Maverick Players open season with show by familiar playwright
Rosemary Frisino Toohey likes her relatives well enough. She really does. But somewhere along the way, the Baltimore playwright was inspired to put pen to paper and ink a comedy detailing the jaw-dropping, teeth-clenching and gut-wrenching moments that can accompany a Thanksgiving family get-together when she wrote “Gravy Anxiety.”
“Thanksgiving is a great holiday,” Toohey said. “Most of it is good, but a lot of times you don’t get to choose who you have Thanksgiving with. We all have relatives that we really like and some that we’d rather avoid. This play is hopefully a comedy about the goofy stuff that can go wrong at Thanksgiving.”
Midland’s Maverick Players will be the first to perform Toohey’s original work through Nov. 17 at the VFW Hall, 409 Veterans Airpark Lane. Thursday and Sunday show tickets are $10, while Friday and Saturday tickets are $15. Tickets will be sold at the door, but they may also be purchased by calling 522-5225.
This isn’t the first Toohey play the Maverick Players have put on. This odd connection between a Baltimore playwright and a West Texas performing group began when Toohey entered “Gladys in Wonderland” in the McLaren Memorial Comedy Playwriting Competition held by the Midland Community Theater.
The play didn’t win the competition, but it caught the eye of Mary Lou Cassidy, the eventual founder of the Maverick Players.
“At the time, the Maverick Players didn’t exist, but Mary Lou Cassidy said if she could put a group together, she’d like to put it on,” Toohey said. “Then, when the Maverick Players came into existence, they did it.”
The Maverick Players have performed “Gladys and Wonderland” twice now, as well as some of Toohey’s other works including “The Ice Cream King” and “Woman on the Edge.”
The highly unlikely duo, a Baltimore playwright and a Permian Basin acting group, hope to collaborate to bring plenty of plays to life for Midlanders for years to come. And “Gravy Anxiety,” the most recent product of this collaboration, is easy for nearly anyone to relate to — especially if your family holiday experiences aren’t picture perfect.
“I cook the annual meal for my family,” Toohey said, “and I like all of them. But some of them have their moments, and by the end of the night I’m ready to see them walk out the door while I clean up the turkey. At least the turkey won’t talk back.”