O&AN wants to send you and a guest to see the hilarious holiday favorite A Tuna Christmas at TPAC! All you have to do to enter is send us an email to editor@outvoices.us with “Tuna” in the subject line. Be sure to include a phone number in your entry so we can call you if you win. Good luck!

More about A Tuna Christmas...

A Tuna Christmas, the hilarious sequel to the hit comedy, Greater Tuna, starring Tony Award-nominated Joe Sears and Jaston Williams is back at TPAC Dec. 18-23.

Master comedians Sears and Williams, with their deft comedic timing, trademark characterizations and split-second costume changes, portray all 24 citizens of Tuna, the third smallest town in Texas, where the Lion’s Club is too liberal and Patsy Cline never dies!

This time, it’s 24 hours before Christmas and the delightfully eccentric characters are attempting to cope with seasonal traumas such as a disaster prone little theatre production of A Christmas Carol, and a yard-decorating contest being sabotaged by a mysterious Christmas phantom.

Critics have raved: “The show is a hoot, and the cast, Joe Sears and Jaston Williams, is two hoots,” proclaims David Richards of The New York Times.

“This show is so funny. It’s far too good just for Christmas, states the New York Post.

“There’s plenty to ho-ho-ho about. A Tuna Christmas is a delightful gift for longtime Tuna fans and newcomers alike,” exclaims the Dallas Morning News.

For ticketing and additional information on A Tuna Christmas, visit www.tpac.org/tuna.

The Tuna, Texas Historical Society takes a look back

The mythical third smallest town in the Lone Star State has become home to the most successful stage trilogy of all time. Few productions have sustained the longevity and popularity that the original show in the series, Greater Tuna, has enjoyed over the years. The Tuna legend is now a matter of history – a history we are happy to share with you today.

The show began in Austin, Texas in 1981 as a simple party skit based on a political cartoon. Talented creators Joe Sears, Jaston Williams and Ed Howard were the imaginative authors that parlayed the sketch into a critically acclaimed production which has entertained audiences across the country ever since.

Greater Tuna is the hilarious comedy that parodies small-town Texas with the city slogan ‘the Lion’s Club is too liberal and Patsy Cline never dies.' The eclectic band of citizens that make up this town are portrayed by only two performers, making this satire on life in rural America even more delightful as they depict all of the inhabitants of Tuna – men, women, children and animals.

The early tour dates found an instant audience coast to coast as the show played to packed houses in San Francisco, Atlanta, Houston and Hartford before original stars Joe Sears and Jaston Williams found themselves performing Greater Tuna for over a year Off-Broadway at Circle in the Square Theatre. This successful New York run led to an HBO Special produced by Norman Lear, which took the Tuna Phenomenon to every household in America.

By 1985, Greater Tuna was the most produced play in the United States with schools, colleges, community and professional theatres all anxious to add the hit comedy to their repertoire. Meanwhile, Joe Sears and Jaston Williams were continuing their whirlwind tours in such prestigious venues as the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, the Marines Memorial Theatre in San Francisco and the American Spoleto Festival.

Greater Tuna’s popularity crossed the Atlantic in 1988 as the highlight of Scotland’s famed Edinburgh Festival. Back at home, the Marines Memorial Theatre in San Francisco began a local production of Greater Tuna, which ran continuously for a record-breaking seven years.

The popularity of Greater Tuna has even extended to the most distinguished home in the country, with Command Performances at the White House upon the invitation of President and Mrs. Bush in 1990 and again in 1991.

The demand for a sequel became so great that writers Jaston Williams, Joe Sears and Ed Howard created A Tuna Christmas, in which the much beloved citizens of Tuna cope with a blizzard of seasonal traumas and delivering Yuletide chuckles to Tuna fans.

In December of 1994, A Tuna Christmas took Broadway by storm, playing to rave reviews and turning the toughest New York critics into Tuna fans. That year, Joe Sears was presented with the esteemed honor of a Tony Award nomination for Best Actor in a Play. In 1995 a second team of actors began a run of Greater Tuna in Dallas that entertained audiences at the Tuna Little Theatre, which became Dallas’ longest running play. November 1997 marked the 1000th performance of A Tuna Christmas as it continues to delight audiences around the country each holiday season.

To complete the Tuna trilogy, creators Jaston Williams and Joe Sears unveiled Red, White and Tuna, to record breaking box office grosses throughout Texas in the summer of 1998. This final chapter tells the deliciously insane tale of the denizens of Tuna as they celebrate the Fourth of July and the Tuna High School Reunion. You just can’t breathe tomorrow’s air until you see who wins Tuna’s Reunion Queen Contest.

Joe Sears and Jaston Williams’ more than 30-year stage partnership has outlasted the comic duos of Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello and Martin and Lewis.

This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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