'Cinderella' and 'A Tuna Christmas' at the Springer

sokamoto@ledger-enquirer.comDecember 8, 2011 

This marks the 10th time the Springer Opera House has presented “A Tuna Christmas.” It’s not 10 consecutive years, though. Artistic director Paul Pierce decided to do “Cotton Patch Gospel” one year. He got lots and lots of complaints from patrons who missed “A Tuna Christmas.” He decided to stick with the winner.

The first time I saw the show was with Susan Cochran. She was one of the show’s biggest fans. She and her husband, Butch, would go see it together and then they’d take friends to see it several more times during its run.

That night, Butch had gone camping or hunting or both. Since she already had a ticket, she asked me to go.

It was hysterical.

We lost Susan earlier this year after her valiant battle with cancer. I know her loss was devastating to her family, but the arts in this town suffered, too. She was a tireless volunteer.

I’m glad that Steeplechase at Callaway Gardens remembered her with a bench in her honor last month. She was the fourth Race Day Director in 1988.

Since that first time, I’ve been to see the show maybe four more times.

But I’ll always remember that night, spending a few hours with a treasured friend and laughing like crazy.

Scooter MacMillan, the sales and marketing director of the Springer Opera House, sent me a list of statistics for “A Tuna Christmas.”

Attendance -- 32,760

Performances -- 126

Costume Changes -- 5,796

Ticket Revenue -- $328,423

Actors -- 2 (Paul Pierce and Ron Anderson)

Quick-change dressers -- 2

Special effects technicians -- 1

Characters -- 24

Wigs/beards/mustaches -- 11

Shoes/boots -- 16 pairs

Glasses -- 10 pairs

Hats/caps -- 13

Quickest costume change -- 6 seconds

It’s time to go see “A Tuna Christmas” again. It’s about the zany residents of Tuna, Texas, the third smallest city in the state and two holiday events. There’s the annual Christmas lights yard display contest and the phantom vandal and the ill-fated production of “A Christmas Carol” by the Tuna Little Theater.

The two actors play all the roles, often in drag. As much as I love Paul and Ron, they are not attractive women.

You can see it at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Dec. 17, 2:30 p.m. Dec. 18 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 20-24 in Foley Hall.

Tickets are $15-$35.

Call 706-327-3688.

Riverdance makes final stop

Riverdance, the show that made Irish step-dancing a world-wide phenomenon, will end its tour next June.

Before the final tap of the feet, the show will make its final performance at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 18 in the Bill Heard Theatre, RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, 900 Broadway.

Tickets are $35-$55 and go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday. You can buy tickets in the RiverCenter box office, call 706-256-3612 or go online.

Sandra Okamoto, sokamoto@ledger-enquirer.com or 706-571-8580.

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