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9

The Third-Smallest Town in Texas

The 1980’s was a remarkable decade on many fronts, not the least of which was entertainment. There were noteworthy films such as Raiders of the Lost Ark, and noteworthy TV series such as Dallas. And then there was Greater Tuna in theater.

The play Greater Tuna is a comedy about Texas' third smallest town (fictional), where the Lion's Club is too liberal and Patsy Cline never dies. The twenty characters seen or heard in the play are portrayed by only two performers (with a small army of behind-the-scenes helpers), making this satire on life in flyover America even more delightful as they depict all of the inhabitants of Tuna - men, women, children - and animals.

Greater Tuna began as a simple party skit based on a political cartoon seen in an Austin, Texas newspaper circa 1980. Creators Joe Sears and Jaston Williams (the original actors), 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.

Although one must purchase the DVD here to see the original actors, one can click below to view another production of Greater Tuna on YouTube. The play is still on tour nationwide although the original actors have since retired after almost forty years.

Be warned – the play in its original form is NOT politically correct.


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Lived in Austin during a part of the 80s. Saw the original crew with a small but dedicated audience ala Rocky Horror. Fun stuff. No issues understanding it.
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I first saw Greater Tuna in Midland in 1982, which featured other actors, and was impressed as to how good it was. I later saw it at the 1894 Opera House in Galveston, with the original cast of Sears and Williams, and was blown away, along with a raucous full house. Loud and prolonged laughter is its hallmark, and one has to see it several times just to hear all of the dialogue. Sadly, the three sequels, each of progressively lesser quality, do not live up to the original.
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