Event News Releases

Concert Pianist James Dick

On Saturday May 11, 2019, El Paseo Arts Foundation will host a concert performance by one of the premiere pianists in the world, Mr. James Dick. Recognized as one of the truly important pianists of his generation, internationally renowned concert pianist and Steinway artist James Dick brings keyboard brilliance to his performances that radiate intellectual insight and emotional authenticity.

Raised in Hutchinson Kansas, his talent moved him from the farm to the University of Texas Music Building and out to the world’s great concert halls. He received a scholarship to the University of Texas in Austin, studying with Dalies Frantz. Later, he was a Fulbright Scholar and studied with Sir Clifford Curzon in England.

James Dick is no stranger to accolades. Mr. Dick’s early triumphs as a major prizewinner in the Tchaikovsky, Busoni and the Leventritt International Competitions were a mere prelude to an eminent career highlighted by acclaimed recitals and concerto performances in the world’s premier concert halls, including New York’s Carnegie Hall, London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, Le Theatre du Chatelet in Paris; the Kennedy Center and the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.  Dick has performed with major symphonies across the country and with the world’s great conductors and other musical artists.

In addition to his schedule as a world-renowned guest artist, in 1971 James Dick established the Round Top Festival Institute in Round Top, Texas to nurture and incubate aspiring young musicians. The Institute (today operated under The James Dick Foundation for the Performing Arts) has grown from a handful of gifted young pianists in rented space on the town square of Round Top to a 210-acre European-styled campus where distinguished faculty each year teach nearly 100 young artists and the Festival Institute provides year-round education and performance programs for audiences.

His gifts of performance and contributions to classical music have earned him numerous honors and commendations, including the Texas Medal of Arts, the Chevalier des Arts et Lettres from the French Ministry of Culture, and Honorary Associate of London’s Royal Academy of Music.

Mr. Dick’s concert on Saturday, May 11th, at the SPI Convention Center is a unique opportunity for bay area residents and visitors to experience the thrill of watching a world class artist perform.  One does not have to be a classical musical enthusiast to enjoy watching a great artist at work.  The elegant evening of music begins with light hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar at 6:30 P.M.  Mr. Dick will take the stage for his performance at 7:30 P.M.

Tickets for the concert event 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.

It’s Comic Mayhem as El Paseo Arts Brings Murder at the Howard Johnson’s to the SPI Convention Center Stage on April 25th – 27th of this year.

“Funny is funny!”  Variety

Is all fair in love?  Even murder? That’s the question posed by Ron Clark and Sam Bobrick’s hilarious comedy about a love triangle set at the Howard Johnson Motel in the 1970’s. Murder at the Howard Johnson’s is centered on the relationships between various combinations of three people: Arlene and Paul, who are husband and wife, and Arlene’s lover, Dr. Mitchell Lovell, the couple’s dentist. In the first scene, the Arlene and Mitchell plot to murder her husband Paul because he loves her too much too give her a divorce.  In the second scene, Arlene and Paul are plotting to murder her lover, Mitchel because he has been unfaithful to her. The third scene has the husband and the lover, now allies, plotting to murder Arlene because she is unfaithful to them both.  As this is a comedy, you might guess that this attempt, like the others, fails.  With its many twists and turns during the mixed-up mayhem, this show will have you laughing yourself silly.

This is a small ensemble show with only three actors so it’s essential that the cast have talent and chemistry.  The three actors in this cast have both qualities in spades.  Brenda Bailey skillfully creates the zany character of Arlene, the fickle and self-centered housewife who is at the center of the men’s hilarious heartbreaks.  She can’t seem to make up her mind about what or whom she wants. So, she pursues her quest for self-fulfillment and plays out her romantic fantasies from one man to another.  Dave Boughter as Arlene’s husband, Paul, masterfully delivers his great one-liners with the gloomy and sarcastic style that is perfectly suited to the pessimistic, self-sacrificing nature of the “loser” and cuckolded used car salesman husband.  The third corner of the eternal triangle is provided by Danny Dollar who perfectly captures the nerdy, egotistical, would-be lothario and dandy dresser dentist who believes that his D.D.S. degree will lure any woman to his arms.  The three characters, each with “self” at the center of their own universe, are representative of the “me” generation, and prescient of the “me too” generations to follow.  The three performers, working together, have a comfortable and charming rapport that enhances the spirit of playfulness and absurdity evoked by the absurdity and bizarre logic that underpin the plot.

The evening’s entertainment begins at 6:30 P.M., with light hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar provided by PadreRitaGrill.  The curtain goes up for the show at 7:30 P.M.  Tickets for Murder at Howard Johnson’s are $30 per person or $25 per person for El Paseo Arts members.  Tickets are available for purchase at Paragraphs on Padre, S.O.S., the Laguna Madre Art Gallery, and online at www.elpaseoarts.org.

If you think you might enjoy an evening of romance, laughter and … murder, then Murder at the Howard Johnson’s is a show that you absolutely don’t want to miss.  It will have you laughing yourself silly.  To quote Time Magazine’s review of the show, “Funny is funny.”  This spiraling shenanigans generate their own type of shock and awe and provide a night of relentlessly hysterical comedy under the orange room of the local Ho Jo’s.

Billy Bishop Goes to War

El Paseo Arts is proud to present a special encore performance of this powerful, musical comedy/drama that tells the story of Canada’s World War I flying ace, Billy Bishop.  David Hughston reprises his role as Billy Bishop, and David’s son, Brock, again joins him on stage as his pianist.  Don’t miss this very special show!  Tickets are specially priced at $15 per person.

El Paseo Arts Foundation presents Boardwalk Melody Hour Murders – An Audience Participation Mystery Comedy

Extra!  Extra!  Read all about it!  Lindberg baby kidnapped.  Prohibition is in full swing and crime of all kinds is rampant as gangsters threaten everyone’s life.  Bunny Babes Beringer escapes from the women’s penitentiary, and silent screen star, Ruby Devine is scheduled to make her singing debut at the Imperial Ballroom on Atlantic City’s Boardwalk.

El Paseo Arts Foundation brings all the glamour, excitement, and corruption of the roaring 20’s to the Isla Grand Ballroom Stage with the audience participation mystery-comedy, Boardwalk Melody Hour Murders on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, February 17, 18, and 19, 2019.  The evening begins at 6:30 P.M. with complimentary light hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar.  The curtain goes up on the show at 7:30 p.m.

This roaring mystery-comedy is set at the Imperial Ballroom in Atlantic City, where guests are watching a live radio broadcast. Host Sammy ‘Pretty Boy’ Bambino has his hands full with a cadre of guests, crooks and ladies of the night. This evening the famous sultry, silent screen star Miss Ruby Divine, will debut her singing talents. But before a note is sung, a baby is snatched, a prisoner has escaped from the pen, a G-man arrives disguised as a nun, and the bullets start flying. This is non-stop interactive mystery comedy at its best, set in a time and place audiences will never forget.

The audience will have a chance to interact with the cast before the show begins and get some of the backstory gossip about all the characters.  During the show, a series of clues are provided to the audience to help them solve the mystery and identify the killer.  Audience members will also have a chance to question the suspects during the show.  Everyone has a ballot to write down their guess for the identity of the killer.  At the end of the show, the names of five lucky audience members will be drawn from the group of ballots that identify the correct killer.  The winners will receive a gift certificate to use at an area business.

El Paseo has put together a talented cast of local players.  Susan Holmes makes her El Paseo Arts debut as Sophie, the former owner of Sophie’s Den of Decadence.  Audience favorite, Dee Onda Ahadi, brings her comic talent to the hard as nails Prison Matron, Queenie Malone, Warden of the Women’s Penitentiary.  Carol Kent, who delighted audiences as the damsel in distress in Nickers in a Twist, returns to the El Paseo stage to play the harlot with a heart of gold, Bunny Babes Beringer.  Sharon Paterson, who played the sultry Miss Scarlet in Clue, the Musical now stretches her acting muscles by playing the naïve and dim-witted Trixie Bambino.  Mare Kobie plays the lovely Baby Cakes Rodriguez.  Bea Johnson plays Bee Bee, the commercial girl.  The beautiful, veteran El Paseo star, Andrea Wright takes on the challenging role of silent screen star Miss Ruby Devine.  Like Ruby, Andrea will make her singing debut on the Boardwalk.

No prohibition play would be complete without a gangster and a G Man, and this play has one of each.  Pete Zurita makes his El Paseo Arts debut as gangster, Sammy “Pretty Boy” Bambino.  Sammy leads a double life.  By day, he is a mobster doing nefarious deeds; by night, he is the sexy emcee of the Boardwalk Melody Hour radio show, and quite the ladies’ man.  Rick Alf, who just finished serving as music director for Clue the Musical, plays the G-Man, Guido Grimaldi, on the trail of a gang of crooks committing a series of Federal crimes.  And rounding out the male cast list are Danny Dollar, Hayden Draker and Bob Scaman, who serve as paperboys, distributing the local paper to the audience and collecting all the ballots at the end of the show.

The backstage staff includes JoAnn Evans as director, Mare Kobie as assistant director, Barbara Teater as costumer, and Bea Johnson as stage manager.  Nina Hughston provides the live piano music for the show and a lot of the “special effects”.

With gorgeous flapper costumes full of fringe and beads provided by Broadway Costume, dramatic lighting, lively music, lots of audience participation and delicious hors d’oeuvres, Boardwalk Melody Hour Murders promises to be a fun-filled evening of mystery and comedy.  Mark your calendar, and get your tickets early.  Tickets for the show 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.

El Paseo Arts Presents Music, Mystery and Comic Mayhem with Clue, The Musical

On January, 9th, 10th, and 11th, 2019, at the South Padre Island Convention Center Clue, The Musical takes the stage. El Paseo Arts Foundation invites you to watch the world’s best known suspects come to life. Those of you who love the challenge of solving a mystery can cross off the clues and suspects as the mystery story unfolds. Since Clue the Musical has 216 possible outcomes, it’s almost impossible to see the same show twice. With vibrant colors, toe-tapping tunes, and plenty of comic antics, this is a musical game that is a perfect evening of theatre for all ages.

Clue: The Musical is far from a typical murder mystery with its game of cat and mouse.   The basic goal of the game is pretty simple: identify who killed Mr. Boddy, in what room, and with what weapon.. At the opening of the show, Mr. Boddy, soon to be the victim and also the emcee for the play, invites three audience members to come up on stage and choose three cards from decks representing the possible murderers, murder weapons, and rooms where the murder might occur. The cards they select will determine the solution for that evening’s performance. It sounds simple, but remember, there are 216 possible solution.

Backstage, the cast of Clue must not only manage their cues with sometimes frantic, but perfectly rhythmic antics, in and out of rooms, passing rope, revolver, wrench, knife, lead pipe and candlestick from hand to hand in 4/4 time and moving scenery. They must also take a sneak peek at the cards selected by the three audience members, to adjust the plot and ending they must act out to its deadly conclusion. Only the cast and the music director know the exact fate of Mr. Boddy, but no one else on stage, backstage or in the audience is aware of what is about to unfold. No one else has a clue. The cast plays on, trying to remember all the right lines for the one in 216 possible endings that they are supposed to perform for that night’s show. In Act II, one hard-nosed female detective finally appears on the scene to unravel the merry mayhem, and the audience gets a chance to guess who did it, with what weapon, and in what room.   However, even after the culprit confesses, a surprise twist will fool even the most experienced and dedicated mystery game solver.

Musical Director Rick Alf and Director Emily Ochoa have assembled a talented cast of El Paseo Arts’ Local Players. The victim, Mr. Boddy, played by Danny Dollar, serves as a rhyming narrator and interactive host. Everybody has a motive. The housekeeper, Mrs. White, played by the delightful Kat Lillie, sings a song of survival as she tenderizes a roast with a lead pipe. Master comedian Hayden Draker, plays the natty and shifty Mr. Green who was swindled in a bank fraud. The lovely Carolyn Porter plays the oft-widowed Mrs. Peacock who sings foul after leaving dozens of dead husbands in her wake.  Audience favorite Dave Boughter is back to play Professor Plum whose family oil business was forced into bankruptcy by Boddy. It’s Mr. Plum who ties a hunk of clothesline into a noose. The character of Colonel Mustard is captured brilliantly by Paul Cardile, and he joins Mrs. Peacock for some saucy double-entendres and a clumsy tango. Newcomer Sharon Robertson simmers seductively in the role of the shrewd and very attractive vixen, Miss Scarlet.  Act II signals the arrival of the hard-nosed, female detective, in the person of talented soprano, Judy Brewer. She attempts to interrogate the suspects, and with the song “Seduction Deduction,” she wards off the advances of the lecherous professor before solving the crime.

The cast members and directors are supported by a fabulous production crew including Sheree Adams as Assistant Director, Sergio Godinez on piano, Stephanie Wilson doing choreography, and Barbara Teater creating costuming. Bea Johnson will support Barbara and Sheree working backstage with costumes and props. Mark Haggenmiller, Gene Brewer and Bruce Stofft will be handling all the lighting and sound effects. Finally, Julie Boughter steps into the role of House Manager for this show.

There never has been a musical quite like Clue, The Musical, and the two-hours of fiendish funny mischief and mayhem flies by as the cast members reveal or fabricate their alibis. The bloody good fun of the family mystery game that has been played in almost 100 countries for more than a century, begins at 6:30 p.m. with complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar and a chance to chat with fellow mystery game lovers. The curtain goes up on the performance of Clue, The Musical at 7:30 p.m.

The admission price for Clue, The Musical is $30 per person, $25 for El Paseo Arts Foundation members, and $10 for students under 16. Adult tickets are available for purchase at Paragraphs Bookstore, S.O.S. the Laguna Madre Art Gallery and online at www.elpaseoarts.org. Student’s tickets are only available at Paragraphs Book Store.

Don’t miss the murderously funny, musical mayhem. Board games like Clue that once played a dominant role in the creative behaviors of kids and families at home seem to have been replaced by with iPhones, apps, PS4’s and text messaging instead of conversation. Perhaps it would be a good thing to turn off the electronics now and again and practice some simple deductive game playing and real, person-to-person conversation with a board game like Clue. Better yet, bring the family to enjoy the magic experience of live theatre for an evening of comedy, music and mystery with Clue, The Musical.


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.