Craziness & Fun - All For The Kids: Traversing through the revisionist history of Bosque County during two evenings in the 10th annual Bosque Arts Center Scholarship Variety Show
CLIFTON – After being forced to cancel the 2021 Bosque Arts Center Scholarship Variety Show due to COVID-19 concerns, creative mastermind and chair of the scholarship committee Janet Jackson was determined to make this 10th anniversary show another smash hit. Together with creative partner in crime Nancy Bratcher, the duo worked with a slew of volunteer cast members along with six production and stage crew, all donating their time and talents on stage for a good cause.
The Bosque Arts Center’s 2022 annual Scholarship Variety Show fundraiser Feb. 11-12 proved to be amazing entertainment as always. Even with the week’s postponement due to the inclement weather on the original dates, both “dinner and a show” evenings were sold out and a huge success with the attending visitors.
“With over 48 cast and stage crew members, it was not a matter of herding cats,” Jackson said. “Instead it was a generous group of fun, willing and very spirited community members who all pitched in to make the show successful.”
Months of planning, and intense practice came together into spectacularly entertaining variety show in which a Time Traveler, played by Adam Willmann, visited Bosque County, singing, dancing and joking his way through different time periods. His faithful, dedicated travel assistant Linda Pfeiffer prepared him for the Horn Shelter era, the first Norwegians, the cowboys on the Chisholm Trail, the Depression period and Bosque Prom nights.
Before show time, the guests were treated to some of Bosque County’s best music, performed by Jack Cameron, Jim Chase, Brian Barrett and Miriam Wallace. Later, the quartet all had roles in the Chisholm Trial scene in the show too.
With happy, dancing dinosaurs featured in the Horn Shelter skit – never mind that they were already extinct at that time – the Viking lady warriors known as “The Bodacious Eight” channeled a lot of Wagner and Germanic influences and camels in the Chisholm Trail skit there was some historic license taken here and there. None of which bothered the audience one bit. They sang along, chuckled and laughed at the many hilarious moments happening under the spotlights.
Sadly, the BAC lost a friend and jack-of-all-trades with the passing of Virgil Curtis in March 2021 – the show was performed in his memory. Curtis was a BAC constant onstage and behind the-scenes at variety shows, Tin Building Theater plays, and numerous BAC fundraisers, including Big Event, Troubadour concerts, Tablescapes, and quilt shows. He never hesitated to lend a hand when called upon to man a position, build a prop, pour a drink, or dress up in outlandish costumes in the name of raising funds for college scholarships or the BAC. His pleasant ways and generous spirit are greatly missed.
At the end of the show, Jackson was in for a surprise. Willmann asked her out onto the stage after the final bow and Bratcher – wearing the 2013 classic “Boogie Shoes” duck costume – put the spotlight on her with flowers and a speech.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, tonight it is my distinct pleasure to do something Janet absolutely hates,” Bratcher said. “And that is to put some spotlight on her. You see, Janet has a passion for showbiz, for hospitality and for doing good. And this is about our high school seniors and helping them get their first next step to their education.”
Bratcher went on to explain how Jackson comes up with all these skit ideas.
“She gets these big, crazy ideas, and then she has to go out and find people to put together a show, so she asks and she begs. She badgers. She tricks,” Bratcher said.
“I think of all these people on this stage, and I think about all the other people who would fill this stage from the past 10 shows. And I’m like ‘what these people really like is to have the chance to get up here, and dress up – or not – to dance around or in some way act a fool; but just have a good time all for making a lot of good money for this great cause.
“And I look out here to all of you people, all you generous donors. Some of you are repeat offenders; you just keep coming back, and coming back. You know what I think happens is that we all get infected with that passion bug that Janet has.”
According to Bratcher, Jackson has truly found her niche organizing this legendary scholarship variety show and it is her lasting legacy.
“I just want to tell you from the bottom of my heart, how thankful I am for the past 12-plus years of incredible memories,” Bratcher said, addressing Jackson, after which Jackson received a standing ovation from the crowd.
“I had told my husband he could give me flowers after the show, but not on stage,” Jackson said on Monday. “So when Adam asked me out on stage after the final bow and Nancy came out in our classic 2013 Boogie Shoes duck costume, I lost my composure altogether.
“First of all, there has never been a more adorable duck on stage anywhere. Secondly, Nancy has been strictly backstage for the past six years, reluctant to even be publicly acknowledged. To be thanked for the 10 years of producing these scholarship shows was embarrassing, but also very touching. I have had the opportunity to meet and work with so many fun and talented people, all to raise scholarship funds for college bound Bosque graduates.”
Over the past 10 years, the show has raised over $110,000 for scholarships.
In 2021, the Bosque Arts Center and its different clubs awarded $8,000 to deserving young students. The Bosque Arts Center scholarships went to homeschooled Laramie Crockett of Clifton and Nora Lira of Meridian High School. The BAC Art Council awarded $1,000 to Brayan Rivas of Hamilton HS, while the Bosque Civic Music Association awarded $1000 scholarships to Ellison Li and Hanna O’Reilly of Clifton HS and Nataly Smirl and Penny Krnavek of Valley Mills HS.
After Saturday’s show, Facebook was flooded with photos of the cast members exclaiming what a fun time they had raising money for scholarships. People who donated could vote for their favorite act. The act with most votes gets the honor of starring on the front cover of the calendar, which is sold in the BAC gift shop. Proceeds of the sales add to the scholarship funds.
The 2022 scholarship applications are available by calling the Bosque Arts Center at 254 675 3724.
Photos & videos by SIMONE WICHERS-VOSS
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