With Greater Tuna a regional mainstay and A Tuna Christmas a holiday tradition, Ed Howard, Jaston Williams and Joe Sears are busy doing the same for the third installment about life in the strangest Texas town this side of Horton Foote's Waxahatchee and Sam Shepard's Paris.
Red, White and Tuna, which played several Texas venues in April 1998, ends its brief return to Fort Worth's Casa Manana May 2. Tuna III, which began performances April 29, concerns the Tuna High School Reunion and Fourth of July Celebration.
Williams explained to Dallas writer Rita Faye Smith that the idea for Greater Tuna came about in 1981 and grew out of a party skit in Austin. "We had a friend in Austin who gave great parties and always invited lots of theatre people and would ask us to perform, so we went upstairs and created this impromptu skit. We knew from the reaction it was good enough to go in a cabaret setting." The show later reached Austin's Trans Act Theatre and Off-Broadway's Circle-In-The-Square. The sequel, A Tuna Christmas, opened on Broadway in 1994 and earned a 1995 best actor Tony nomination for Sears.
For further fishing on the various Tunas, check out the show's website: http://www.greatertuna.com -- which offers videos of the first two Tunas, signed scripts and posters, and other merchandise. For tickets to the Casa Manana engagement call (817) 332-2272.
Upcoming shows at Casa Manana include A Chorus Line (May 4-9), Pippi Longstocking (May 7-22), The Sunshine Boys (June 8 20), Once On This Island (June 15-27), Chicago (July 13-25), I Do! I Do! (July 27-Aug. 1) and Annie (Aug. 17-29). -- By David Lefkowitz