UTPB student in ‘Last Roundup of the Guacamole Queens’
February 23, 2018
Consider three off-center sisters, a skinny-dipping governor of Texas, a man whose “best friend” is an evil hand puppet and an aunt and her niece vying for the title of “Guacamole Queen.” Throw in a scoundrel or two, and you will have just a glimpse of the hilarity that ensues in “The Last Roundup of the Guacamole Queens.” Written by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, and Jamie Wooten, the comedy opens 7:30 p.m. tonight (Jan, 23) at the VFW Hall in Midland (409 Veterans Airpark Lane). Tonight only there will be free refreshments, a Wine and Cheese reception that includes soft drinks, and beer. Tickets are $15 tonight due to the free wine, beer and food. Saturday night, Feb. 24 donations will be accepted for ticket prices. UTPB students get in free with Student ID Feb. 24. Call 522-5225 for reservations. Eight performances are scheduled: Feb. 23 and 24, March 2, 3, 4, 9, 19, 11. Curtain time for Fridays and Saturdays is 7:30 p.m. ($15). Sunday matinees are set for 2:30 p.m. ($10).
The comedy is being presented by “The Maverick Players,” well known for shenanigans on the stage. Offstage, things got tough due to the flu. Maverick Player Mary Lou Cassidy, who is stepping in for a previous director, noted: “This has been a last-man-standing show as we tried to rehearse a production in the Flu Attack of 2018. We had four actors and a director drop out since the show was cast in January. I am serving as the substitute director. The stalwart band on stage tonight has stared flu in the face and survived! Come see us. We are Survivors!”
Cassidy said that tonight’s reception will have music provided by the Midland Community Band Combo. She said: The show itself is chicken-fried funny.”
The closing of the high school in the fictional town of Sweetgum, Texas, and the school’s final class reunion brings together zany and odd characters including Sara Anderson. “I play the part of Gaynelle Verdeen. I am one of the Verdeen cousins working to plan our high school reunion and reclaim the Guacamole Queen title I once had in high school,” Anderson said. Gaynelle’s Aunt LaMerie (Marion Kimberly) also covets the title of Guacamole Queen. Kimberly describes her character as: “the arrogant, nasty, unpopular matriarch of Sweetgum, Texas.” Additional characters include Gary B. Simmons, an actual graduate of Texas A&M University ironically performing as Raynerd, who Simmons states: “is not too sharp, but very willing to help out where needed. Michael B. Trost as Uncle Aubrey Verdeen, the family patriarch and well-known scoundrel who says (although over 90), “he has plenty of gas left in the tank.”
Steve Geddes portrays Dewey Davenport the nerdy high school outcast, who developed an unusual coping mechanism that has turned into a full-blown alter ego. Erica Reagan will perform as Peaches Verdeen. Reagan said: “Peaches is one of three cousins. She is overly concerned with her love life. I relate her to Blanche from the Golden Girls. She is kind at heart and would do ANYTHING for her cousins!
Did I mention she is a Mortuarial Cosmotologist?”
New to Midland is Sherrie Cooke. This will be her first time in a Maverick’s production. She is double-cast as Dixie Davenport, television evangelist and as the assistant to the governor. Paula Waldrop is cast as Jimmie Wyvette Verdeen, Waldrop said. “Jimmie is a middle-aged tomboy in a major way. She is the founder of Wide Bride, a wedding attire business for your plus-sized Texas gals in and around her hometown of Sweetgum, Texas. She’s a rough-and-tumble sort of person who has little regard for rules and regulations.”
Mark Donaldson plays Sheriff Grover Lout. If his name sounds familiar, it’s because he recently retired as Ector County Sheriff. Cindy Ogelsby and Charlene Dodge play twin sisters, and Cindy Ogelsby said that she is the “cantankerous elderly Ennis.”
Finally, a University of Texas of the Permian Basin student, Michelle Mathews will take the stage as Cee Cee Windom, Sweetgum television star in the show.
This is the third play in the “Verdeen Trilogy.” Cassidy said the playwrights “are the most produced in the nation because they are very, very funny.”