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A rowdy one-hour musical comedy about how Borger, Texas became the most lawless town in America

In the 1920s, wildcat oil strikes, sudden wealth and the 18th heroes, villains, and lawless new townships. The most notorious of these unruly cities was the panhandle town of Borger, Texas–which director John Cecil uses as the setting for his newest musical comedy, Boomtown. Inspired by the Thomas Hart Benton painting of the same title and based on memoirs and documents from the period, Boomtown is the third and final installment of Crank Collective’s Texas Musical Series. Boomtown follows the life of land promoter Asa “Ace” Borger, who seizes an opportunity to capitalize on oil strikes in the Texas Panhandle. Making a million dollars in a single day selling land, lumber, and political offices, Borger saw the population of his town boom at a staggering rate. With the notorious “Two-Gun” Dick Herwig installed as sheriff, the small city became overrun with dancehalls, bootleg liquor joints, gambling and armed robbery. The city was ultimately pacified with martial law, the Texas Rangers and the National Guard. As the final part of the Texas History Musical series, Boomtown is an hour-long musical comedy with a live band. The latest production follows Crank Collective’s Alamo Aftermath and Cabeza de Vaca, where letters, memoirs and photographs are used to create a true-to-life historical musical theatre experience.

dan dalbout in boomtown2 smallerAbout Asa “Ace” Borger

Oilmen, prospectors, roughnecks, panhandlers, fortune-seekers, card shards and bootleggers descended on the Texas town, founded in 1926 by Borger, within a matter of months. Overseen by Sheriff “Two-Gun Dick” Herwig, robbery became commonplace amidst gambling dens, dancehalls and speakeasies. Acting on citizens’ petitions, Governor Moody imposed martial law and sent troops to rid the town of lawlessness. The goal was eventually achieved, but not before Borger was shot and killed by his longtime enemy, Arthur Huey.

Cast and Ensemble

The cast features: Phil Rodriguez, Morgan Pinales, Dara Palmer, Dan Dalbout, Joshua Meindertsma, Candice Carr, Dan McLintock and Matthew Melton. Musicians include: Jonathan Hoyle, Chris La Cava, John Cecil and Michael Walters.


About Crank Collective

Crank Collective is a sponsored project of the Austin Creative Alliance, a non-profit arts service organization, working to advance, connect, and celebrate Austin’s creative life. Boomtown is funded and supported in part by the City of Austin through the Cultural Arts Division.

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