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TJC professor's new play, 'Prodigal,' featured in off-Broadway reading

TYLER, July 2, 2013--“Prodigal,” a new play written by Tyler Junior College theater professor Dr. David W. Crawford, had its world premiere on Wednesday, Nov. 14, in TJC’s Jean Browne Theatre on the TJC campus.

An off-Broadway reading of “Prodigal” was recently held at Theatre East in New York City, with former “Sopranos” actor Dominic Chianese in the leading role.

Judson Jones, TJC theater alumnus and artistic director of Theatre East, directed the reading, which was held in conjunction with a TJC theater travel-study trip.

Rounding out the cast were members of the Theatre East company: Christa Kimlicko Jones, TJC alumna and director of programming at Theatre East; Kire Tosevski, associate company member; David Volin, company member; and Shorey Walker, director of marketing.

TJC theater students who participated were: Braden Socia, Tyler; Doug Lake, Tyler; Hannah Johnson, Tyler; Rebecca Carney, Athens; and Corrina Weatherly, Tyler.

Crawford said “Prodigal” was in the process of creation for three years, during which time he studied cattle ranching on four different ranches.

“I learned just enough to be dangerous,” he said. “My purpose was to learn concepts, philosophies and enough vocabulary to be believable, not proficient.”

“Prodigal” is not a cowboy story; but Crawford, a third-generation Texan himself, said a ranch is as good a setting as any.

“Prodigal could take place at anytime, anywhere,” he said. “The initial telling took place in the Middle East. It could and does happen around the world. My telling happens to be ‘where the Piney Woods meets the Post Oak Savannah,’ in Central Texas, roughly anywhere around an hour’s circumference of Centerville.”

In 2008, Theatre East presented a reading of Crawford’s play, “Harvest,” which was named Smith and Kraus Best New Play of 2008 and a Back Stage Critics’ Pick.

For more information on the TJC Department of Theatre, go to www.tjc.edu/theatre.


Photo: Former “Sopranos” actor Dominic Chianese, Theatre East actors and TJC students perform an off-Broadway reading of Dr. David Crawford’s new play, “Prodigal,” at Theatre East in New York City on May 30. Chianese also serves on the Theatre East advisory board. Pictured (from left) are: Hannah Johnson, Braden Socia, Shorey Walker, David Volin, Chianese, and Christa Kimlicko Jones.


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