GOD’S MAN IN TEXAS
May 17 - June 3, 2018by David Rambo
Faith & Egos collide in the Age of Mass-Market Religion!
At Houston's Rock Baptist Church, "the Baptist Super Bowl”, a search committee has been formed to find a successor to Rock's legendary pastor, 81-year-old Philip Gottschall. Gottschall protects what he has spent a lifetime building by backing young Jeremiah Mears as his replacement, but as Jerry gains a foothold, Gottschall's grip on his pulpit becomes as firm as his faith. When Hugo, the pastor’s soundman, and Jerry discover their lives are astonishingly linked by past events, Gottschall fears their alliance and becomes haunted by "whisperings and secrets." As the struggle among this trinity of men climaxes, there is a sacrifice, a resurrection and, finally, salvation as God whispers to a listening heart.
ROGER STALLINGS (Rev. Gotschall) FORTY YEARS!!! That’s right. God’s Man in Texas marks the 40th anniversary of Roger working at College of the Mainland’s “Biggest Li'l Theatre in Texas.” He came onboard as a Speech and Theatre professor in 1978. He retired from COM after 36 years of teaching. But he never retired from the theatre! He has directed, choreographed and performed in 53 of COM’s shows over the years. This is his 54th connection to a show here. Not only is God’s Man in Texas his 54th, it is also the most challenging show of his career. “I have waited a long, long time to find a show like this one,” he says. In the early years, Roger directed shows like Jesus Christ, Superstar, Pippin, West Side Story and A Chorus Line. His favorite acting roles here have been playing Julian Marsh in 42nd St, Captain Hook in Peter Pan, John Proctor in The Crucible and Felix Unger in The Odd Couple. Actually, they have all been his favorites. The list is way too long! His children, now grown, grew up backstage at this theater. Both Adam and Jeffrey have also appeared on our stage. “It has always been a family affair,” says Roger. Because of some serious health problems, Roger has not been on our stage in over two years But he is back and ready to take on the challenge of his lifetime! And to the patrons of COM Theater, Roger dedicates this performance to all of you…the most wonderful audiences in the world!
RALPH KRAMER (Dr. Jeremiah Mears) Ralph is thrilled to be back on stage at COM after a ten year absence. Fifteen years ago, he made his debut stage performance in COM’s production of Forever Plaid as Smudge. Since that time, Ralph has performed at the Great Caruso Dinner Theater in 1950’s Doo Wopand Forever Plaid, and was in numerous COM’s productions, such as of the Merry Wives of Windsor, Boys Next Door, My Way, Stalag 17, and The Spitfire Grill. During Ralph’s absence from the stage, he and his wife were Pearland Band Booster Co-Presidents, and he was the “Voice of Halftime” for eight years for the Pearland Band. Ralph is currently serving as Club President for the Rotary Club of Space Center in Webster, and is a SVP/Senior Credit Officer of Icon Bank of Texas. He would like to thank his wife, Lori, for her support of all of his “hobbies”, and sends his love to his children, Madison and Sam.
BRIAN HAMLIN (Hugo Taney) is thrilled to share the stage with the fine gentleman above. You can learn more about him in his director’s bio below.
Hugo the technician (played by Brian Hamlin) is happy to offer up his suggestions for how a good sermon should flow.
The Directors Chair
Howdy COM Theater Family!!
Since my arrival 3 years ago, you’ve no doubt noticed many changes at The Biggest Li’l Theatre In Texas and I wanted to take this opportunity to provide you all some context and some firm assurance.
When COM Theatre lost its beloved director, Mark Adams, I was incredibly honored to be chosen to run this legendary stage that he led with such talent and passion for so very long. (This is my DREAM job, by the way…)
Upon being hired, the school entrusted me with a very specific, Three-Prong Task:
1. Continue to provide Artistic Direction for the Community Theatre.
2. GROW the Academic Theatre Program and, finally…
3. Meld the Community Theatre and the Academic Theatre Program together.
I immediately saw the benefits of melding the two!! With this incredible collaboration, we’d be continuing to bring outstanding community theatre to the public, providing adult, community actors a theatre home -AND- using this incredibly talent-rich environment as a training ground for our young Theatre Majors…
We already had a vibrant, established community theatre with a long history of quality entertainment, so I immediately set about recruiting young actors who wanted to pursue their life’s passion with an A.A. Theatre degree here at COM. The first thing I did was buy a bag of stage swords and started offering free workshops to all the local high school theatre programs and youth theatres. We saw almost immediate results! We grew from one single Theatre major when I arrived to 30 in just three years!! We revamped the curriculum, classes started filling up, more classes/sections were added – a wonderfully exciting time! And, through The Biggest Li’l Theatre In Texas, we are blessed with a much needed outlet to serve as their training space!
Under the leadership of COM President Warren Nichols, College of the Mainland has been busy developing new marketing strategies to take COM into the next millennium!! One of those strategies is that, since most people just refer informally to the school as “COM” anyway, they’re running with that and all branding in future will use the more informal “COM”: COM Nursing, COM P-Tech, COM Music… and “COM Theatre”. You no doubt have already begun to notice this shift here on Facebook in the page/group names and some of the more recent graphics in events notices.
BUT… make no mistake about it…. though it will no longer to be advertised / promoted / referred to, in terms of its name, as “College of the Mainland Community Theatre”… The change is COSMETIC ONLY.
COM THEATRE: The Biggest Li’l Theatre In Texas is…
- STILL a Community Theatre providing professional-level stage productions for the community at large!
- STILL holds Open Community Auditions for ALL shows. We cast the roles based on Talent and Age Appropriateness with actors from across the community!
- STILL Your Theatre Home! Work with us, sing with us, dance with us, train with us, enjoy great stage plays with us!
Exciting things are in the works at COM Theatre! I want you ALL – our COM Theatre Family - to be a part of it, whether it’s onstage or in the seats!!
THANK YOU for playing your vital role as an audience member tonightand for your generous support of The Biggest Li’l Theatre in Texas!
H. Russ Brown
COM Theatre Artistic Director
ZION LUERSON - A 2017 graduate from Texas City HS, Zion is a first-year Theatre major at College of the Mainland. Zion plans to work toward her Associate of Arts in Theatre and continue to grow her skills as an actor. In addition to her acting, Zion is also a gifted artist. She would like to give thanks to her parents for their constant support, and her sisters for comfort and encouragement in all that she does.
Behind the Scenes
Brian Hamlin (Guest Director) is excited to return to College of the Mainland for a 4th season. A Houston based actor, fight director, and director. His most recent fight direction was seen with the Landing Theatre Company in their production of In Darfur. Other companies Brian has worked with include Alley, Main Street, Stages Repertory Theatre, Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre, and Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival. Brian has taught graduate and undergraduate classes at the University of Houston, and has been a guest lecturer at Texas A&M University and University of Central Arkansas. He was named Director of Revel’s Houston, a local franchise of Revels Inc., in 2012. He received his Master of Fine Arts in Theatre from the University of Houston’s Professional Actor Training Program and is currently a professor in the Department of Theatre and Film at San Jacinto College Central in Pasadena, Texas.
Demi Sparks (Stage Manager) is excited to be a stage-managing God’s Man in Texas at “The Biggest Little Theatre In Texas”. She is currently finishing up her academic basics at COM and will graduate at the end of this semester with an Associates in Theatre from College of the Mainland, and a Bachelor’s in Technical Theatre Design from Texas A&M University Corpus Christi. Demi has worked professional theatre touring with Cirque du Soleil show Amaluna and is currently working at the Hobby Center in downtown Houston. She would like to thank all her Professors who have given her the skill sets to succeed in the crazy world of theatre. Demi would also like to thank her mother Kathy, and sister Melissa for always supporting and believing in her. “We did it!”
Jean Luchsinger (Assist. Stage Manager) is proud to be back working with COM Theatre again! She has been involved in theatre since the age of six when she helped out a local community theatre doing tech. She grew to being on stage with her first role The Lion in The Flowering and started blossoming all the way to Assistant Director for The House Divided at PLT! Her recent roles include Suzette from Don’t Dress for Dinner, Tood in The Cover of Life, and Domonique DuMonaco in Lucky Stiff. Jean would like to thank you #1 bud, Jevin for the bowling ball and the outmost support in anything she does. Also the cast and crew of God’s Man for their wonderful work and memories.
Joey Colao (Light Designer) Joey is currently a theatre major here at COM. He has served as light designer for several productions including Moon Over Buffalo, Talley’s Folly, and Lucky Stiff. This unfortunately will serve as Joey’s final show here as he is graduating this semester and will be off to work as an intern at Maples Repertory Theatre in Macon, Missouri. He would like to thank Curt Meyer, H. Russ Brown, Amanda Bezemek, and Brian Hamlin for all their patience and support.
Curt Meyer (Technical Director) received his B.S. in Technical Theatre from Lamar University in 1996, and his M.A. in scenic design and theatre technology from Southwest Texas State Univ. in 1999 before he began teaching at San Jacinto College Central from 2002-2014. His work has been seen in Houston, San Marcos, Baltimore and Atlanta, including designs for “Jesus Christ Superstar” (Beaumont Civic Opera), “A Streetcar Named Desire” (Southwest Texas) and most recently “Young Frankenstein” (San Jacinto College). Curt served on the Texas Educational Theatre Association board of directors in 2006-2007 / 2008-2009. Curt is also a UIL contest Manager and adjudicator.
Amanda Bezemek (Costume Designer) is a graduate of the Master of Fine Arts program at the University of Houston School of Theatre. In addition to her work at the university, she has also worked for the Alley Theatre, Stages and the Houston Shakespeare Festival and Children's Festival. Amanda joined the theatre staff at COM in February 2004.
Susan Gilbert (Box Office Manager) enjoys her busy job with the COM Theatre and has been with us since 1992. She believes the success of the COM Theatre can be attributed to the many volunteers who dedicated their time and energies to make this theatre one of the leading community theatres in the southwest. She also thanks Joyce Palmer for her endless energy in supporting COM Community Theatre and the box office. Susan resides in Texas City with her son Andrew.
COM Theatre Staff
Artistic Director..........H. Russ Brown
Technical Director......Curt Meyer
Costume Designer.....Amanda Bezemek
Box Office Manager...Susan Gilbert