The Summer of ’63

I had some success in amatuer productions and, as is always the case, I wanted to go ‘Pro’. Quality theater requires just as much effort and skill for both the amatuer and the professional. I just knew I could compete on the ‘big’ stage, so I grabbed every opportunity that came along. I had a student with talent who wanted a career in theater and I took her to Ingram, Texas where she was too audition for the summer stock at the Point Theater. She did very well, but no offer was made. The director was from New York and he mentioned that they had not found the right person to take the leads in “South Pacific” and “Brigadoon”. In conversation, he asked if I would like to audition. I thought about it and in concern for my student, I hesitated. She said, “Go for it!”, so I did. I played Emile De Becque in “South Pacific”, Tommy Albright in “Brigadoon” and “Marshall” in “The Little Foxes”. That summer experience is worthy of a book. Soon after, I was offered a role in a summer production at Theater Under the Stars in Houston, but making nightly trips from Bryan and teaching all day was not possible. It wasn’t until while living in Houston and working overnights at KODA-fm, that I got my ‘big’ chance as a member of the ‘Texas’ cast of “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas”. I had been offered a role in “A Little Night Music”, but it was rescinded by the ‘Board’ of TUTS, since I was ‘unknown’. Had that come about, I would have never had the three-years of TBLWHIT. I had worked with Frank Q. Dobbs at Channel 3 in Bryan and he became a very successful director/producer of films. He offered me a role in an obscure movie about used cars,being shot outside Houston, but he had to come to my trailer and tell me that another ‘known’ actor was to do that role. Ed Geldart and I appeared in the crowd scenes of that one. I attended “cattle calls” of a number of productions, but my heart just wasn’t in it. My success on stage was overshadowed by the experience of directing musicals. Now, that (and my choirs’ concerts) were the biggest HOOT of them all. Teaching, performing, directing and doing voice-overs has been my life and I can only Praise GOD for all of it. Isn’t it good to know you did your very best, without a price-tag? I think so, and that’s what I get from My Box of Chocolates. AMEN

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