.