Reconstruction in Texas never felt this good!

February 22, 23, 24  and Mar 1, 2, 3  at 8 PM
Dougherty Arts Center TheaterTicket Questions: 512-569-6155

Texans fight back when a Communist threat comes from out-of-state.  Set in 1950s Houston, this farce tells the mostly-true story of a mid-century-modern

tar and feathering.  Sex educators, pinko folkies and foreign spies are rooted out in this rampaging, red-baiting, 1950s musical farce.  Based on the book, “Red Scare!” by Don Carleton.

The newest addition to the “Texas History Musicals” series (following Prohibition, Murders & Moontowers and The True Story of Bonnie and Clyde), Red Scare hilariously explores 1950s witch-hunt hysteria.  Created by John Cecil and Texas Comedies.

About the Red Scare in 1950s Texas

In the early 1950s, the Soviets had the bomb and Senator McCarthy was railing against suspected Communists throughout America. While it was hard to find many “card-carrying” Texas communists by the 1950s – with a threat of the death penalty from the governor – it was easy to point fingers. The Houston Minute Women went after teachers, administrators and politicians for a wide range of subversive interests and suspicious activities.

Cast and Ensemble

The cast features Heath Allyn, Kristin DeGroot, Carl Guthrie, Megan Ortiz, Jack Rodgers, Emily Villarreal, and Creighton Moench. The band includes John Cecil, G. Philip Marshall, & Jonathan Hoyle.

About Texas Comedies

More info 512-569-6155 and  This project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department.



Texas Comedies Road Shows



February 23 – Mar 4th, 2017: Thurs, Fri & Sat at 8 PM
DAC Theater    1110 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, Texas

Set in Austin, Texas on the eve of Prohibition and World War I, this production from Texas Comedies/Crank Collective follows the feud between the “Drys” and the “Wets.”  Features forbidden love, war, Temperancers and a live band.

The newest addition to the “Texas History Musicals” series, following Murders & Moontowers, The True Story of Bonnie and Clyde, and Boomtown, Prohibition explores the true story of the battle in Central Texas over the prohibition of alcohol. This epic struggle involved Temperancers, the Klan, Suffragettes, Doughboys, German-Americans, brewers and poll fixers, and culminated in an era of increased criminality and vice.

The cast features Heath Allyn, Dara Hasenkampf, Kirk Kelso, Josh Meindertsma, Megan Ortiz, Joseph Quintana, Phil Rodriguez and Emily Villarreal.  The band includes Mikey Walters, Chris La Cava, Jonathan Hoyle, John Cecil and Paul Klemperer.


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. This  project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department.


February 18th – 27th, 2016: Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 8 PM
DAC Theater    1110 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, Texas

photo by

In the 1880s, Austin was in the grip of crime, corruption and mayhem. Seven women were murdered over the course of one year, overwhelming the fledgling police force. The crime spree led to hysteria, vigilante justice, construction of the “Moontowers,” and now — 130 years later — a musical comedy with live band.

The newest addition to the “Texas History Musicals” series – coming after Crank Collective’s The True Story of Bonnie and Clyde, and BoomtownMurders and Moontowers follows the frantic investigation of the “Servant Girl Annihilator” case. This one-hour musical explores the events that led to a scandal-ridden trial, the electrification of the city and construction of giant, iconic “Moonlight Towers” to illuminate the town. Murders and Moontowers takes an irreverent look at the corrupt detectives, crazed citizenry, and outrageous court case that roiled the capital city 130 years ago.

About the “Servant Girl Annihilator”

During 1885, Austin, Texas was terrorized by an elusive killer called the “Servant Girl Annihilator”. Originally thought to be the work of a criminal gang, robberies, assaults and murders plagued the capital city during a one-year period. The crime spree culminated with two killings on Christmas Eve and a notorious trial. Responsibility for the crimes was never proven conclusively, and some link the killer to the infamous Jack the Ripper. To this day, there is still much speculation as to the true culprit.

Cast and Ensemble

Cast includes Kera Blay, Candice Carr, Donald Evans, Carl Guthrie, Josh Meindertsma, Matt Melton, Megan Ortiz, Rachel Pallante, and Donald Stewart. Musicians include Mikey Walters, Chris La Cava, John Cecil, and Jonathan Hoyle.





at City Theater
February 5 – 14, 2015.
Info 512-569-6155

In the ‘30s, the newspapers loved Bonnie and Clyde. Reporters called them everything from bloodthirsty killers to modern-day Robin Hoods. Whether heroes or villains, their iconic images sold millions of newspapers to a fascinated public. The True Story of Bonnie and Clyde explores the mix of fact and fiction in 1930s journalism that landed Bonnie and Clyde on the front pages of national newspapers.

The next installment of the Texas History Musicals, The True Story of Bonnie and Clyde–a one-hour musical created by John Cecil–tells an action-packed tale of crime and passion taken straight from newspaper reports of the 1930s. The production, which features a live band, is based on two Dallas reporters who pursue the story of the Barrow Gang and achieve flickering fame of their own. Hell-bent on selling papers, the two reporters come perilously close to the real Bonnie and Clyde. And, as the title of the opening song states, “Most of This is True.”

About Bonnie and Clyde

Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were notorious outlaws from Dallas who, as part of the Barrow Gang, traveled across central United States, committing robberies and murders during the Great Depression. Their exploits riveted the entire nation in the early 1930s. Killed in a 1934 ambush, Bonnie and Clyde remain pop culture icons through movies, music and theatrical productions.

Cast and Ensemble

The cast includes: Audrey Acosta, Candice Carr, Carl Guthrie, Joshua Meindertsma, Megan Ortiz and Phil Rodriguez. The live band features Jonathan Hoyle, Chris La Cava, Jason Silverberg, and Mikey Walters.

About Crank Collective

Crank Collective, led by producing director John Cecil, is a rotating group of actors, musicians and theatrical artists that has performed in New York, Prague and Bucharest. The ensemble brought the show Epidemic of Fear: An Influenzical to Austin in 2009, then Drone in 2011 (nominated for an Austin Critics’ Table Award for Best Musical Production). For its Texas History Series, Crank Collective recently produced Cabeza de Vaca, Alamo Aftermath and Boomtown.


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. The True Story of Bonnie and Clyde is funded and supported in part by the City of Austin through the Cultural Arts Division.



Crank Collective has been invited to perform their 2014 show, Boomtown (based on the early days of Borger, Texas), in the actual town for their Birthday Celebration, March 7, 2015.


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Montage of TV KEYE morning show spots

radio interview

Interview Excerpt KUTX radio, Austin

Long Center article

Long Center for Performing Arts article



Review in Austin American-Statesman/

BoomTown logo smaller

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.





Alamo Aftermath

City Theatre,  Austin, Texas.  November 7th – 16th, 2013.

Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 PM.

KUT radio interview on Alamo Aftermath

After the Alamo fell, the Texas army under Sam Houston retreated, leaving behind charred settlements and a mob of evacuating civilians. Heroes and villains of every background emerged in this “Runaway Scrape,” ending the battle with a victory for Texas at San Jacinto. Crank Collective, under the direction of John Cecil, tells this incredible story in a one-hour operetta featuring drama, comedy, battle scenes and music with a live band.

Second of three in a series of Texas History Musicals, the production follows Tejano patriot José Antonio Menchaca from besieged San Antonio to East Texas, where he becomes embroiled in the war’s final battle. Fighting alongside him are the Barnaby brothers, reluctant soldiers who fled scandal in Georgia to claim cheap land in Texas. Based partly on Menchaca’s memoir and historical documents, the all-ages production of Alamo Aftermath tells of love of country, lust for land and the birth of the nation of Texas.

* Runs Thursday, Friday, Saturday for two weeks.




Kristi Brawner and Carl Guthrie in Cabeza de Vaca. Photo by Jody Horton.

WHEN:            8 pm, April 2013
WHERE:         Rollins Studio Theatre at the Long Center for the Performing Arts, 701 W Riverside

AUSTIN, Texas—As the first of two Texas history operettas, Crank Collective presents Cabeza de Vaca: Shipwrecked in Texas— a musical tribute to the extraordinary journey of Cabeza de Vaca, the 16th century Spanish Explorer who shipwrecked on Galveston island in 1527 and struggled to survive in a Native American land.  Cabeza de Vaca survived as a slave, a trader and a medicine man,  lived on cactus, roots and raw meat, and mysteriously learned to heal the sick and raise the dead. Director John Cecil and Crank Collective have transformed his story into an enchanting, even light-hearted rock musical expedition for Crank’s Long Center debut. This all-ages production follows last year’s Antarctica and Drone (2011).


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Texas Comedies creates musical comedies about famous – and infamous – events in Texas. We’ve done shows about the Texas Revolution, Spanish explorers, Bonnie & Clyde, the border patrol, and oil boomtowns. We’re always looking for new ideas: events in your Texas town or county to turn into an entertaining one-hour show with a live band.