Musical history of Port Aransas slated
"A Mostly True History of Port Aransas, Texas" will be the next production at the Port Aransas Community Theatre (PACT).
It will open Thursday, Jan. 17, with a 7:30 p.m. performance. Night performances will continue Friday and Saturday, Jan. 18-19; Thursday, Jan. 24 and Saturday, Jan. 26; and Thursday through Saturday, Jan 31 through Feb. 2 and Feb. 7-9. Matinees will be held on Sundays, Jan. 27 and Feb. 10, at 2:30 p.m. No performances will be held Friday, Jan. 25, as it is homecoming for the students in the play.
The original script written by Jane Bull evolved from a vignette she created as a fundraiser for the Port Aransas Preservation and Historical Association (PAPHA) several years ago.
The script was so well received that she agreed to write an expanded version, with a stipulation that it would be performed on the PACT stage.
Bull's frequent stage partner, Katie Crysup-Sikes, agreed to direct her mentor's labor of love, which turned out to be a long-distance collaboration because Bull now lives in San Antonio.
Bull said she enjoyed conducting extensive research and interviewing dozens of local folks and former residents to compose a humorous retrospective of a colorful and charming community. The characters and events are not necessarily representative of actual people and history.
The play covers a period when the native Karankawa Indians lived on the island to present day. The primary setting and music come from the 1950s and 1960s, with several original scores.
A most unusual narrator named Hurri Cane, a fictional timeless character who has seen it all, holds the action together, Bull said.
"I promise," Bull said. "This is like nothing you've ever seen on the PACT stage before."
The cast includes Phyllis Layne, Ginny Shaw, Jack Dreessen, Eric Hawes, Laura Crocker, Bill McKinney, Chloe Tugwell, Margaret "Marg" Paton, Ashley Gant and Katie Crysup-Sikes.
Layne made her PACT debut in the 2000 opener, "Y-2K Millennium Review and Nostalgia" and then made her acting debut in "Ladies of the Mop" in 2001. She also has performed in PACT musicals such as "Broads of the Boards", "Your Hit Parade", "Get Outta My Head", and this past year in "We Love to See You Smile".
She performed for six years with a gospel group called "Sonlight", traveling in Oklahoma and Texas singing her favorite music. She has owned The Crazy Cajun Restaurant and lived in Port Aransas for 20 years. She says her greatest accomplishments are her two grandsons, Maxx and Chase. Layne said she absolutely loves doing theater with PACT, where she has met wonderful people and made lifelong friends. She especially looks forward to performing in Jane Bull productions.
Shaw is a pre-kindergarten teacher at H.G. Olsen Elementary School. She's enjoyed a long-term love affair with the theater since she first became involved in a regional, amateur variety show back home in Wales, where she performed, produced and directed the show for more than 20 years. Shaw has been a singer with several bands and choirs, which included a performance for the Queen of England. She said she is delighted and excited upon her return to the stage after a lengthy break.
Dreessen is a native of Moore, Okla., who moved to Port Aransas five years ago. Before retiring, he held numerous executive positions in business and government.
He currently sings bass with the choir at Community Presbyterian Church; is the treasurer of PACT; is the treasurer for Keep Port Aransas Beautiful and is on the board of directors for the Art Center for the Islands.
A winner of three Sandy Awards, Dreessen has appeared in the PACT productions of "Welcome to the Pea Patch, Boys", "Cheatin'", "Defending the Home Front", "A Bad Year for Tomatoes" and "We Love to See You Smile".
Hawes is a senior at Port Aransas High School. This is the seventh PACT show in which he has performed. Shows include "Grease", "A Streetcar Named Desire", "We Love to See You Smile", "Into the Woods Jr.," Duet" and "Christmas Cabaret".
At school, Hawes is involved in tennis, academic UIL competitions and band, while holding down a part-time job. He leaves for college in August to study drama and history.
Crocker moved to Port Aransas from Austin about two years ago and immediately fell in love with the community and with PACT. She has 30 years of professional ballet experience and performed professionally for 10 years in musicals and comedies in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. This is her fourth PACT production, and she said she loves it.
McKinney lives in Corpus Christi but spends much of his time in Port Aransas. He sings with the choir and as a soloist at Community Presbyterian Church. He has been involved with PACT on stage and as a volunteer set builder for several years. Despite his experience, McKinney said he often feels outclassed by his fellow performers, but plans to continue with PACT as long as he's enjoying it. He said when he came to Texas a few years back, he planned a semi-retired existence, but this goal has yet to be fulfilled.
Tugwell first performed on stage at the age of 4, when she played a role in a large-scale production of the musical "Carousel". She was part of a dance school for five years in Wales, where she received exemplary awards in ballet. She continued with a stage school where she participated in several shows, including a professional performance of
"Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat" and a professional musical concert with the tribute band "Think Floyd". During this experience she auditioned for several movies including "Harry Potter". Tugwell moved to the United States in 2002 and became involved with drama competitions at Port Aransas High School where she is junior. This is Tugwell's second production with PACT, and she hopes it's not her last.
Paton and her husband Larry were not born in Texas, but they got here as quickly as they could after retiring in Minnesota in 2002. For several years they were full-time RVers traveling the country, but they eventually put down roots on North Padre Island. Marg Paton has appeared in several PACT productions and Larry Paton has become known as "the man in the tech booth". He said that manipulating lights and sound at the theater is the only time he has any control over what his wife says or does.
Gant is a junior at Port Aransas High School where she is part of one of the most fun cheer squads around, she says. Gant performed in her first play many years and two theatre buildings ago, with a performance of "Alice in Wonderland". She played a card guard, but said there are no small parts, just small actors, which is what Gant was at the age of 5. She also performed with a group in New Mexico for two years, mostly dancing and singing. This represents a return to the stage for Gant, who said she hopes more opportunities lie ahead.
Crysup-Sikes is a veteran PACT performer, director and board member. She's been involved with community theater since she was 4 in the East Texas town of Rusk. She is a fourth generation University of Texas Longhorn with a master's degree from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. She is a microbiologist by degree and a middle school science and drama teacher by profession at Seashore Middle Academy on Padre Island.
While this may not be her swan song, Bull said that following this production she plans to take a break from PACT. How long of a break, she's not saying.
Contact Bull for more information at (361) 318-3694 or by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.