Ballot Box Bedlam!
The Millionaire Mountebank's Mayoral Machination
August 3 - August 18, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., Saturday matinees at 2 p.m.
Silver Spur Theatre, 108 Royal Street, Salado (click for map)
Admission is $18 for adults; $15 for senior citizens, military personnel and students with ID; and $10 for children aged 12 and under. Matinee prices are $10 for all categories. Group rates are available.
For reservations, call the box office at 254-947-3456. For directions or more play info, visit saladosilverspurtheater.com. Wine, beer, cider and expanded food choices are available through The Spuradicals Social Club in the lobby: www.SpuradicalsSocialClub.net
The eighth chapter in the Silver Spur Theater's annual melodrama series – Ballot Box Bedlam! Or The Millionaire Mountebank’s Mayoral Machination by Gary Askins – has the peaceful village of Salado in an election fever dither as their one-candidate mayoral race is hijacked by a power-hungry outsider.
Can hero Ranger Grainger save Miss Goody Goody and the peaceful Salado citizenry from the peril of an unfair election? Will Snidely O. Slipknot’s Super-Duper PAC rig the voting and put Herman Lame, the villain’s stooge, into office? That and other questions will be answered with a healthy dose of slapstick, song and satire.
The popular, family-centric "melo" opens for a four-weekend run at 7:30 p.m., Friday, July 27, complete with popcorn-throwing patrons, on-screen pie-fights and pernicious ploys. Additionally, a locally-made "movieola," an old-style silent film with live music, once again features Salado citizens and businesses in a fun-filled, flickering farce that moves the comedy along.
The high-energy production serves up laughter, entertainment, live music, silver screen silliness, family fun and a cool, historic spot to beat the summer heat. The theater, a first class venue was built in the renovated Guest and Sanford Granary & Feed Co., erected in the 1950s.
Askins, a retired “Master Teacher” of Math and Theatre Arts at Salado High School, has appeared in more than 50 stage productions as an actor in California and Texas. He has directed numerous plays at the Silver Spur Theater, including “The 39 Steps” last year. The Salado playwright noted:
“With all the election trail hoopla and presidential campaign hijinks this election year, I thought it might be high time for the battered electorate to step back and have some old-fashioned laughs at our increasingly distorted political picture. But on a small town scale, of course!”
Veterans & Newcomers
The cast includes regulars (Spuradicals) on the Silver Spur stage, as well as a host of newcomers. Grainger Esch, Artistic Director and Co-Founder of the theater, returns as the hero Park Ranger Tex Grainger. His love interest is Karen Ewton of Salado as Miss Goody Goody. Esch is a former Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus clown.
Ewton’s stage credits include authoring and appearing as the heroine in summer melodramas. She has appeared in “Steel Magnolias,” "Bell, Book and Candle," “The 39 Steps” and in the just closed show, “The Seven Year Itch.” She typically plays the WSPR secretary in Spur Holiday shows.
Newcomer Pete Asplund of Fort Worth, a newcomer to the troupe of Spuradical Players, is the villain Slipknot. The former U.S. Marine and Texas State Trooper has owned a coffee shop (The Mad Goat) and was director of The Lone Star International Film Festival. Now a filmmaker and business and life consultant, Asplund’s Percussion Media has assisted independent filmmakers from the development phase to the post-production phase since 2008.
Tony Blackman of Belton, the Silver Spur’s longtime-Technical Director and a Spuradical since 2004 is Slipknot’s comic foil, Herman Lame. Tony has appeared in more than 25 productions, most notably in “The Foreigner,” “The Fourth Wall,” and “The Seven Year Itch.” He has appeared in film and television projects for The Disney Channel and Arkansas Educational Television Network.
Spuradical Garrett Ray of Belton portrays Justin Time. The 16-year-old Ray has been acting for four years, starting in the Silver Spur’s production of “The Foreigner. He has since appeared in about 20 plays including two musicals, five melodramas, and assorted comedies. Behind the camera, he is making music videos, a short film for his school and has started a YouTube channel called “Boredemosity.”
Kristi Kelley of Belton has the role of Miss Katniss Evergreen in her début appearance on the Spur stage. She teaches Special Education students in the Copperas Cove I.S.D. and has performed with the Temple Civic Theater in “ The Pirates of Penzance” and “The Apple Tree.” Kelley, a member of Central Texas Master Singers and regularly performs at her church, Belton Nazarene.
Benjamin Milligan of Harker Heights, reprises his role as Tonkawa Tom. Milligan, owner of Silver Bear Productions, is Business Manager for the Silver Spur Theater. His wife Nelda Milligan, the long-time Musical Director for the Spur, will again provide live musical accompaniment on a century-old upright piano.
Nelda earned a Bachelor of Music (cum laude) in Jazz Studies/ Piano Performance from the University of Southwestern Louisiana and has been the Opera Accompanist at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, as well as pianist at the local Pershing Park Baptist Church, the Tacoma (WA) Musical Playhouse and accompanist at Charles Wright Academy.
Movieola Magic & Mayhem
“Ballot Box Bedlam!” incorporates both on-stage and on-film shenanigans and bravado with its inspired silent chase film," says Askins, who is co-directing with Esch. "It features ahealthy dose of slapstick, song and satire enjoyed by all ages. The audience favorite, of course, is the pie fight which . . . well, we’ll save a few surprises for the audience.”
The movieola, which links the two acts and the storylines action, has become a highlight of the annual melodrama, with many everyday citizens and businesses taking part. The silent film is accompanied with live piano music , accompanied by a person on the foley, the strange sounds of various Vaudeville instruments.
"This show is chock-full of the side-splitting humor that has made this summer event a must-see for locals and visitors alike," Esch added. "This is cheer-the-hero, boo-the-villain fun -- guaranteed relief from this summer’s headache-inducing headlines and campaign blather!"
ABOUT THE SILVER SPUR: (Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=1791506943&ref=ts)
The Theater is located in historic downtown Salado, a few blocks from the Interstate 35. Since 2004, it has revived a bygone era of family entertainment, offering a trademark blend of live vaudeville acts, live music, plays and classic cinema. Weddings, reunions, business conferences, concerts, field trips, dances, even customized private shows are held in the historical venue, with catering available from the Stagecoach Inn and nearby restaurants.