Roadside: A Western Musical

When the Academy’s spring musical features songs entitled “Smellamagoody Perfume,” “Ain’t No Womern But You,” and “I Don’t Want to Bother Nobody,” you might think it’s a show in the western vein. And, in fact, you would be right.

Described on the Music Theatre International (MTI) website as a “humorous and touching ride through the West, as told by an old-fashioned traveling tent show,” Roadside (book and lyrics by Tom Jones, music by Harvey Schmidt) promises fun for all ages. Based on a play by Lynn Riggs, Roadside shines a light on individuals who fought against statehood in Oklahoma. It tells the story of Pap Raider, a widower whose daughter, Hannie, is being wooed by Buzzey, the farmer, and Texas, a cowboy outlaw. Who will win her hand? You will have to see the show to find out!

Three performances will be offered the first weekend in March. Opening night is Friday, March 6, at 7:30 p.m. with a second evening performance on Saturday, March 7. A Sunday matinee on March 8 at 3 p.m. will bring the final curtain down on Roadside. all performances are free of charge in the Robinson Christian Center on the San Marcos Academy campus.

Roadside is loaded with “corn, clowns and olio” as the MTI website puts it, paying tribute to the old-time western variety or “medicine” show. A cast of one dozen talented Academy students will fill the stage with song, humor and of course, romance. Many in the cast will be familiar to SMA theatre fans. The troupe includes Ian Faris, Truett Martin, Cortlyn Haresnape, Bennett Blair, Jaden Fisher, Mac Daniel Howard, Daven Meredith, Iliamna Sommerlatte, Hannah Bennett, Claire Brinkley, Selah Portis, and Mia Clay.

Talent will be evident behind the scenes as well as on the stage, with Daryl Fleming as director and Patricia Fleming as musical director. Amy Brinkley also lends her skills in costume design and construction. Carter Pruitt will serve as assistant director, while Frankie Blair is stage manager (and lead painter), and Caleb Guenther is technical director. Others on the crew are Cendra Rodriguez, technical assistant; Hudson Lee, running crew; and Cameron Opiela, lead carpenter. Live accompaniment will be provided by Fred Ratliff on the piano.

In an effort to expand the cultural experience of the musical production, the Theatre Department will use this opportunity to pay tribute to local artist Buchanan “Buck” Winn, Jr. The background painting is taken from a section of one of Winn’s most famous works, The History of Ranching mural, reproduced on stage by sophomore Frankie Blair.

Winn was a Texas-born muralist, sculptor, architect, and inventor, whose over-sized works in the 1930’s were commissioned and installed at the Dallas Medical Arts Building, Highland Park Village Theatre, Titche-Goettinger Building, Hillcrest Mausoleum, the Amon Carter Airport, the Texas Centennial and World’s Fair in Dallas, to name just a few. In San Marcos, Winn’s work can be seen at Texas State University (the exterior of Flowers Hall) and at the Hays County Justice Center, where panels of the History of Ranching mural were recently installed. Winn’s “Morning Glory” sculptures were installed at Aquarena Springs in San Marcos in 1963 and stood there until they were airlifted to the family’s ranch in Wimberley in 2011. Works of Buck Winn were also installed at TCU in Fort Worth, Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Southwestern University in Georgetown and the University of Texas at Austin.

Flowers Hall at Texas State University features this fresco by Buck Winn.

So, y’all grab your hat, check your spurs, and make plans now to attend one of the three performances of Roadside at SMA March 6-8. We look forward to seeing you there!

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