Rising from the ashes


Rising from the fire and ashes like a flaming Phoenix is the way Barbara Crozier likes to think of the possible resurrection of the Crystal Theatre in Gonzales.

Not only does she and a group of local arts afficionados hope to refurbish the circa 1925 theater - they also want to rekindle the flame of theatrical fire in the community as well.

Crozier says that in the 1980s and 90s Gonzales had a surprisingly active arts scene for a town this size.

Not only were plays produced on a regular basis, but the old dilapidated Crystal was brought back to life during that period, but there is still lots of work to do, Crozier admits.

Her group, Crystal Theatre, Inc., actually owns the old theatre which can seat 100 for dinner theater and almost 200 for regular theater viewing.

The group hopes to kickoff its plans to again offer the community a local outlet for theater by staging the popular play, "Greater Tuna."

Dubbed the play with "Tex" appeal, the production centers around life in a very small Texas town by the same name.

Crozier was able to secure the rights for the play from writers Ed Howard, Joe Sears and Jaston Williams, who are based in Austin.

"This is a play that the writers rarely grant permission to perform," Crozier said, "so we are delighted to be able to bring it to the people of Gonzales."

Auditions for the play are set for Sunday, Jan. 14 at 2 p.m. at the theater and the opening performance of the play is scheduled for March 22 with six shows slated.

Crozier, Dawn O'Donnell and other members of the group hope this will be the beginning of a whole new era of arts in the community and possibly the first step in the planning of the Crystal Performing Arts Center.

The group restored the Crystal to its current condition back in 1982, but over the past few years, the only thing Crozier admits to doing is making sure it isn't damaged or burned to the ground.

"There has been a period of time now since we have been very active on this," she admitted. "I think it's time to get busy and start again."

Thanks to a design by Texas Main Street, the group has a feel for what the final project may look like.

The "art deco" style plans would give the theater a totally new look and harken back to the days when it first opened and hosted Vaudeville productions for local audiences.

The only thing the theater has been used for recently have been a few country music shows each year put on by local civic groups.