Laughter is contagious at Theatre Rocks! world premiere

Locally-written ‘KFLU Floydada’ underway; comedy runs through Feb. 27

Daily Light report
Miss Kay (Johnna Leigh of Sunnyvale) shows radio station owner Hootie Calhoon (Jon Kirk Race of Ennis) a promising original song in “KFLU Floydada, Country that’s Contagious” at Ennis’ Theatre Rocks!

ENNIS — Hey, all you comedy fans  — get yourself over to Theatre Rocks! in Ennis the next two weekends for the world premiere of “KFLU Floydada, Country that’s Contagious.” The hilarious new play written and directed by Theatre Rocks! artistic director and co-founder Bill Rhoten opened last weekend and continues through Feb. 27.

Rhoten has dedicated the play to his aunt, Kay Calloway Newton, who has been writing and singing country music for over 70 years. Now in her 90s, she still sings monthly at her dance hall, The Merry Mixer in Woodrow, Texas, just outside of Lubbock. “KFLU Floydada” is a fictional story inspired by bits and pieces of her life.

Hard-nosed manager Ruby Wilder (Kimberly Koelzer of Waxahachie) and her little starlet (Cassidy Ann Hortman of Mansfield) pay a visit to radio station owner Hootie Calhoon (Jon Kirk Race of Ennis) in in “KFLU Floydada, Country that’s Contagious” at Ennis’ Theatre Rocks!

The comedy, set in the 1970s in the KFLU radio station and recording studio, features a host of larger-than-life characters. Johnna Leigh of Sunnyvale, who won Best Performance for her moving depiction of Carrie Watts in last season’s “The Trip to Bountiful” at Theatre Rocks!, plays the spunky Miss Kay herself. Another “Bountiful” award-winner, Kimberly Koelzer of Waxahachie, contributes loads of sass as the antagonist, Ruby Wilder. Ruby is the manager for up-and-coming country singer, Tammy Lynn Loveless, played by a Theatre Rocks! favorite, Cassidy Ann Hortman of Mansfield. And Jon Kirk Race of Ennis brings a big voice and bigger personality as radio station owner, Hootie Calhoon.

Charlene Andrews of Palmer as an aspiring singer, Rickey Crenshaw of Rockett as one of Kay’s ex-husbands and Ben Rosewell of Waxahachie as Kay’s pastor all keep the audience in stitches. Without giving away too much of the story, Miss Kay needs loads of help; Gene Ryan of Midlothian offers assistance as Sheriff Jasper Tidwell, along with Ethan Binder of Ennis as his deputy.

Up-and-coming country singer Tammy Lynn Loveless (Cassidy Ann Hortman of Mansfield) records her new single with the band in “KFLU Floydada, Country that’s Contagious” at Ennis’ Theatre Rocks!

Rounding out the cast are the wisecracking band members: Greg Williams of Ennis, Jack Kovar of Ennis, Rebecca Perry of Milford, and Bill Rhoten himself. The Kovar family of Ennis have once again created an awesome set that takes the audience back in time and makes them feel like they have a catbird seat in a country radio station and recording studio.

If you like to laugh and you enjoy “both kinds of music … country and Western,” head on down to Theatre Rocks!, 505 NW Main St. in Ennis. Remaining performances are at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Feb. 18, 19, 25 and 26 and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 27. Tickets are $15 for students and senior adults, $18 for general adult admission and can be purchased online at www.theatrerocks.com. Please call 972-878-5126 for reservations or further information.