Winter Park / Theatre: Introducing Tuna, Texas, population 24 |

Winter Park / Theatre: Introducing Tuna, Texas, population 24

Something fishy is afoot as curtains open tonight to highlight Tuna, the “third-smallest” town in the big state of Texas.

The Grand Theatre Company of Winter Park is pleased to present “Christmas Tuna,” the second in a trilogy of comedic plays, (preceded by “Greater Tuna” and followed by “Red, White and Tuna”), each set in the fictional town.

The trilogy is usually presented on stage by two sole actors playing everycharacter in town, and the Grand Theatre Company follows this classic tradition. Aaron Rustebakke and Randel Davis star in the production and portray all 24 of Tuna’s citizens.

“Thanks to some fast costume changes, the actors are able to portray all the men, women and children of Tuna with masterful comedic timing,” said Kimberlee Nanda, co-owner and president.

Nanda said the original production was done with a bare stage and almost no props, and that the company has “jazzed it up a bit with wonderful costumes and a festive holiday set, complete with antlers on the wall, and beer cans in the wreaths.

“It’s 24 hours before Christmas and all comic hell is about to break loose as the delightfully eccentric characters attempt to cope with seasonal traumas.” The plot, she said, centers on the town’s annual Christmas Yard Display Contest, which resident Vera Carp has won 14 times in a row.

But Carp is up for a surprise as a mysterious “Christmas Phantom,” known for vandalizing the yard displays, makes some waves. He threatens to throw the contest (and likely Carp as well) into turmoil. Other town residents include Stanley Bumiller who is trying to leave Tuna. There’s Bertha Bumiller who is trying to host a family get-together, and Joe Bob Lipsey who runs into trouble as he attempts to launch a successful production of “A Christmas Carol.”

“Come visit Tuna, Texas where the Lion’s Club is too liberal and Patsy Cline never dies,” said Nanda.

The play is rated PG.

Future performances of the “Tuna Christmas” are on Dec. 20, 22, 26 28 and 30. Curtains go up at 7:30 p.m. for all shows.

Play performances alternate with another of the Grand Theatre Company’s offerings, “The Santaland Diaries,” based on the book by David Sedaris. Shows for that play are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Dec. 15, 19, 21, 23, 27 and 29; and are rated R for strong language.

Tickets for the plays are $17 for adults, $15 for seniors and students, and $12 for children age 12 and under. The Grand Theatre Company stage is located next to the movie theatre complex and offers a full cocktail and dessert service. For more information or to make a reservation, call the Box Office at (970) 726-5048.

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