Event News Releases

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.

El Paseo Arts Foundation Opens its Thirteenth Season of Events with “Cabaret Night” Concert

September 6th, 2017
El Paseo Arts Foundation kicks off its thirteenth season of events with an amazing evening of music on September 6, 2017, at 7:30 p.m., at the South Padre Island Convention Centre. Cabaret Night is an engaging evening of musical theater songs and dramatic lyrics about people at a crossroads: choosing a soulmate, declaring love, losing love, and occasionally looking for love in all the wrong places. Your musical tour guides for the evening, vocalist Liz Cass and pianist Graham Yates, share stories through the music and about the music that will make you laugh, cry, and maybe even pause and reflect on our shared humanity. Music by the famous young Broadway composer Jason Robert Brown (The Last Five Years) and the wildly imaginative cabaret and ragtime composer William Bolcom feature strongly in the program. Works by Bob Dylan, Kander & Ebb (Cabaret, Chicago) and classical composers Bizet (Carmen) and Samuel Barber (Adagio for Strings) make appearances too. Even the performer Graham Yates presents his “Spam Songs” – miniature and eclectic art songs inspired by the junk in everyone’s email inbox. Cabaret Night is inspiring, funny and a little bit zany. Liz and Graham believe passionately in the power of concerts to
The two virtuoso musicians for “Cabaret Night” are Liz Cass and Graham Yates. Liz Cass is an Austin-based mezzo-soprano, Executive Producer of LOLA – Local Opera Local Artists, voice teacher, and public speaker. Ms. Cass holds the position of Community Liaison for the Armstrong Community Music School where she has been a member of the faculty and staff for over 12 years. Liz is a regular soloist with Austin Opera, The Austin Symphony, Austin Chamber Music Center, Austin Classical Guitar Society, and Chorus Austin. Each year, Ms. Cass travels to Guatemala City and Antigua, Guatemala to perform Handel’s Messiah. Liz Cass is a graduate of the University of Missouri at Kansas City Conservatory of Music. She began studying with Inci Bashar at UMKC in 1997, and continues studying with her to this day.
Graham Yates on piano found his element when he learned that even as a pianist he did not have to play all by himself. His performing career is almost exclusively in collaboration with singers, instrumentalists, choirs, chamber groups, pit bands and orchestras. Mr. Yates holds a BA in piano performance, a Master of Music with an emphasis in piano accompaniment, and an MBA in nonprofit management. In 2014, he relocated from his homeland of British Columbia, Canada where he was the director of two music schools, to Texas, where he owns North Austin Piano Studio and is the founder, producer and pianist for “A Room with A Few” house concert series in Austin.
“Cabaret Night” is a special kind of chamber concert performance in the intimate setting –an evening of wildly imaginative music that includes some story-telling songs that may even impart some life-affirming wisdom. It will be a very romantic and entrancing evening of beguiling and provocative chamber music to stir your soul – inspiring, funny and a little bit zany. Liz and Graham believe passionately in the power of concerts to unite people and they hope you’ll leave the performance having run the gamut of emotions, forged a deeper appreciation for wonderful music, and with a renewed zest for life.
Tickets for “Cabaret Night” are $30 per person, $25 for El Paseo Arts members. A cash bar will be available to patrons to enjoy beginning at 6:30 p.m. Tickets go on sale August 7th, 2017 at Paragraphs Book Store, SOS, PadreRitaGrill, the Art Gallery in Lighthouse Square, and online at http://www.elpaseoarts.org. Share the night with a special person or special friends and celebrate the start of our thirteenth season of local arts events here in the bay area. Thirteen is going to be a wonderful season for El Paseo Arts Foundation.
A Season Brochure will be available at the ticket table that evening.  The ticket table will open at 6 p.m. to purchase season tickets and sponsorships for the new season or to renew / get an annual membership and receive the discount on that nights tickets.