School of Arts and Humanities News

Small-Town Texas is the Backdrop for 2 Dramas Opening This Week

Lone Star poster, UT Dallas

UT Dallas students will perform two one-act plays by James McLure in a production that starts Thursday.

Two one-act plays about life in small-town Texas will kick off an arts weekend that will also include a concert tribute to a legendary pop and jazz vocal group.

UT Dallas students will present “Laundry and Bourbon” and “Lone Star” back to back beginning Thursday night and continuing through Saturday. Both works are by playwright James McLure.

“Laundry and Bourbon” is set on the front porch of Roy and Elizabeth’s home in Maynard, Texas, on a hot summer afternoon. Elizabeth and her friend Hattie are whiling away the time folding laundry, watching TV, sipping bourbon and Coke, and gossiping about the many open secrets that are a staple of small-town life. The conversation becomes increasingly edged with bitter humor, but from it emerges a sense of Elizabeth’s inner strength and her quiet understanding of the turmoil which has beset her husband since his return from Vietnam. He is wild and unfaithful, but she loves him and she’ll be waiting for him when he comes home — no matter what others may say or think.

“Lone Star” takes place in the cluttered backyard of a small-town Texas bar. Roy, a brawny, macho type who had once been a local high-school hero, is back in town after a hitch in Vietnam and trying to re-establish his position in the community. He cherishes three things above all: his country, his wife and his 1959 pink Thunderbird. However, with the arrival of Cletis, the foolish, newlywed son of the local hardware store owner, the underpinnings of Roy’s world begin to collapse.

Each performance begins at 8 p.m. in the University Theatre. The Thursday night show is free to everyone. General admission tickets for the Friday and Saturday shows are $15 and $10 for faculty, staff and non-UT Dallas students. Tickets are free to UT Dallas students with valid identification. Advance tickets may be purchased online or by calling 972-883-2552. Tickets bought in advance may be picked up at the door prior to the show.


On Friday and Saturday, the UT Dallas Chamber Singers and students from Advanced Vocal Instruction will pay tribute to the pop and jazz group The Manhattan Transfer. UT Dallas students will sing favorites such as “Route 66,” “Operator,” “Snowfall,” “Java Jive,” “Boy from New York City,” and “Tuxedo Junction.” The concert is directed by Kathryn Evans, head of vocal and choral music at UT Dallas, and features Michael McVay as accompanist.

The Manhattan Transfer has been entertaining audiences since 1972 with four-part renditions of vocal music from the last four decades. In 1982, the group became the first to win Grammy Awards in both pop and jazz categories.

The group has released 29 albums and continues to tour. Their music and stunning arrangements cover jazz, pop, rock, soul and the blues.

The concert begins at 8 p.m. each night in the Jonsson Performance Hall. The vocal performance is free and open to the public.

This Story Originally Appeared on UT Dallas News Center