By CHERIL VERNON
Composer and playwright William Allen Jones will attend the Palestine Community Theatre’s production of the musical he wrote “Ghosts: The Musical” Friday and Saturday at the Texas Theater.
“Ghosts: The Musical” will return for the third and final weekend with performances set for 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday.
A special wine and cheese reception for Jones will be held at 6:30 p.m. Saturday before the 7:30 p.m. performance.
“We’ve never had a writer/composer come see our show,” PCT director Sandy Couch Hanson said. “We are so excited to have him come here and invite everyone to come meet him.”
Jones is the co-founder of P&J Productions, P&J Theater Works and Footbridge Films. He has written four theatrical musicals: “A Christmas Caroled,” “Sherwood: The Musical Adventures of Robin Hood,” “Jack” and “Ghosts: The Musical,” which have been locally, regionally and nationally produced. In addition, Jones wrote the screenplay for the independent feature film version of his show “Ghosts: The Musical,” which was selected and awarded in the Los Angeles Cinema Festival of Hollywood, Accolade Film Festival, Buffalo-Niagara Film Festival, Las Vegas Film Festival, Hoboken Film Festival and The Manhattan Film Festival. Jones, along with his producing partner, Neil Port, has regionally produced, promoted and directed both theatrical and touring shows. He also has appeared on stage as Professor Harold Hill in “The Music Man,” Munkustrap in “Cats” and Billy Flynn in “Chicago.”
Similar to the story of the venue in which the production takes place, “Ghosts the Musical” is about a 100-year-old theater that is in danger of being torn down because it is in poor condition.
A young couple who loves the theater is joined by the actors and actresses who once graced the stage and have returned in supernatural form to save the theater.
According to PCT members, “Ghosts” tells a similar story of what the Texas Theater went through before PCT stepped in and brought it back to life.
“The Texas Theater has been on a rise and fall roller coaster since opening as the most expensive built theater in Texas at that time,” a PCT news release said. “For many years the theater fell into ruin and the doors were closed. Today, the theater stands in downtown Palestine in the best shape it has been in since the doors opened decades before.”
Longtime PCT director Sandy Couch Hanson is dedicating the show to her late husband, George Hanson, who played a vital role in PCT over the years.
“Every now and then a director gets to do a show that is particularly special. After more than 30 years of directing shows here at the Texas Theater, my special time has finally come. Last spring, I had the opportunity to read the script and hear the music for ‘Ghosts: The Musical.” I laughed, I cried and I immediately knew I wanted to bring the show to Palestine. You see, this really is our story. The writer and composer, William Allen Jones, wrote this marvelous show and had no idea what an impact it would make on our cast,” Hanson said.
“Once you see this show, I know you will understand why it is so very special and I feel like this is our gift to Palestine and our way of saying ‘thank you.’ Your generous support over the years has kept these doors open. You believed in our Palestine Community Theatre and the Texas Theater when no one else did. You see now you are all a part of the fabric of this theater. All your good memories and special times you have spent here with loved ones, some who are no longer here, will remain forever with you and this Grand Lady, the Texas Theater forever.”
More than 30 community members make up the cast.
“The songs are fantastic, all original. We have the best combination of cast, excellent singers, the best of the best on the stage,” Hanson said. “We had separate auditions for the dancers, led by choreographer Trish Couch. We have excellent dancers as well.”
Principal cast members include: Chaundra Dantin as “Anna”; Amelia Cook as “Elizabeth”; Michael Cook as “Toby”; Doug Smith as “Winchester”; Gerry Don Goodwin as “Dexter”; Dixie Lee Dorsett as “Hilda”; Jim Vincill as “Dooley”; Nathan Webb as “Memphis Aaron”; and Carol Moore as “Margaret Parsimony.”
Tickets for “Ghosts: The Musical” are $8 for ages 4-18 (children 3 and under may sit in your lap) and $12 for adults. Tickets also can be purchased online at www.outhousetickets.com.
Tickets are available for purchase at Education Unlimited, Dogwood Diner and the Palestine Area Chamber of Commerce. Tickets can also be purchased online at www.outhousetickets.com.