Athens Review, Athens, Texas

August 6, 2013

HCPAC celebrates 25th summer musical anniversary

Performances begin Thursday, 7:30 p.m., and run through Saturday

Kathi Nailling
The Athens Review

Athens — In 1964, a small group of volunteers had an idea about a live theatre in Athens. Fifty years later, the Athens Little Theatre, now the Henderson County Performing Arts Center, is still going strong.  The sentiment in Henderson County is the same for everyone you ask: “As the years go by, it only gets better and more entertaining.”

The HCPAC this year celebrated 25 years of it's summer musical program. The summer musicals at the Performing Arts Center have entertained and delighted  the community  since 1989 and continue to bring the best musical talent in Henderson County. HCPAC has brought education, entertainment and enriched our culture life through a summer musical theatre experience.

The first musical produced at HCPAC was “Grease.” That play was performed for a sold-out audience and the tradition continues today.

The Silver Anniversary is being celebrated with the current summer musical “Annie Get Your Gun.”   That production is a  classic musical about the fictionalized life of sharpshooter Annie Oakley. Lyrics are by songwriter Irving Berlin.

The musical tells a story about Col. Buffalo Bill Cody who discovers Annie. He persuades this novel sharpshooter to join his Wild West Show.  What happens next is that Frank Butler falls head-over-heels in-love with the sharpshooter. Actor Shannon Ryan stars as Annie Oakley.

“Annie Get your Gun” will be running through Saturday with shows starting at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. Two shows on Saturday are with a 2 p.m. matinee and  a run at 7:30 p.m.  Tickets are available by calling  903-675-3908.

“We are pleased we have been able to celebrate 25 years of summer musicals,”  HCPAC Executive Director Dennis Gilmore said.

Gilmore brought the summer musical program to the Performing Arts Center when he was hired in 1989 as Executive Director.

Gilmore said the HCPAC has had an impact on Henderson County and the Athens community. Students are getting into drama.  At least 14 former students at HCPAC are not working professionally. The Performing Arts Center helped create the Drama Department in Athens Independent School District . 

“We are proud of we what have accomplished and how far our students have gone,”  Gilmore said.

In 2014, when HCPAC celebrates 50 years,  they will be presenting eight shows and all will be on the main stage. The plans are to do shows from the past season that were crowd favorites.  Season tickets are on sale for the 2014 season at www.hcpac.org.