#8216;Cowboy#039; boot-scoots into G#039;ville

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Good-lookin' gals, handsome hunks and plenty of honky-tonk music took the stage of the Ritz Monday night as the energetic young cast of &#8220Urban Cowboy: The Musical” blew into town.

The latest offering from the Greenville Area Arts Council (GAAC) drew a large and receptive audience tapping their feet to classic country tunes and original songs penned for the show, one based on a 1980 hit movie starring John Travolta and Debra Winger.

As with other Windwood Theatrical Productions which have appeared in the Camellia

City, the show boasted live music, provided by a full-scale C & W band complete with steel guitar and fiddle.

The 22-member cast, clad in cowboy boots, hats and blue jeans, certainly earned the lavish buffet spread offered at the after-show party.

There was plenty of high-energy &#8220boot scooting,” lots of rides on the mechanical bull and a few well-choreographed brawls on stage along the way.

After all, the storyline is centered around Gilley's, Houston's (and the world's) biggest honky-tonk. It's the place where Bud, the cowboy from a tiny West

Texas town named Spur, meets Sissy, a dirty-nailed &#8220tom boy” who works at her daddy's towing business.

Bud is living with his aunt and uncle, and working in a Houston oil refinery to make enough cash to go back home to his &#8220little patch” in Spur. All he wants are some horses to gentle, a comfortable home and a good wife to share it all with.

And Sissy? She's looking for a real cowboy. Sparks fly. A whirlwind courtship and marriage soon follow – along with enough heartaches and breaks (both literal and figurative) to make a perfect country song.

Ultimately, Sissy and Bud reunite in the place where it all started - Gilley's.

And speaking of songs, tunes like &#8220The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” &#8220Take This Job and Shove It,” &#8220Honey I'm Home/Let's Talk About Me,” and &#8220I've got Friends in Low Places” proved crowd pleasers. The cast earned a standing ovation for the entertaining evening.

After the show, cast, musicians and crew joined GAAC members at the Whitney Bank across from the Ritz. Floral designer Nancy Idland created a large, casual arrangement of greenery in a rustic basket for the center of the buffet table, further trimmed with cowboy boots and bandannas to carry out the western theme. Sandwiches, salsa dips and chips, trail mix, jumbo cowboy cookies, chicken fingers and much more were enjoyed, along with beverages fished out of galvanized tubs of ice.

Robert Biedermann, tour company manager and &#8220Sherwood,” the overall-wearing proprietor at Gilley's, said Greenville was one of his favorite stops on the company's extensive tour of the U.S. and Canada.

&#8220This is my third time here. I love coming to Greenville, it's a great place,” Biedermann said with a smile as he went back for seconds at the buffet table.

Becca Vourvoulas, who played one of the energetic cowgirl dancers in the show, signed an autograph for a young fan, Joseph Price.

&#8220We like being in smaller theaters like this. You get a kind of intimacy with the audience you don't have in some of the big theaters,” Vourvoulas said.

And while Biedermann never persuaded his friend, GAAC Membership Chair Roberta &#8220Bobbie” Gamble, to ride that infamous mechanical bull, she did happily pose for a group photo with the cast members.

&#8220It's been a very, very good night,” Gamble laughed as she joked and chatted with the cast members.

And the season is far from over. Coming for the GAAC in April 2007:  GAAC fundraiser &#8220Puttin' on the Ritz,” an musical extravaganza featuring all local talent, and a touring company production of the Broadway hit &#8220Camelot.”