Texas Comedies creates musical comedies about famous – and infamous – events in Texas. We’ve done shows about the Texas Revolution, Spanish explorers, Bonnie & Clyde, the border patrol, and oil boomtowns. We’re always looking for new ideas: events in your Texas town or county to turn into an entertaining one-hour show with a live band.
Dougherty Arts Center, Austin, March 2017
Set in Austin, Texas on the eve of Prohibition and World War I, this production follows the feud between the “Drys” and the “Wets.”
The True Story of Bonnie & Clyde
Historic Casino Hall, La Grange, October 2016
Based on two Dallas reporters who pursue the story of the Barrow Gang and achieve flickering fame of their own. As the title of the opening song states, “Most of This is True.”
Murders & Moontowers
Dougherty Arts Center, Austin, February 2016
In the 1880s, Austin was in the grip of crime, corruption and mayhem. Seven women were murdered over the course of one year, leading to hysteria, vigilante justice, construction of the “Moontowers,” and now — a musical comedy with live band.
THE TRUE STORY OF BONNIE & CLYDE
In the ‘30s, the newspapers loved Bonnie and Clyde. Reporters called them everything from bloodthirsty killers to modern-day Robin Hoods. Whether heroes or villains, their iconic images sold millions of newspapers to a fascinated public.The True Story of Bonnie and Clyde explores the mix of fact and fiction in 1930s journalism that landed Bonnie and Clyde on the front pages of national newspapers.
The next installment of the Texas History Musicals, The True Story of Bonnie and Clyde–a one-hour musical created by John Cecil–tells an action-packed tale of crime and passion taken straight from newspaper reports of the 1930s. The production, which features a live band, is based on two Dallas reporters who pursue the story of the Barrow Gang and achieve flickering fame of their own. Hell-bent on selling papers, the two reporters come perilously close to the real Bonnie and Clyde. And, as the title of the opening song states, “Most of This is True.”
About Bonnie and Clyde
Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were notorious outlaws from Dallas who, as part of the Barrow Gang, traveled across central United States, committing robberies and murders during the Great Depression. Their exploits riveted the entire nation in the early 1930s. Killed in a 1934 ambush, Bonnie and Clyde remain pop culture icons through movies, music and theatrical productions.
Cast and Ensemble
The cast includes: Audrey Acosta, Candice Carr, Carl Guthrie, Joshua Meindertsma, Megan Ortiz and Phil Rodriguez. The live band features Jonathan Hoyle, Chris La Cava, Jason Silverberg, and Mikey Walters.
BOOMTOWN GOES TO BORGER
Crank Collective has been invited to perform their 2014 show, Boomtown (based on the early days of Borger, Texas), in the actual town for their Birthday Celebration, March 7, 2015.
Interview Excerpt KUTX radio, Austin
A rowdy one-hour musical comedy about how Borger, Texas became the most lawless town in America
In the 1920s, wildcat oil strikes, sudden wealth and the 18th heroes, villains, and lawless new townships. The most notorious of these unruly cities was the panhandle town of Borger, Texas–which director John Cecil uses as the setting for his newest musical comedy, Boomtown. Inspired by the Thomas Hart Benton painting of the same title and based on memoirs and documents from the period, Boomtown is the third and final installment of Crank Collective’s Texas Musical Series. Boomtown follows the life of land promoter Asa “Ace” Borger, who seizes an opportunity to capitalize on oil strikes in the Texas Panhandle. Making a million dollars in a single day selling land, lumber, and political offices, Borger saw the population of his town boom at a staggering rate. With the notorious “Two-Gun” Dick Herwig installed as sheriff, the small city became overrun with dancehalls, bootleg liquor joints, gambling and armed robbery. The city was ultimately pacified with martial law, the Texas Rangers and the National Guard. As the final part of the Texas History Musical series, Boomtown is an hour-long musical comedy with a live band. The latest production follows Crank Collective’s Alamo Aftermath and Cabeza de Vaca, where letters, memoirs and photographs are used to create a true-to-life historical musical theatre experience.
About Asa “Ace” Borger
Oilmen, prospectors, roughnecks, panhandlers, fortune-seekers, card shards and bootleggers descended on the Texas town, founded in 1926 by Borger, within a matter of months. Overseen by Sheriff “Two-Gun Dick” Herwig, robbery became commonplace amidst gambling dens, dancehalls and speakeasies. Acting on citizens’ petitions, Governor Moody imposed martial law and sent troops to rid the town of lawlessness. The goal was eventually achieved, but not before Borger was shot and killed by his longtime enemy, Arthur Huey.
Cast and Ensemble
The cast features: Phil Rodriguez, Morgan Pinales, Dara Palmer, Dan Dalbout, Joshua Meindertsma, Candice Carr, Dan McLintock and Matthew Melton. Musicians include: Jonathan Hoyle, Chris La Cava, John Cecil and Michael Walters.
After the Alamo fell, the Texas army under Sam Houston retreated, leaving behind charred settlements and a mob of evacuating civilians. Heroes and villains of every background emerged in this “Runaway Scrape,” ending the battle with a victory for Texas at San Jacinto. Crank Collective, under the direction of John Cecil, tells this incredible story in a one-hour operetta featuring drama, comedy, battle scenes and music with a live band.
Second of three in a series of Texas History Musicals, the production follows Tejano patriot José Antonio Menchaca from besieged San Antonio to East Texas, where he becomes embroiled in the war’s final battle. Fighting alongside him are the Barnaby brothers, reluctant soldiers who fled scandal in Georgia to claim cheap land in Texas. Based partly on Menchaca’s memoir and historical documents, the all-ages production of Alamo Aftermath tells of love of country, lust for land and the birth of the nation of Texas.
INTERVIEW ON KUT radio
CABEZA DE VACA
WHEN: 8 pm, April 2013
WHERE: Rollins Studio Theatre at the Long Center for the Performing Arts, 701 W Riverside
AUSTIN, Texas—As the first of two Texas history operettas, Crank Collective presents Cabeza de Vaca: Shipwrecked in Texas— a musical tribute to the extraordinary journey of Cabeza de Vaca, the 16th century Spanish Explorer who shipwrecked on Galveston island in 1527 and struggled to survive in a Native American land. Cabeza de Vaca survived as a slave, a trader and a medicine man, lived on cactus, roots and raw meat, and mysteriously learned to heal the sick and raise the dead. Director John Cecil and Crank Collective have transformed his story into an enchanting, even light-hearted rock musical expedition for Crank’s Long Center debut. This all-ages production follows last year’s Antarctica and Drone(2011).
Texas Comedies is a project from Crank Collective, a theater and musical group based in Austin, Texas.