East Texas Performing Arts Present Nine Day Music & Theatre Festival

East Texas Performing Arts Present Nine Day Music & Theatre Festival

JEFFERSON- Drama (Sightings and High Tide), a superb musical stage play (Bye Bye Birdie), comedy (The Bowden Early Experience), and lots of great featured musicians in concert (Richard Bowden, John Early, Lacie Carpenter and the Southern String Line, Marcus Leary, Daniel Foster, Shane Mathews, and Sarah Griffin) take the stage at East Texas Performing Arts’ nine day festival August 2 – 10 at Jefferson’s Transportation & Visitor Center, 305 E. Austin.

 Experience refines performers and makes them better.  Richard Bowden and John Early have more than enough experience!  In addition to their great music, they entertain with humor and musical parodies.  Get a glimpse of where today’s Country/Rock craze came from.  Now you can see them in person, right here in Jefferson kicking off the festival on Friday, August 2, and closing the event on Saturday, August 10, both at 7:30.

Sightings and High Tide, two one-act dramas by Brad Slaight, were first performed at American Conservatory Theatre’s Young Conservatory in San Francisco. Both plays explore and define the pressures that young people face and the reality of complicated relationships. In Sightings, Jared Morton eagerly awaits his rendezvous with beings from planet Zun. He asked his best friend, Julie, to take this journey with him. Unfortunately, this falls on prom night. Julie reluctantly meets him. Jared’s dialog with Julie, the woman he has loved all of his life, is emotional and heart rending. 

Director Sara Whitaker received an award for her 1994 direction of this play at the Lenea Festival at California State University at Sacramento. She is thrilled to direct it with a new set of eyes, and a talented cast. Sightings features Cristiana McMullen and Jesse Vinton, both in Bye Bye Birdie, and ETBU Theatre student Trace Craver.

High Tide focuses on Brian and Keith as they grieve the death of their beloved friend Kirk. These buddies discover they never really knew their friend. Tension arises between them as two girls arrive seeking their help. Brian sorts out his feelings about his friend’s passing and tells the truth about what really happened to Kirk. See some of East Texas Performing Arts finest young talent: Trace Craver, Haley Hanks, Cristiana McMullen, Tyler James-Watson Smith and Jesse Vinton.   “I am so proud of the commitment from these young actors,” said Whitaker. “They go places emotionally that they are unusual on stage. They are fearless. I am so excited!” Sightings/High Tide performs Wednesday, August 7 at 7:30 and Saturday, August 10 at 2pm.

Marcus Leary, Shane Mathews, Sarah Griffin will provide country fusion music at its best. These East Texas favorites bring their friends and get Jefferson stompin’ & clappin’. Don’t miss this kickoff for the week’s great entertainment on Tuesday, Aug. 6 at 7:30. 

Lacie Carpenter and The Southern String Line (Sarah Griffin, and Shane Mathews) are well loved in Jefferson. They bring new music and old favorites. The show’s theme, “Around the World and Back Home” will take the audience on a memorable journey with a Country/Rock flavor. This is a must-see performance on Thursday, Aug. 8 at 7:30.

The Texas Tumbleweed Cowboy Extravaganza with the Bear Creek Boys, Derek Duncan, Teonna Hall & Friends brings
truly authentic bluegrass, original cowboy poetry, and moving gospel music on Saturday afternoon at 2 pm, Aug. 3. The next afternoon will be Sunday Gospel, Country, and Classic Rock with Daniel Foster, The East Texas “Man in Black” with Darby Warren and Friends.                

Two performances of Tony award winning Bye Bye Birdie at 7:30, Saturday, August 3, and Friday, August 9, give an opportunity to once again enjoy this beloved American musical. Students from five different East Texas school districts are on stage backed by Tom Moss’ spectacular sets that transform quickly from New York’s Penn Station to Sweet Apple, Ohio, to the MacAfee home and back again. This musical American satire is set in 1958 and inspired by the phenomenon of Elvis Presley’s Army draft notice. The rock star character’s name, “Conrad Birdie” was a word play on the name Conway Twitty, best remembered for his long career as a country music star, but in the late 1950s, he was Presley’s rock and roll rival. This family friendly musical represents a simpler time in America. “It was an era when a kiss on television was scandalous and going off to war was routine,” adds Whitaker.

Tickets are available online at  or at Roys Rails (602 N. Polk) and Fashion & Art Revival (115 E. Austin). For more information call  925-366-7360 or email   The Jefferson Transportation and Visitor Center is located at 305 E. Austin St. in historic downtown Jefferson.

Performances:                            Jefferson Visitor & Transportation Center

Friday, August 2 @ 7:30pm (Richard Bowden and John Early)

Saturday, August 3 @ 2pm (Texas Tumbleweed Extravaganza)

Saturday, August 3 @ 7:30pm (Bye Bye Birdie)

Sunday, August 4 @ 2 pm (Daniel Foster with Darby Warren and Friends)

Tuesday, August 6 @ 7:30 pm (Marcus Leary, Shane Matthews and Sarah Griffin)

Wednesday, August 7 @ 7:30 pm (Sightings and High Tide)

Thursday, August 8 @ 7:30 pm (Lacie Carpenter and The Southern String Line)

Friday, August 9 @ 7:30 pm (Bye Bye Birdie)

Saturday, August 10 @ 2 pm (Sightings and High Tide)

Saturday, August 10 @ 7:30 (Richard Bowden and John Early)

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