Event News Releases

El Paseo Arts Brings Broadway to SPI with Broadway’s Next Hit Musical

Every song is fresh.
Every scene is new.
Every night is different.
It’s all improvised and it’s all funny.

It’s tough enough being in a musical. You have to learn lines, perfect all of the songs and know exactly where you have to be on the stage. But imagining doing a musical where you have an idea of the basic premise, but the songs and lines change every night. You’re never sure what might happen, but you know you have to go out and put on a great show. That’s the challenge that faces the performers in Broadway’s Next Hit Musical. Every night, a new audience helps to create a brand new show. That’s what makes it the most unique, and the funniest musical you will ever see.

El Paseo Arts Foundation is delighted to be able to bring the fabulous, Off-Broadway musical, Broadways’ Next Hit Musical, on December 4, 5, and 6, 2018, to the South Padre Island Convention Center. Rated by Broadway.com as one of the Top 10 Broadway musicals, this is a show that The New York Times called “Hilarious” and Time Out NY raved, “At last! A musical of, for and by the people.

The theatre experience begins as soon as the audience begins to arrive. Audience members are asked to create a made-up song title that they drop into a fish bowl. Cast members are waiting on a red carpet to conduct pre-show interviews with audience members. Then, when the curtain goes up, the first part of the performance begins. An emcee welcomes the audience to the only non-scripted musical theatrical awards show where four singers will be vying for a “Phony Award”. Each singer draws a song title out of the fish bowl and, on the spot, creates a song, with accompaniment, based on the title. It’s the Tony Awards meets “Whose line is It Anyway?” Then the audience votes on which of the four songs they like the best and the second part of the show begins. That’s when all the performers create a full-blown musical complete with memorable characters, costumes, memorable characters, witty dialogue, and plot twists galore.

Broadway’s Next Hit Musical has recently been seen at the Triad Theatre (W. 77th St. in New York), the Tribeca Film Festival, and at the New York Musical Theater Festival. Under the direction of improv veterans Rob Schiffmann and Deb Rabbai, Theater Week hailed the show as “brilliant”, and The New York Post called Broadway’s Next Hit Musical “remarkable.”

Every night it’s a different performance so it’s a musical that you may want to see more than once. It’s also a performance that is totally family friendly – a perfect show for children to see. Doors open for patrons at 6:30 p.m. and a cash bar is available. The curtain goes up on the performance at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for this fabulous production are $30 per person/$25 for El Paseo Arts members. Tickets are available for purchase at Paragraphs Book Store, S.O.S., the Art Gallery in Lighthouse Square and online at http://www.elpaseoarts.org. Student tickets, priced at $10, are available only at Paragraphs Book Store.

This is a must-see event for everyone. As the New York Post said, it has “a spontaneity, wit and inventiveness that must be seen to be believed!” You don’t want to miss the next great Broadway musical. It could be written by you!

El Paseo Arts Foundation Joins FAMfest Celebration with A’lante Flamenco Dance Troupe
As part of the celebration of South Padre Island’s FAMfest (Film, Art and Music Festival), El Paseo Arts Foundation is delighted to present an encore performance by the A’lante Flamenco Dance Ensemble on Friday and Saturday, November 16th and 17th, 2018, at the nightclub located at 5908 Padre Blvd.

The dance troupe and musicians will present a brand new program entitled Anochecer (Nightfall). Everybody knows that flamenco takes place at night – darkness is the only proper backdrop for such a raw, emotional experience. But the moment before is so full of possibility – when light clashes with darkness, when the oranges and reds of sunset sink into the purple mystery of a starry night. It has a name in Spanish –“Anochecer”: Neither day nor night, a moment of stillness before the storm of pulsing, handclapping, rapid-fire footwork, piercing voices and heartbreaking guitar. The program includes Bulerias, Fandangos, Tango, Siguiryas, Sevillanas, Alegrias, Rumba and Garrotin, and features a solo performance by A’lante Flamenco’s artistic director, Olivia Chacón. Those who saw the dance troupe’s performance here last October, will confirm that the performance was electrifying and breathtakingly beautiful. A’lante Flamenco is flamenco at its very best.

A’lante Flamenco Ensemble, based out of Austin, Texas, excites audiences with a blend of traditional and contemporary flamenco music and dance. A’lante Flamenco was formed in 2011 by Artistic Director/Choreographer Olivia Chacón and Music Director Isaí Chacón. Olivia studied flamenco and dance for five years in Madrid and Seville. Her husband and partner Isai, studied flamenco guitar in Spain. Their objective is to present flamenco to Texas and regional audiences in the freshest and most creative way possible. Since its inception, A’lante Flamenco has grown in both size and vision, now incorporating 11 permanent members–7 dancers and 4 musicians–and producing popular traditional flamenco shows as well as innovative flamenco theater works incorporating multimedia and addressing relevant social issues. A’lante Flamenco’s work aims to reach audiences on a visceral level, provoking emotional responses through music and dance that crosses cultural and linguistic boundaries.
A’lante Flamenco’s productions have received acclaim from audiences and critics alike. Awards include the Austin Critics’ Table awards for Best Dancer 2012/2013 (Olivia Chacon in The Red Shoes), Best Dance Ensemble 2013/2014 (for Prophecies) and Best Dance Ensemble 2014/2015 (for Desplazados). The Red Shoes: A Flamenco Fairytale was also chosen as one of the “Best Dance Shows of 2012” by the San Antonio Express-News. A’lante’s newest production, Juana: First I Dream was nominated by the Austin Critics’ Table for “Best Dance Concert” for the 2017/2018 season.
Don’t miss the chance to see this fabulous flamenco troupe perform in an intimate nightclub setting. Only 100 tickets are available for each performance, so be sure to purchase your tickets early. This is a “Special Event” for El Paseo Arts and all tickets are priced at $25 per person. Tickets are available for purchase at Paragraphs Book Store, S.O. S., the Art Gallery in Lighthouse Square and online at http://www.elpaseoarts.org. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. A cash bar is available and there will be table service during the performance. The dance performance begins at 7:30 p.m. For additional information contact info@elpaseoarts.com or call 956-943-4700.

El Paseo Arts Foundation’s Leading Ladies is a Laugh Riot!

El Paseo Arts Foundation is delighted to present their local production of Ken Ludwig’s hilarious farce Leading Ladies, on October 17 and 18, 2018, at the SPI Convention Center. The evening begins at 6:30 p.m. with complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar, and the curtain goes up at 7:30 p.m.
Leading Ladies might be more aptly titled “Men Behaving Badly” or “Some Like It Hot -For a New Generation”. It also subtly draws on the dual identity and gender bending themes of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night to create a doozy of a cross- dressing comedy that “gives the audience something powerful and potent laughter and a guiltless evening of theatre-going.” (Village News) It is a laugh a minute adventure that is full of love, deceit, cheating, stealing and, oh yeah, men in pantyhose.
The time is 1952 and the setting is rural Pennsylvania. The plot concerns Meg Snider, a lovely young lady who dreams of a life as an actress, reciting Shakespeare to audiences around the world. She lives with her wealthy, ailing, but feisty Aunt Florence who is perpetually on the brink of death, but has the surprising capacity to rally when it suits her. The 3 million dollars she’ll leave behind when she dies is of particular interest to Rev. Duncan Wooley, engaged to her lovely niece, Meg. Into this mix comes a pair of washed-up British, Shakespearean actors, Leo Clark and Jack Gable (Clark Gable, get it?).

After a disastrous performance of their production of “Scenes from Shakespeare” at a Moose Lodge in a nearby town, they see an article in a newspaper about a wealthy woman in York, PA who is near death and has been searching for the long lost nephews, Max and Steve. Her dear nephews moved to England with their parents when they were young children. Believing that this opportunity could be the funding they so badly need to get them to Hollywood and a planned production of Julius Caesar, Leo convinces Jack that they should assume the identities of the heirs and claim the fortune. Then, as chance would have it, they meet the pretty and slightly ditzy Audrey on the train to York. She is Meg’s best friend and she tells the two actors about a rich old lady who has just died. The old lady has been searching for her missing nieces (not nephews), cousins of the lovely Meg, who stand to inherit two-thirds of the 3 million. Of course, Leo believes that since they are actors, they are not to be deterred by the fact that the soon to be rich relatives are females not males. He pulls out their bag of costumes and drags the reluctant Jack to the home of their dearly departed Aunt – who it turns out is neither departed nor always dear.

As this play is a farce, it should come as no surprise that Leo falls in love with Meg and Jack falls in love with Audrey. Maxine/Leo convinces the stage struck Meg to perform Twelfth Night at her party the night before her intended marriage to Duncan. She will star with the famous actor Leo Clark whom Meg idolizes and whom Maxine says is her very close friend. This plan allows the two devious actors to spend the rest of the play doing quick costume changes to assume their male and female personas as events demand and woo the girls they love. Also on the scene are the Aunt Florence’s doctor, Doc Myers, and Audrey’s boyfriend Butch – and to coin a phrase, hijinks ensue. Just when you think it can’t get any more hilarious, Ludwig brings on yet another surprise twist, and the play gets funnier and funnier until its almost epic-in-scale ending.

Director Julie Boughter and her assistant Emily Ochoa have assembled a stellar cast of El Paseo Arts Players for the play. Danny Dollar projects style and authority as Leo, the scheming half of the British acting duo. As Maxine, he’s stately and imposing. Hayden Draker is the fall guy Jack, Leo’s partner in crime; and Jack’s “dainty” Stephanie delights with bursts of inspired clowning. Andrea Wright is the spirited and starry-eyed heroine, Meg, striving to break free from her bossy groom-to-be. Mark Shellard boils over with pent up rage as self-righteous and greedy, meddlesome pastor, Duncan. Briana Boughter plays Audrey with the delightful exuberance that makes this ditzy but wholesome girl next door so loveable. Frank Shisler evokes just the right amount of cynicism and confusion as the monumentally inept country quack, and Brandon Cantu is good humoredly dense as Doc’s son, Audrey’s beau, Butch. Finally, DeeOnda Ahadi brings her comic talents to the hilarious portrayal of the rascally matriarch Aunt Florence, who, thankfully, won’t die.
Tickets for Leading Ladies are $30 per person; $25 for El Paseo Arts members. Tickets are available for purchase at Paragraphs Book Store, S.O.S., the Art Gallery in Lighthouse Square and online http://www.elpaseoarts.org.
With a fabulous set and a bevy of costumes to support the actors’ work, this a not-to be-missed night of theatre. The leading ladies in Leading Ladies are no ladies really, but they’re undeniably riotous company. You’ll enjoy every moment of your evening with them.

“The Cowboy Ain’t Dead, Yet!” El Paseo Arts Brings the Texas Cowboy Story to the Stage

“The Cowboy Ain’t Dead Yet!” Well, he ain’t! El Paseo Arts Foundation brings R.J. Vandygriff, an award winning singer/songwriter, playwright and actor -not to mention a pretty darn good cowboy – to the SPI Convention Center stage on September 6, 7, and 8, 2018, to tell the story of Joe Texas, the most inspiring character to ride across the pages of history, the American Cowboy – someone who is still very much a part of Texas life and heritage..

R. J. is at home on stage, in front of a camera, or on horseback in the big pasture. He grew up ridin’ horses and strumming an ol’ guitar, competed in Saddlebronc and Bareback, and worked as a rodeo clown and bullfighter. Some performers sing the songs, but R.J. has lived the songs and he has the scars to prove it. Plus he is pure Texas and tells its story as only a Texan can..

Whether he’s performing as a solo artist or starring in the highly acclaimed musical “The Cowboy Ain’t Dead Yet!” R.J. has the God-given talent to walk on a stage in front of any audience and connect with them. He is one of those performers who “creates” a moment when he steps to the microphone, a moment remembered by all. The set is simple – a campfire, saddle, coral fence, and a couple of steer heads – but it’s effective in creating the scene of a warm summer night on a trail drive listening to the old cowboys tell tales – some very tall, indeed. Some of his stories will have you laughing hysterically and some will touch your heart.

“The Cowboy Ain’t Dead Yet!” is the most successful cowboy show touring! R.J.’s extraordinary talent has also been widely recognized in the field by his peers and he has received some very notable honors for his work. He is a 2014 CMA of Texas Hall of Fame Inductee, was named the 2014 Academy of Western Music “Best Western Male Vocalist”, was honored with the 2013 Cowboy Keeper Award, and won the 2012 Award for Outstanding Original Composition. Plus, he consistently rates in the top 15 of The Most Heard Artists Top 100 List. He has appeared on stage with George Strait, Garth Brooks, Alabama, the Judds, George Jones, Merle Haggard, Moe Bandy, Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats, Domino, Andy Williams, The Sons of the Pioneers, Michael Martin Murphy, Baxter Black, and the San Antonio Symphony, just to name a few.

It is a show not to be missed! Joe sings, twirls a rope, plays harmonica, banjo, and guitar, and throws in a few dance steps. His expressions have been compared to the legendary comic, Red Skelton, his wit to Will Rogers, and his soulful vocal delivery is pure joy to the ear.

The cash bar in the lobby opens at 6:30 p.m., and curtain goes up on the performance at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for the show are $30 per person, $25 for El Paseo Arts members, and because this is a family show, there is a special ticket price of $10 for children 16 and younger (only at Paragraphs or at the door). Tickets are available for purchase at Paragraphs Book Store, S.O.S., the Art Gallery in Lighthouse Square, and online at http://www.elpaseoarts.org.

El Paseo Arts Present Melodrama Fun for the Entire Family

Melodrama is back! The El Paseo Arts Foundation is resurrecting one of its more popular theatrical genres with the upcoming production of “Nickers in a Twist or Never a Dull Chiseler”, under the direction of Judy Brewer. Local actors will be bringing to the boards the premier of this original play by the Houstonian playwright team of Macraigh & Gena Roberts. The show is scheduled for performances on Friday and Saturday, August 24th and 25th, at the SPI Convention Center.
To explain the plot would take far too long, so let’s sum up… “Nickers in a Twist” takes place in your typical old west town – probably in Texas. Twenty years ago a bank robbery went afoul that resulted in a long stretch in the hoosegow for Brigand Chiseler. But today he is being released. However, Sheriff Drab Nickers, his lovely wife, Lacie, and their charming daughter, Frillie, are soon to find themselves in a series of unexpected “twists” and tumultuous turns of events. Though he pretends to be a changed man, Brigand’s rehabilitation, it would seem, has not had the desired effect upon the convicted criminal.
Simply put… melodramas are a hoot! And “Nickers in a Twist or Never a Dull Chiseler” draws upon all the classic components of this traditional theatrical style to elicit audience responses that cover the breadth of cheering on the hero, empathizing with the heroine and – naturally – booing and hissing the villain. If perchance you’ve never had the privilege to participate in a melodrama before… then this is your opportunity. For you veterans of this most unconventional mode of entertainment, you already know what fun it is to watch melodrama.
The cast of El Paseo Arts Foundation local players includes some veteran performers and some talented newcomers. Danny Dollar who starred last season as Dr. Frederick Treves in The Elephant Man and as Garry Essendine in Present Laughter, dons a mustache and assumes the villain’s role as the loquacious and nefarious Brigand Chiseler. The villain in training is the eager Nick Naughtieman, played with great comic timing by Hayden Draker who amazed audiences with his hysterical performance as the eccentric writer Roland Maule in Present Laugher. Chuck Hofmeister, who played the “singing and dancing” reformed felon Mitch Mahoney in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and the sophisticated producer Hugo Lyppiatt in Present Laughter, wears the “White Hat” in “Nickers” and assumes the role of the brave hero, Sheriff Drab Nickers. His first deputy, Dewey Dolittle, Sr. is played by the newcomer to El Paseo Arts, Francisco Partida. He is very distinguished for a deputy and great things are in store for his future. His son in “Nickers”, Dewey, Jr., is played by another talented newcomer, Luis Garza. Carol Kent, a veteran actress from the Harlingen Players, assumes the role of the lovely, romantically inclined and strong-willed heroine, Lacie Camisole Nickers. And finally, Cianna Perez, who delighted audiences with her comedic portrayal of Daphne Stillington in last season’s Present Laughter, plays Lacie’s lovely and equally romantically inclined daughter, Frillie Nickers. Judy Brewer makes her directorial debut with “Nickers in a Twist”. She has acted in numerous El Paseo Arts productions, served as an assistant director, acts as House Manager for the events and is the Vice President of El Paseo Arts Foundation. She is ably assisted by DeeOnda Ahadi, stepping off the stage for this production to learn how a whole play comes together.
As a melodrama presented in the classical style, the show features two “card” ladies, who coach the audience when to cheer the hero or boo the villain. They are played by the lovely Dolores DuBois and Margaret Stockton. There is also a program of Olios – short skits and songs that proceed the first and second acts to “warm up” the audience for the fun to follow. Billy Reilly, veteran El Paseo actor and director, takes on the director’s role again by putting the olio program together and providing the direction for his talented cast of players that includes DeeOnda Ahadi, Rick Alf, Vy Berman, Elaine English, Lisa Kinsolving, Cathy Laferty, Michael Laferty, Billie Jose Sanchez, Bruce Stofft, and Lucinda Wieringa.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m., with a cash bar available in the lobby. The curtain goes up on the melodrama at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for the show are priced at $30 per person, $25 for El Paseo Arts members, and because this is a family friendly show, there is a special ticket price of $10 for children, 16 years old and younger. Tickets are available for purchase at Paragraphs Book Store, S.O.S., the Art Gallery in Lighthouse Square and online at http://www.elpaseoarts.org.
Melodramas are a lot of fun for everyone. Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy this lively and entertaining evening of theatre.

El Paseo Arts Foundation Presents Midsummer Music on Friday, July 13th

On Friday, July 13, 2018, at 7:30 p.m., El Paseo Arts Foundation will host a Midsummer Music Concert featuring internationally renowned guitarists Bert Lams, born and raised in Belgium, and Italian born Fabio Mittino performing the music from their album “Long Ago”. The album contains the music of Russian/Armenian philosopher George Ivanovich Gurdjieff and his Russian/Ukrainian protégé, composer Thomas Alexandrovich de Hartmann. Gurdjieff had the remarkable gift of remembering music he had heard during his early travels in Asia and the Middle East, and many years later he sang and played the melodies to De Hartmann. Together they created more than 200 pieces of music for the piano between 1918 and 1927. Lams and Mittino heard the music and were inspired to create transcriptions and arrangements of the music for two guitars. For the album and the performance, Lams and Mittino selected acoustic, Gibson, arch top guitars, built in the 1930’s. The instruments help create the authentic and intimate character of the music — music that covers a vast territory including Armenian songs, Hindu melodies, Kurdish melodies, and Orthodox Hymn and several Savvid dances. Most of it has never been played on the guitar before. The melodies vary, sometimes capturing an ancient ambience, a bit of Eastern intrigue, a rich spiritual cast, a delicate dance, or a mischievous bit of humor.
Bert Lams has twenty years of experience in performing and teaching classical guitar and guitar technique. He studied classical guitar at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Brussels, Belgium where he graduated with Honors. He studied under Monique Vigneron and Albert Sundermann (a student of Andres Segovia.) He has subsequently conducted workshops for guitar students around the world, including master classes in Berlin, Paris, Buenos Aires, Santiago de Chile, Los Angeles, Tokyo and Mexico City.
Since 1990, Bert Lams has been a composer and performer with the highly acclaimed California Guitar Trio. In 1993, the California Guitar Trio released their first recording “Yamanashi Blues” on Discipline Records followed by a successful world tour. In the same year Lams completed a world tour with the Robert Fripp String Quintet resulting in Lams also playing as a members of Fripp’s King Crimson group.
Fabio Mittino began studying classical guitar when he was thirteen. In 1998 he was introduced to Robert Fripp’s Guitar Craft in Salisbury, London. Fripp suggested that Mittino study with Lams and that relationship led to their collaboration on the transcriptions and arrangements of Gurdjieff and de Hartmann’s music. In addition to the “Long Ago” album with Lams, Mittino plays original music on electric guitar with his own solo project, “Simple Music For Difficult People”
As an added treat for this special evening of music, local favorite, Jenuine Cello will open the concert with a performance of complementary classical cello pieces. Jenuine Cello, aka Jen Mulhern, is a captivating model of a modern one-woman band. Her live compositions take listeners on a road trip free from genre, saturated with an array of influences. With undercurrents of Bach, Bjork and everything in between, her music combines classically-infused inspiration with raw textures to create a unique sound of layered soulful puzzle pieces.
The setting for the concert is the nightclub at 5908 Padre Blvd. (near the corner of Sunset). It provides the perfect ambience for this intimate evening of music. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the concert begins at 7:30 p.m. There will be a cash bar available. Ticket are specially priced at just $15 per person and are currently available for purchase at Paragraphs Book Store, S.O.S., the Art Gallery in Lighthouse Square and online at http://www.elpaseoarts.org.
Grab your passport for this musical tour that you don’t want to miss. The music should transport you to a different time and place altogether – a place of quiet, exotic serenity – a lovely sound for a midsummer evening.

El Paseo Arts Presents Present Laughter April 12th and 13th

El Paseo Arts Foundation’s final show for the season Present Laughter, a wonderful, classic comedy by Noel Coward, will take the stage at the South Padre Island Convention Center on Thursday and Friday, April 12th and 13th. Coward was a master entertainer in the very best sense: an immensely intelligent, witty, resourceful man who took endless delight in the human comedy and managed to make it even funnier than it already is. Present Laughter, regarded as one of the best of Coward’s 50 plays, is all about fun and funny people, particularly its central character Garry Essendine, an egocentric actor, who is always acting. “Actor” is the one role that he can never shed.

The plot of Present Laughter, set in 1947, follows a few days in the life of this self-obsessed actor in the midst of a mid-life crisis. Juggling his considerable talent, ego and libido, the theater’s favorite leading man of his time suddenly finds himself caught between fawning ingénues, a predatory seductress, a crazed playwright, his long-suffering secretary, his estranged wife, and unexpected twists in his well-ordered life. It seems the entire world is out to get Garry Essendine.

The cast includes several favorite local performers as well as a couple of new comers to the El Paseo stage. Danny Dollar takes on the challenging role of the quintessential actor. Andrea Wright plays his wise and witty, estranged wife and business manager, Liz, and DeeOnda Ahadi plays his very competent and long suffering secretary, Monica, who is forever cleaning up the messes he gets himself into. Brian Bailey as Morris, Garry’s director, and Chuck Hofmeister as Hugo, Garry’s producer, round out the tight knit group of Garry’s close friends and colleagues. Fred, played by Mark Shellard, is Garry’s valet. He and Garry’s Swedish cook and house-keeper, Mrs. Erickson, played by Anne Wootors, tend to Garry’s needs and put up with his dramatic and demanding personality.

Garry’s well- ordered life is turned upside down by a trio of characters. Cianna Perez as Daphne Stillington is a love-struck ingénue determined to devote her life to Garry. Hayden Draker as Roland Maule, a “mad”, young playwright, is obsessed with Garry and seeks out every opportunity to be near him. Brenda Bailey as Joanna Lyppiatt, Hugo’s wife, wants to seduce Garry and add him to her list of sexual conquests. Finally, Marybelle Suczek plays Daphne’s aunt Lady Saltburn who is manipulated into arranging a meeting for Daphne with the famous Mr. Essendine.

When the play first premiered in London’s West End, the critics raved, describing it as “so inventive … so adroit in its mockery of the vain, posturing, and yet self-scrutinizing and self-amused matinee idol, that Present Laughter is likely to be future mirth for as long …“as it runs. One of the major critics described his reaction to the play this way: “One is tempted to cast discretion to the winds and predict that this will be remembered as the best comedy of its kind and generation…one of those rare occasions when the critic must claim the privilege of his fellow-playgoers, simply to marvel, admire, and enjoy wholeheartedly.” Indeed, this is a wonderful, farce-like comedy that seems never to age. It’s as funny today as it was in 1947. –
The play’s title comes from a song in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, which urges carpe diem (“present mirth hath present laughter”). The play has enjoyed numerous revivals in Europe and North America – including a limited run revival on Broadway in June and July 2017, when Kevin Kline reprised his portrayal of Essendine and earned 2017’s Tony award for best actor. The revival also earned a nomination for best revival of a play in 2017.

Present Laughter is scheduled for performance on April 12 and 13, 2018, at the SPI Convention Center. The evening of theatre begins with complimentary light hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. Tickets for Present Laughter are $30 per person/$25 for El Paseo Arts members. Tickets are available for purchase at Paragraphs Book Store, S.O.S. PadreRitaGrill, the Art Gallery in Lighthouse Square, and online at http://www.elpaseoarts.org. This is a play that will delight and entertain you from beginning to end. Don’t miss the chance to enjoy this mirth-filled, comic jewel.

El Paseo Arts Foundation Presents the Compelling and Award-Winning Drama, The Elephant Man

0n Thursday, Friday and Saturday, February 22, 23 and 24, 2018, at the SPI Convention Center, El Paseo Arts joins an elite group of local theatre companies who have dared to bring The Elephant Man to the stage. The production demands of The Elephant Man make it difficult to produce, but El Paseo Arts has proudly accepted the challenge, not only because of the quality of the writing and the story, but because of the acting from this cast that makes it a show that is “not to be missed”. The Elephant Man premiered on Broadway in 1979 and won the Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, and NY Drama Critics’ Award for best play. It was revived successfully on Broadway in 2002 and in 2014-15, and has been around long enough to be considered a modern classic.

The title role of The Elephant Man, John Merrick, is one of the iconic roles in modern theatre and one of the most challenging roles any actor can undertake. To play Merrick, an actor must have the emotional depth of understanding to capture an abused misfit and the physical ability to transform himself through demanding contortions in order to believably portray this historic figure. In Bernard Pomerance’s play, unlike in the David Lynch film of the story, the actor is not made up or fitted with any prosthetics to simulate the character’s physicality. Instead, as a doctor clinically describes Merrick, using photos about the man’s oversized head, misshapen arm, deformed body and painful, limping gait, the actor slowly changes his stance, contorts his face and cranks his torso in a way that’s hard to imagine doing momentarily, let alone sustaining it for the duration of a 90 minute play. The actor must also employ a voice that seems to emerge from within the tortured body, at first muffled and hard to decipher but increasingly clear and insightful. El Paseo Arts is fortunate to have such a talented actor for the role. Will Everett, who played Merrick in the Camille playhouse’s 2006 production of The Elephant Man, will re-create his amazing and acclaimed performance.

The Elephant Man is based on the real-life experiences of John Merrick, who lived from 1862-1890. The play is divided into twenty-one scenes that depict the last six years of Merrick’s life. Merrick suffered from a disease that caused extreme disfigurement to his face and body due to growths on his bones, and resulted in his being showcased as a sideshow “freak” attraction by his manager, Ross, played by Frank Shisler. When Merrick is abandoned by Ross, he is rescued by Frederick Treves (played by Danny Dollar), a young doctor who discovers that behind the disfigured visage, lies not an animal, but an intelligent mind and a sensitive soul. Treves endeavors to show the world to Merrick; however, Merrick discovers that this “new world” is both more beautiful and more cruel than he could have imagined.

Because of Merrick’s disfigurement, he has no friends. People are frightened and horrified by his appearance so Treves enlists the help of an actress, Mrs. Kendal, (played by Silvy Berman) to act like she is willing to be a friend to Merrick. Mrs. Kendal almost immediately recognizes that Merrick is a unique individual with a fine mind and a loving heart, and she makes it her mission to introduce Merrick to her friends among London nobility.

As Merrick’s life evolves from a sad existence as a carnival freak to a man visited by the royalty of 19th century London, he becomes more and more skeptical about the ways of the world and how “proper” people are expected to behave. When we first meet his mentor, Dr. Treves, the young doctor is a confident man with a firm grip on success in his profession and life, but as time passes, he wonders whether he has truly helped Merrick. Treves’ life seems to become less and less stable, while at the same time, Merrick demonstrates greater clarity and religious faith.

The story of Merrick’s final six years plays out in various locations – Whitechapel Hospital, London and Brussels fairgrounds, Brussels and a London train stations, and back to the hospital, in Merrick’s room or Dr. Treves’ office. Telling this story requires a cast of many characters and whether they have a large or small role, each actor plays an integral part. Bert Kinyon makes his El Paseo Arts debut as Dr. Carr Gomm, the hospital administrator who raises the donations to provide for Merrick’s care at the hospital. El Paseo veteran, Billie Reilly plays Bishop Thurston How, who becomes Merrick’s religious mentor. DeeOnda Ahadi plays two roles: Ms. Sandwich, an experienced missionary nurse and Princess Alexandria. Chelsea Pavliska, Andrea Wright and Linda Lee play the Pinheads, sideshow characters from the Belgian Congo, and Carlos Bringas plays their manager and the devious Lord John. Andy Reilly and Roin Khurami play hospital porters who care for Merrick. Richard Gavina plays a Belgian policeman; Greg Lockwood plays a London policeman, and Mark Shellard plays a train conductor. Visiting nobility includes Judy Brewer as the Countess, Marianne Kobie as the Duchess and Lucy Regalado as Lady Neville.

The evening of theatre at the SPI Convention Center begins at 6:30 P.M., with a complimentary light dessert and a cash bar. The curtain goes up on the show at 7:30 P.M. Tickets for the show are $30 per person/ $25 per person for El Paseo Arts members. Tickets are available for purchase at Paragraphs Book Store, S.O.S., PadreRitaGrill, the Art Gallery in Lighthouse Square, and online at http://www.elpaseoarts.org.

The Elephant Man raises questions that are still relevant today. What is considered beautiful? What is considered ugly? Do we still judge people by appearances? How do we treat others who look different from us? Do we look away? Are we frightened? The Elephant Man asks us to look into each other’s soul and see the true spirit located inside. As the real John Merrick wrote in one of his poems:

If I could reach from pole to pole
Or grasp the ocean with a span
It would be measured by the soul.
The mind’s the standard of the man.

From the talented cast to the period costumes, to the atmospheric lighting, beautiful cello music, and special effects, imagine The Elephant Man as a “mammoth theatrical experience” performed in El Paseo Arts’ intimate theatre venue at the Convention Center. However, ultimately it is the story of The Elephant Man that continues to draw audiences to see it. The play is a haunting masterpiece of compassion, beauty and ultimately, humanity.

El Paseo Hosts Acclaimed Professional Production of William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (abridged)!

“The Reduced Shakespeare Company has always been a hybrid of highbrow and low humor, and this show hits that sweet spot to appeal to all comers.” – DC Theatre Scene
“There’s no need to brush up your Shakespeare to enjoy William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (abridged)!” – DC Metro

El Paseo Arts Foundation proudly hosts this acclaimed production of William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (abridged)! on Tuesday and Wednesday, February 6th and 7th, 2018, at the SPI Convention Center. Created by the Reduced Shakespeare Company, the comedy features a stellar cast of three writers and Co-Directors – Austin Tichenor, Reed Martin and Teddy Spencer, playing themselves. The play imagines them just returned from a tour in London, where, buried under a parking lot in Leicester, they found a 100 hour long manuscript written in the 17 year old Shakespeare’s very own hand (a “Faux-lio” if you will). With The Long Lost First Play of William Shakespeare (abridged), the Reduced Shakespeare Company reigns supreme as the undisputed masters at reimagining the Bard into hilarious entertainment. This is Shakespeare that even a disinterested teenager will be hard pressed to sleep through as plot gimmicks and quotes from the Bard’s plays are manipulated into a hilarious show that is certainly a laugh a line.
This “first play” places 1,639 of Shakespeare’s character together in one universe, which continuously references itself and imagines them messed up in a feud between Shakespeare’s most famous sprites, Puck and Ariel. Every iconic Shakespearian plot device is in the show: ancient grudges, unsettled ghosts, mistaken identities, magical spells, powerful tempests, devastating shipwrecks, men dressed as women, spontaneous breaking into song, and twins, twins, twins. There are even kazoos, puppets and water pistols. And if you’ve ever wondered how many ways one can riff on “to be or not to be,” the answer is – a lot. And they are all hilarious.
Since the acting troupes “pass-the-hat’ origins in 1981, the Reduced Shakespeare Company has created ten world-renowned stage shows, two television specials, several failed TV pilots, and numerous radio pieces, all of which have been performed, seen, and heard the world over. The company’s itinerary has included stops off-Broadway, at the White House, the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, London’s West End, the Seattle Repertory Theatre, the American Repertory Theatre and Montreal’s famed “Just For Laughs” Festival, as well as performances in Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Japan, Malta, Singapore and Bermuda, plus countless civic and university venues throughout the USA, the UK, and Europe.
The company’s first three shows, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged!), The Complete History of America (abridged) and The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged) ran for nine years at the Criterion Theatre in Piccadilly Circus. They were London’s longest-running comedies, and the RSC had more shows running in the West End than Andrew Lloyd Webber. They were also funnier. If you like Shakespeare’s work now, you’ll like the show. If you hate Shakespeare, you will love William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (abridged).
The Curtain goes up at 7:30 p.m. on February 6th and 7th at the SPI Convention Center. A cash bar will be available before the show and at intermission. Tickets for The Long Lost First Play of William Shakespeare (abridged) are $30 per person and $25 per person for El Paseo Arts members. Tickets are available for purchase at Paragraphs Book Store, S.O.S., PadreRitaGrill, the Art Gallery in Lighthouse Square, and online at http://www.elpaseoarts.org. .
Don’t miss William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (abridged). It’s a chance to laugh from beginning to end, and it’s a unique opportunity to see three insanely talented actors (equal emphasis on “insane” and “talented”) deliver a glorious mishmash of Shakespeare’s most famous lines and characters.

It’s a Mystery and Comedy Delight as El Paseo Arts Foundation Presents Dead Air, January 22nd and 23rd.

It’s another evening of laughter and fun as El Paseo presents the hilarious murder mystery/comedy Dead Air by Lee Mueller on Monday, January 22nd and Tuesday, January 23rd at the Isla Grand Beach Resort. The show takes place on the night the cast is celebrating the 37th Anniversary of the Guy Godfry radio show and the 50th Anniversary of WEZY. The Guy Godfry Show is a dated radio program in jeopardy of cancellation due to a corporate take-over of the network. As part of the anniversary celebration the show is being broadcast in front of a live studio audience. When show gets underway, one of the cast members is murdered and panic ensues. With the assistance of the audience, the Guy Godfry crew scrambles to uncover the culprit responsible for the on-air murder.
The cast replays the twists and turns of the night and the audience plays an important role in identifying “who done it”. Throughout the seemingly endless live radio chaos, everyone is asking, “Is anyone listening? Does anyone care?”.
The stellar cast includes some El Paseo Arts favorites and some newcomers to the El Paseo Arts stage. Andy Riley brings his dry wit to the character of the slightly demented, long-time radio personality, Guy Godfry. Frank Shisler is hysterically funny in his stage debut as Danny O’Dennis, Godfry’s second banana. Andrea Wright shines as Lil’ Mary Allegany, third banana radio co-host, and Briana Boughter makes her El Paseo Arts debut as Annie, the show’s production assistant. Mark Shellard returns to the stage as Frank, the producer of the Guy Godfry Show, and Silvy Berman makes her El Paseo Arts debut as Sheila, the assistant producer of the Guy Godfry Show. Lexie Hanson is Sally Fairweather, corporate executive, and Danny Dollar brings an added touch of humor as Sven Herberphuphen, a well-known orchestra leader. Carlos Bringas makes his El Paseo Arts debut as Johnny, the radio station intern, and Greg Lockwood plays the Announcer for the radio show.
The evening begins with complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar at 6:30 p.m. and the curtain goes up on the radio show at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for the event are $30 per person; $25 for El Paseo Arts members. Tickets are available at Paragraphs Bookstore, S.O.S., PadreRitaGrill, the Art Gallery in Lighthouse Square and online at http://www.elpaseoarts.org.
El Paseo’s mystery/comedy spoof has become an annual event that everyone enjoys. It’s fun and funny, and there are fabulous prizes for five lucky audience members who correctly identify the “killer”.
Don’t miss your chance to get tickets for this show – they usually sell out well in advance of the performances!

El Paseo Arts Foundation Presents: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee Musical

Can you spell “F – U – N”?
Wednesday, November 15 thru Friday, November 17, 2017 El Paseo Arts kicks off its first local actor production of the season with The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, a Tony award-winning musical! Doors open at 6:30 PM at the South Padre Island Convention Center with complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar, and the show starts at 7:30.

Spelling Bee has charmed audiences across the country with its effortless wit and humor as a group of students (played by adults) vie for the spelling championship of a lifetime. While candidly disclosing touching stories from their home life, the eclectic group of six pubescents (and some audience volunteers) spell their way through a series of words hoping to never hear the soul-crushing, pout-inducing, life un-affirming “ding” of the bell that signals a spelling mistake. Six spellers enter; one speller leaves! At least the losers get a juice box. It’s a riotous ride complete with audience participation.

The Spelling Bee cast includes some of your favorite local actors. Returning to the stage are Julie Boughter as Rona Lisa Perretti, the bee hostess and former bee champion herself, and Dave Boughter as William Barfee, a boy trying to make a comeback after being eliminated the year before because of a peanut allergy. Rick Alf plays Chip Tolentino, a Boy Scout and defending champion from the year before, and Kat Lillie takes on the role of Olive Ostrovsky, an only child with often-absent parents. Carolyn Porter is Logainne Schwartzandgrubenniere, an intense and stressed out 10 year old with two dads, and Paul Cardile is Leaf Coneybear, a home-schooled second-alternate with a bit of Attention Deficit Disorder. New cast members from last season include Mark Shellard as Douglas Panch, a less-than-excited vice principal called in to substitute as the word reader, and Chuck Hofmeister as Mitch Mahoney, the official bee “comfort counselor”. Marsha Sargeant makes her EPAF debut as Marcy Park, the ultimate overachiever.

Oh the years of awkward adolescence. Who doesn’t look back on that time and cringe? No one! Which is why The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is the perfect combination of hilarity and poignancy. The Bee is an unforgettable experience. It’s a fast-paced crowd pleaser with fun music, audience participation and loads of laughs. The best way to describe Spelling Bee is that it is hilarious, H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S! Tickets are $30 per person for non-members or $25 for El Paseo Arts members and are on sale now at Paragraphs Bookstore, S.O.S., PadreRitaGrill, the Art Gallery in Lighthouse Square and online at http://www.elpaseoarts.org.

El Paseo Arts Foundation to Present – A’lante Flamenco, a Traditional and Contemporary Flamenco Music and Dance Group

On Saturday, October 28th, 2017, El Paseo Arts Foundation presents A’lante Flamenco at the nightclub located at 5908 Padre Blvd, near the southeast corner of the intersection of Padre Blvd and Sunset Street, South Padre Island, TX. “The sounds of rapid-fire hand clapping, feet pounding the floor, and guitars strumming to the plaintive sounds of flamenco singing are the sensory treats that provide the backdrop for A’lante Flamenco’s newest work, Flamencura. An electrifying evening of flamenco music and dance, Flamencura transports audiences into a traditional Spanish flamenco club, where the four dancers and three musicians of A’lante Flamenco show off their skills with fire and passion.
With the fiery guitar of Jose Manuel Tejeda, searing vocals by Celia Corrales and Isai Chacón, and graceful, powerful dance by Olivia Chacón, Guillermo Tabares, Karen Vilches and Carisa Leal, the performers share the beauty and intensity of the flamenco art form with audiences. Flamenco is all about living in the moment—experiencing every instant to the fullest—and in the nightclub’s’ intimate setting, audiences can get up-close and personal with the artists without missing a single detail of Flamencura. From the chattering castanets of dances like Sevillanas and Asturias to the rapid-fire footwork of Bulerias and undulating hands of Fandangos, A’lante Flamenco will bring a piece of Spain to South Padre Island.
Olivia and Isaí Chacon lived in Spain for five years studying flamenco, performing in the traditional tablaos (flamenco clubs) of Madrid, and touring internationally with groups like La Compania Flamenca de Cristobal Reyes and artists including Antonio Reyes, Laura Tabanera, and others. In 2010, they returned to Olivia’s native Texas to open their dance school in Austin, and formed A’lante Flamenco the following year.
Members of the company hail from the likes of San Antonio, TX; Durango, Mexico; and Puerto de Santa Maria, Cadiz. From Latin musicians with more than 25 years of experience to multidisciplined dancers experienced in ballet, jazz, modern and folkloric, A’lante Flamenco has the talent to create a performance that is the a perfect blend of spice, passion and incredible entertainment. Come spend the evening with El Paseo Arts Foundation as we present, A’lante Flamenco!
Tickets for A’lante Flamenco are $30 per person, $25 for El Paseo Arts members. A cash bar will be available for the evening beginning at 6:30 when doors open. Curtain is at 7:30PM. Parking is free. Tickets are available for purchase at Paragraphs Book Store, SOS, PadreRitaGrill, the Art Gallery in Lighthouse Square, and online at http://www.elpaseoarts.org.
It’s a thrilling evening of contemporary flamenco music and dance that begins as soon as the talented dancers take center stage, and the electric environment will keep your heart racing all evening.
A’lante Flamenco’s productions have received acclaim from audiences and critics alike. Awards include the Austin Critics’ Table awards for Best Dancer 2012/2013 (Olivia Chacon in The Red Shoes), Best Dance Ensemble 2013/2014 (for Prophecies) and Best Dance Ensemble 2014/2015 (for Desplazados). The Red Shoes: A Flamenco Fairytale was also chosen as one of the “Best Dance Shows of 2012” by the San Antonio Express-News

It’s a Milk-Snorting Funny Evening as El Paseo Arts Hosts The Wonder Bread Years on September 18 and 19, 2017.

Pat Hazell takes the stage at the SPI Convention Center on September 18 and 19, 2017, to perform his one-man show, The Wonder Bread Years, a fresh and funny salute to Americana. The Wonder Bread Years is a fast-paced, hilarious production that gracefully walks the line between standup and theater. Audiences across the country have enjoyed this show that not only restores a much-needed sense of wonder, but leaves them laughing at stories about the years before technology changed the world. 

Hazell describes the show as “slice of life humor” that he says require a delicate recipe to achieve the proper harmony between comedy and nostalgia.  He believes that we, as a community, share more in common than we have differences.  With this show, he salutes the common denominators of humanity.

Showtime once declared Pat Hazell one of the five funniest people in America. His 30 years of experience as a writer, producer and director have made him a go-to guy for new American theater.

Pat Hazell is one of the original writers for NBC’s Seinfeld, a veteran of The Tonight Show, a critically acclaimed playwright and a contributing commentator to National Public Radio. He is recognized for his genuinely funny Americana humor and his salute to nostalgia.  As a playwright, Pat’s first endeavor, Bunk Bed Brothers, was optioned by Columbia Pictures, then gained the attention of the TV industry and was filmed as the sitcom, American Pie, for NBC. Hazell’s signature work, The Wonder Bread Years, a grand salute to the baby-boomer generation, aired on PBS where they referred to Hazell as “America’s foremost pop culture anthropologist.”  Currently, the live theatrical tour of The Wonder Bread Years is enjoying success across the US.

As the Chief Creative Officer of Sweetwood Creative, Hazell is responsible for the national tours of four original productions: Bunk Bed Brothers, The Wonder Bread Years, The Good Humor Men and A Kodachrome Christmas. Pat is currently in development on a musical adaptation of his original play Grounded For Life.

Doors open for the event at 6:30 p.m. with a cash bar available for patrons to enjoy.  The curtain goes up on the performance at 7:30 p.m.  Tickets for the show are $30 per person; $25 per person for El Paseo Arts members.  Tickets are available for purchase at Paragraphs Book Store, S.O.S., PadreRitaGrill, the Art Gallery in Lighthouse Square and online at www.elpaseoarts.org.

Whether it’s a story about sitting at the kids table or riding in the way back of the Country Squire Wagon, The Wonder Bread Years hits a comic bull’s-eye.  Jerry Seinfeld calls it “milk snorting funny”.  For the “more mature” audience members, it will be a chance to revel in pure unpasteurized nostalgia; for the younger crowd, it will provide a revealing and funny look at the world as their parents and grandparents knew it when they were the younger generation.