Earl Hunterson

Earl Hunterson was a construction worker, previously married to Jenna Hunterson. Earl is jealous, stubborn and has a temper. Jenna informs her friends that he got her drunk and they slept together, resulting in her becoming pregnant with their daughter, Lulu Hunterson.

Background and Story

Earl embarked on a romantic relationship with Jenna, when they were both young, and she was vulnerable, after suffering great loss when her mother died and her father was drunk every night. Earl sees Jenna as his possession, the only ‘thing he’s ever loved, the only person who ever belonged to him’ and makes him give her all of the money she earns in tips and wages from her job at Joe’s Pie Diner. He is ‘almost’ talented as a singer and guitarist, and he would write Jenna love songs. In public, he is able to be charming, if cocky, but Jenna bears the brunt of his unhappiness at home.

Employed in construction, he has a laissez-faire attitude towards his job; despite having been disciplined by the foreman because he was late from queuing at Taco Bell, he decides to take the rest of the day off. He is irrational and violent towards his wife, telling her that he lied about how good her cooking was in order to ‘get laid’, and it is only when he goes to physically hit her that she is forced to tell him that she is pregnant.

The first thought that Earl has is that Jenna will love the baby more than she loves him, seemingly unaware that Jenna does not love him anymore. He is not self-aware enough to know he is being jealous, but asks Jenna to make him a promise that she will not love the baby more than him.

On Tuesday nights, Earl goes out drinking with the boys, however, the foreman fires him for being late one too many times. Earl tells the foreman should take the toolbox and ‘shove it up his ass’, putting more pressure on her to earn to support both of them.

This reinforces Jenna’s desire to leave Earl, so she begins to hide money behind his back, so that she can enter the National Pie Bake Off and leave him. Earl discovers money all over the house and gatecrashes the wedding of Dawn and Ogie to pull her away and confront her. He threatens to kill himself if she has been deceiving him, resulting in her saying she has been saving money for a crib.

In hospital, after giving birth to Lulu in hospital, Jenna finally has the courage to tell Earl she doesn’t love him anymore and wants a divorce. He reacts in a violent, aggressive manner threatening Jenna, and tell her she ‘better know her place’, but leaves the hospital.



The role of Earl was originally played by Joe Tippett in the American Repertory Theater production, with Nick Cordero taking over to originate the role on Broadway. Joe returned to the role on Broadway in June 2017. Nick Bailey was the first Earl for the US First National Tour, being succeeded by Jeremy Woodard.

In London’s West End, the role was originated by Peter Hannah, before being played by Tamlyn Henderson.


Matt DeAngelis has played the role of Earl throughout gaps in casting and during cast holidays/absence.

West End


NameEarl Hunterson
OccupationConstruction Worker
SpouseJenna Hunterson
ChildLulu Hunterson
Original CastNick Cordero Broadway
Peter Hannah West End
Nick Bailey First National Tour