Jefferson’s Sanctuary Players Debut “Every Seventeen Minutes The Crowd Goes Crazy!”

Jefferson’s Sanctuary Players Debut “Every Seventeen Minutes The Crowd Goes Crazy!”

17 castmembers Evelyn Heard, Richard LeBell, Tyler Smith, Will Smith, Joshua Grubbs

JEFFERSON – Jefferson’s Sanctuary Players Theater Company presents Every Seventeen Minutes the Crowd Goes Crazy!, Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Paul Zindel’s landmark play addressing the subject of parental abandonment and the pressures young people face living in a fast paced, confusing and unforgiving world.

The show debuts Saturday, June 16, and will run Sunday, June 17, Friday, June 22, and closes with matinee and evening performances on Saturday, June 23.  Jefferson’s First Annual Arts on the Bayou Theater Festival includes a reprise of the play August 5 & 12.

This drama/comedy features youth from all over East Texas. Director Sara Whitaker is thrilled about the enormously talented cast. “This group of young people has exceeded my expectations. Their focus and dedication during the rehearsal process will undoubtedly produce a great performance. I look forward to sharing their unique talents with the East Texas community,” says Whitaker.

17 castmembers Taylor and Darbi Davis

Harleton sisters Darbi and Taylor Davis portray sisters Gabby and Wendy.  Whitaker encouraged them to use their own experiences as sisters to deepen their characters’ relationship in the play. As a homework assignment, she suggested they spend more time together and try to simultaneously tell the same story.

Haley Hanks of Carthage and Marshall resident Jesse Vinton bring much experience to the stage as older siblings Maureen and Dave. Both look out for the rest of the family and try to keep everyone together. Corey Johnston, Datavian Irving, Caiden Phillips and Mason McNeely also play children in the family.

While the parents have fled to pursue a life of betting at trotter racetracks and playing blackjack at Native American casinos, the children are left to their own resources. The play builds to a great climax as the children wait to see if their parents will ever return. Richard LeBell, Will Smith, Tyler Smith, Evelyn Heard, Sydnie Downs and Joshua Grubbs portray friends of the teens and serve as the “Oprah-Speak Gap Chorus.”  Their humorous and poignant sound bites are the same heard daily in the media.  “This is a wonderful ensemble. I know the audience will be entertained. It is not to be missed!” adds Whitaker.

Tony award winning American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco commissioned Zindel to write Every Seventeen Minutes the Crowd Goes Crazy! for the advanced students in their Young Conservatory training program. Whitaker served as the assistant director and worked with Zindel and the actors during the intensive summer program and premiere in 1995. She is delighted to bring the play Jefferson.

Performances: Fellowship Hall of First United Methodist Church, 508 Line St., Jefferson, TX 75657
Saturday, June 16, 7:30 pm
Sunday, June 17, 2 pm
Friday, June 22, 7:30 pm
Saturday, June 23, 2 pm & 7:30 pm

Tickets: $15  (Students $12) may be purchased in Jefferson at Roy’s Toys & Trains, 114 N. Walnut, Fashion & Art Revival, 115 E. Austin, or on the website at


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