Published in the Rains County Leader on February 18, 2020:
David and I had a new experience last week. At lunch at the Senior Center on Thursday, our friend Peggy approached us with an offer of theater tickets for that night. She had won four tickets in a call-in contest at Radio Station KMOO in Mineola, and two of her guests couldn’t make it. How could we turn down and invitation to the annual KMOO Valentine Date Night that included dinner and a performance of Skin Deep, the 2020 season opener of the Lake Country Playhouse at The Historic Select Theater in Mineola?
Peggy told us to be there no later than 6:00 pm, but in order to get a good parking place and a good seat, to try for 5:30. We made it a little before 5:30, and on that cold and windy night, there were plenty of parking places. Since the doors opened at 6:00, we decided to battle the crowd rather than the weather and stayed in the car until a few minutes before opening. Fortunately, KMOO didn’t overbook, so we were able to connect with Peggy and get in out of the cold quickly.
As we made our way to our seats, we passed by a table where we each picked up a plate of selected hors d’oeuvres along with a glass of tea or a bottle of water. The food was tasty and not heavy enough to undo the progress we have made at the gym in the past three weeks – and it wasn’t messy enough to cause a crisis if some of us who are less than graceful should drop something.
After everyone had finished eating, Tonya Slayton, General Manager and Morning Host at KMOO, took the stage. After a brief welcome, she recognized the couple who had been married the longest time and the newest newlyweds. Either the sound system or my hearing wasn’t good enough for me to catch the names, but the first was a couple had been married sixty years and the second, less than three months.
Next, Tonya gave away some very nice door prizes from local merchants. David and I didn’t win anything, but the chatter between Tonya and the audience, most of whom are faithful listeners, was very entertaining. Then it was show time!
Skin Deep is a two-act, four-character comedy – five if you count the delivery girl from the Chinese restaurant – written by Jon Lonoff. It was directed by Tim Mitchiner, but we weren’t given a playbill, and I couldn’t find the names of cast members online. Regardless of who they are in the real world, on-stage they were a tight-knit ensemble who kept us laughing. The leading lady received a standing ovation.
For those who, like David and me before last week, have never been to The Historic Select Theatre, you may not know about its interesting history. The theater was opened by Mr. and Mrs. R.T. Hooks in 1920 making it 100 years old and one of the longest continuously operating theaters in Texas. Throughout the years, the Theater has had several owners, but now it is owned by a group of actors called the Lake Country Playhouse. The group was formed to bring live theater to the area, and they have succeeded. The Historic Select Theater presents four live plays a year, four musical performances a year by the Lake Country Symphonic Band, and first-run movies on the remaining weekends.
Thanks to Peggy and KMOO, David and I had a great time on our date night. Not only did we enjoy a nice dinner and an entertaining performance, we learned about another treasure of East Texas. Maybe we’ll eventually experience all of what this area has to offer – if we live long enough.