Theatre Off The Square (TOTS) is about to make history.
The theatre group has presented a lot of productions over many years. However, on Dec. 1 they will do something no theatre group has ever done.
For the first time on any stage, "A Doublewide, Texas Christmas" will be presented. It is the latest project from the famous play-writing group Jones Hope Wooten, Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten. The trio are renowned for their comedic productions.
"This definitely puts us “on the map,” TOTS President Laurie Jones said. "It is indeed an honor that we have been asked to produce a World Premiere for Jones Hope Wooten. They feel we have good quality theatre in our community, and they trust us to continue to showcase their wonderful, hilarious scripts."
The story features the citizens of the newest – and tiniest – town in Texas,who are facing a blue Christmas when they realize their trailer park community of Doublewide has been double-crossed by the county. They deploy one hare-brained scheme after another in misguided attempts to preserve their independence and eccentric way of life. The high-octane lunacy climaxes in a live Christmas Eve television presentation that goes spectacularly wrong.
The evening will begin with the premiere of the show at the TOTS theater on 114 N. Denton St. at 7 p.m. After, there will be a celebration fundraiser, the TOTS Red and Black Gala at the Doss Heritage and Culture Center from 9-11 p.m. The playwrights will be there, as well as honorary host Ruth Buzzi and local TV personality Tammy Dombeck as the emcee. There will be food, wine, live music, a slide show, and silent auction. Cost is $50 per ticket.
The trust Jones Hope Wooten has came from previous experience with TOTS, said the playwrights.
"About a year ago, we gave our family of theatres a challenge by posting this on our website (joneshopewooten.com) FaceBook page: 'Let us know what theatre in America you think has produced the greatest number of Jones Hope Wooten comedies to date," Jessie Jones said. "In fact, Theatre Off The Square, right here in Weatherford, Texas, was the answer and TOTS still holds the record today.
"TOTS was one of the very first theatres to book a Jones Hope Wooten Comedy. After two or three of our shows were produced here, we said, 'Gee, are folks in Weatherford our kind of people or what?' And we’ve continued to write comedies and TOTS has continued to produce them, and to our way of thinking this is a match made in theatre heaven."
While TOTS has never hosted a world premiere, they did host the Southwest premiere of "The Red Velvet Cake War" by the trio in 2010. It was the first of a trilogy about the trials and tribulations of the Verdeen cousins of the small town of Sweetgum, Texas.
"We had great attendance. Jones Hope Wooten productions are always very popular," Laurie Jones said. "We have a wonderful relationship with this international team of writers. The team respects and corresponds often with Jon R. Kruse, director of 'A Doublewide, Texas Christmas,' and director of many of the other shows as well."
Laurie Jones said the premiere will include the director, cast and crew being listed in the first published script for the show, something for the world to see.
"As we were included in the front of the actual published script of 'The Red Velvet Cake War,' Theatre Off The Square will be listed in the front of the published world premiere script as the only theatre internationally who premiered the production," she said. "We continually strive to increase our pool of actors with people within and outside of Weatherford."
Laurie Jones said the premiere is also good for the city of Weatherford business-wise.
"We want new folks to come to our community, stay here, visit our sights, eat in our restaurants," she said. "Having this world premiere brings tourism to Weatherford and shows others outside of Weatherford that we have a wonderful, historical, art-filled community."
Tickets to the show and/or the Gala can be purchased at the Weatherford Chamber of Commerce, by calling TOTS at 817-341-8687, or on the TOTS website at www.theatreoffthesquare.org.
Members of the cast are Debra Gass as Big Ethel Satterwhite, Rebecca Young as Georgia Dean Rudd, Kate Cowling as Lark Barken, Dan Parris as Haywood Sloggett, Kathy Manning as Patsy Price, Ray Shannon as Norwayne “Baby” Crumpler, Peggy Osburn as Caprice Crumpler, Megan Hamilton as Joveeta Crumpler, and Nikolai Braswell as Nash Sloggett. Working with director Kruse are Roberta Furman, Chuck Hudson, and Wally Jones as assistant directors, and Jessica Michel as stage manager.