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“Greater Tuna” and greater theatre – CityRep delivers again


by Patrick B. McGuigan
Associate Publisher

Jonathan Beck Reed and Donald Laurel Jordan soar in the three week run of “Greater Tuna,” the comedy by Jaston Williams, Joe Sears and Ed Howard. Their performances conclude this weekend.

Between the two of them – cooperating brilliantly in their 42nd joint venture in a career spanning the last four decades – the fellows depict more than 20 characters.

That’s men and women, and puppy dogs.

A little edgy here and there, bearing a PG rating for language, the play is an enduring satire of life in a Texas town. Darned if you might not imagine yourself in a south Oklahoma town, as well.

Each and every characterization is spot-on, with some of the best humor coming from the simple artistry of the cross-dressing duo.

Jordan reaches his pinnacle as a preacher who relies on tired stereotypes and triteness to offset a lack of minsterial originality and inspiration. Reed is superb throughout, especially as the lady leader who guides anti-smut efforts and is the soul of inefficiency.

Steve Emerson directs the show and is sound designer, working on a set by Theresa Furphy, Ben Hall and Jordan.

Kathrine Mitchell, as lighting designer, makes nice use of the Alamo-like contours of the central doorways to evoke settings as varied as church and home, radio station and waiting room

Jeffrey Meek and Andy Wallach deserve credit for the costumes – after all, they conspire with the performing duo to make a couple of hefty fellows believable as, well, hefty gals.

Credit Suzette Collins Sroufe for the hair and makeup.

A dark thread in the story is the murderous edge of one character. But after all, bad stuff happens in small towns and big cities, and we humans have a habit of poking fun at darn near everything.

A poignant moment near the end comes when one of Reed’s characters – the environmentalist with a small town perspective – prays with a combination of hope and despair. He asks God, “If you are out there,” to send some help to folks in Greater Tuna.

That’s a prayer we can all appreciate, and “Greater Tuna” is a story for all seasons.

“Greater Tuna” performances are Friday (June 14) at 7:30 p.m., Saturday (June 15) 7:30 p.m., and Sunday (June 16) for a concluding Matinee at 1:30 p.m.

Tickets range from $8 to $30. Information is available from the Civic Center Music Hall Box Office at 405-297-2264 or 1-800-364-7111. The CityRep

Ticket Hotline is at 405-848-3761; Online purchases can be made at

Patrick McGuigan
[email protected]

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