Fantasticks coming to SPI

Special to the PRESS
music notesThe Fantasticks! may look like a simple show when one is enjoying it from the audience, but in reality it is one of the most challenging musicals for the actors/singers, directors and accompanists. The beautiful music is particularly challenging for vocalists and the well-drawn characters require the performers to be actors as well as singers. El Paseo Arts Foundation has assembled a cast of talented vocalists and performers to make this summer’s production of The Fantasticks! a fantastic show.

David Hughston (El Gallo) is an insurance agent in Brownsville who lives full time on South Padre Island. A man of many interests and talents, he is the choir director for Central Christian Church in Brownsville, a Stearman pilot, past Air Show Chairman for Air Fiesta, and a lifelong lover of the theatre. Typically known for performances in a variety of stage musicals (Man of La Mancha and The Fantasticks! among his favorites), David has delighted local audiences with his comic talents in El Paseo’s productions of Sylvia and Blithe Spirit, and the Camille Playhouse Production of Harvey.

Elizabeth Chaney (Luisa) is 17 years old and a junior at St. Joseph Academy in Brownsville. She is a veteran stage performer and has been on stage since she was seven years old. She was most recently seen in a school production of Wizard of Oz, and has participated in more than 20 shows at the Camille Playhouse. Some of her favorite previous roles include Rumpleteazer in Cats, Vera Claythorne in And Then There Were None, Rona Peretti in Putnam County Spelling Bee, and Sheila in A Chorus Line. Her future plans include earning a BFA in Theatre and a minor in dramaturgy from the University of Kansas. She is thrilled to be playing the role of Luisa.

Zac Barba (Matt) is a senior at Rivera High School in Brownsville and graduated this month. ranked 4 in class This fall, he will attend Baylor University and study Vocal Performance. His vocal talent has earned him numerous awards. He is a member of his high school choir. He is a 2011 Young Arts Alum and a 4 Year Texas All-State Choir member, serving this year as first chair. He received Superior ratings in both Solo and Ensemble performance, In addition to his vocal training, he also studies piano with Nina Hughston, His theatre experience includes Cats, Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Our Town, Oliver, The Wiz,, and Aladdin Jr. at the Camille Playhouse and the title role in Central Christian Church’s production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

Rick Alf (Bellamy) is a resident of Laguna Vista. He studied music at University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire for 2 years and performed with “The Statesman”, a Nationally known men’s choir from UWEC for 3 years. His musical theatre credits include Bye, Bye Birdie, Music Man , Okalahoma and Finnan’s Rainbow. He also appeared in Night of January 16th. After a 20 year hiatus from the theatre, he returned to the stage in El Paseo’s production of the melodrama Villainy in the Valley and is now delighted to back on stage in the musical The Fantasticks!

Joe Alvear (Hucklebee) received a BA in Music Education from the University of Texas at Brownsville/Texas Southmost College. He has served as director of the UTB/TSC Campus Choir, Assistant Director to the UTB/TSC Master Chorale, and was a founding member and assistant director of the UTB/TSC Bravo Opera Company. In addition to numerous recitals, past roles have included Ariel in Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”, the Father in Humperdink’s “Hansel and Gretel”, and the bass solos in Handel’s “Messiah.” He currently teaches choir and music theory at Lopez High School in Brownsville, and has served as Music Director/Accompanist for “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Chicago

Ray Stewart (The Old Actor) was born in San Benito. A graduate of the University of Texas in Austin, he served two years in the Army before moving to New York City where he studied at the famed neighborhood Playhouse School of Theatre. He is best remembered by television audiences for the character of Daryl Dricoll on “Barney Miller”, and he was a regular on the Barbara Mandrell and Sunsan Anton series as well. He has guest starred on such major shows as “Dallas”, “Falcon Crest”, “Hill Street Blues”, “Hart to Hart”, “Fantasy Island”, “Bob Newhart” and “Benson”. He spent two years as a member of the Lincoln Center Repertory Company. His Broadway credits include Postcards, A Cry of Players with Anne Bancroft, The Lincoln Mark with Eva Marie Saint, King Lear with Lee J. Cobb, In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer and Mary Stuart. Off Broadway, he was seen in Second City, Colette, Samuel Beckett’s Play, and The Fantasticks! performing not only as part of the off-Broadway cast but on tour with the show in Japan on three occasions. In California, he appeared in fifteen different musical productions for the Long Beach Civic Light Opera, The Sacramento Music Circus and the California Music Theatre in Pasadena. He also spent a season at the National Shakespeare Festival in San Diego. He retired to his home in San Benito and is now active in local theatre. El Paseo audiences will remember his performances in Postcards, I’m Herbet, and Love Letters. He is also a regular on the Camille stage and has performed in Gigi, The Alergerist’s Wife, Barefoot in the Park, The Fantasticks! and most recently the title role in Tuesday’s With Morrie which earned him the Camille Lily Award for best actor,

Joel Brotzman (Mortimer, the Man Who Dies) has been involved in community theatre in the valley since 2003. He has acted in and directed several productions at Harlingen Performing Arts Theatre, including Harvey, Wit, The Wizard of Oz, Veronica’s Room, and most recently, Greater Tuna. He has also performed with The Way Past Prime Time Players and at The Talisman Theatre in Kenilworth, England. This will be his first production with El Paseo, and he is excited to be a part of The Fantasticks!

Ashley Nicole Perez (The Mute) graduated from Hanna High School in Brownsville and currently attends the University of Texas at Brownsville in pursuit of her Masters in Theatre Arts. While attending Hanna she portrayed various characters such as Velma in Scooby-Doo, Ilse in Spring Awakening, and Glinda in Wicked.

The show is under the direction of Mary Hartman and JoAnn Evans, Mrs. Hartman will also play the harp score for the show, while well-known local pianist Brett Marshall, will play the piano score.

For more on this story, pick up a copy of the May 30 edition of the Port Isabel South Padre Press or check out our E-edition by clicking here.

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