Theatre Alliance serves up Red, White and Tuna for the Fourth of July, and the Doctor is in

by Mark Burger


“Red, White and Tuna.” (courtesy photo)

Let it never be said that Theatre Alliance isn’t possessed of a patriot fervor this Fourth of July season, as its latest mainstage production, Red, White & Tuna, opens next Friday (June 25) at the Theatre Alliance stage (1047 Northwest Blvd., Winston-Salem).

From Jaston Williams, Joe Sears and Ed Howard, the creators of Greater Tuna and Tuna Christmas, comes the latest in the popular series of stage comedies, this one yet another spoof of small-town Americana at its weirdest and wackiest.

Theatre Alliance’s audiences have clearly displayed a taste for Tuna, having presented successful productions of the earlier shows in the past.

“Both of the previous Tuna shows have been wildly popular with our audiences — we have performed both of them twice each,” said Jamie Lawson, the artistic director of Theatre Alliance and the director of this production. “We are in hopes Red, White & Tuna will be no exception. It is fast-paced fun for the Fourth, and we hope folks are ready to laugh their patriotic butts off!” Gray Smith and Timothy T. Swift, both veterans of the earlier Tunas at Theatre Alliance, are back in action here. In total, the two actors play 20 different characters, all residents of the title town of Tuna, Texas, where the competition is fierce and tempers run high as they decide whom to crown “Reunion Queen” for the upcoming high-school reunion, while the (literally) Bible-thumping conservatives are waging war to make church hymns safe for all ages by updating the lyrics to be less controversial.

Both Smith and Swift are on the go throughout the show, playing characters both young and old, male and female, all with something to say, said Lawson, “[as] the lighting-fast costume changes only add to the hilarity.”

Red, White & Tuna will run through July 11.

Showtimes are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Wednesday (June 30 only) and Thursdays (July 1 and 8); 2 p.m. Sundays. Ticket prices are $12 and $14. Reservations are suggested.

For tickets, call 336.723.7777 or visit the official Theatre Alliance website:

Last month, one DVD “Pick of the Week” was David Lean’s epic 1965 adaptation of Doctor Zhivago, based on Boris Pasternak’s award-winning best-seller and featuring an international all-star cast headed by Omar Sharif (in the title role).


But if you’ve ever wanted to see the film on the big screen (where movies belong, after all), Doctor Zhivago will be screened Saturday, June 26 at 7 p.m. in the Main Theatre at the School of Filmmaking’s ACE Exhibition Complex, located on the campus of the UNC School of the Arts (1533 S. Main St., Winston- Salem).

It’s the latest in the ongoing Big Screen Series: Treasures from the Moving Image Archive, which is being sponsored by the UNC School of the Arts and the Kenan Institute for the Arts.

Set against the backdrop of the Bolshevik Revolution, this sweeping saga focuses on Zhivago, a kind-hearted physician and poet torn between his wife Tonya (Geraldine Chaplin) and his mistress Lara (Julie Christie), while the very foundations of Russian society crumble around them.

Rod Steiger, Ralph Richardson, Tom Courtenay, Rita Tushingham, Siobhan McKenna and Klaus Kinski round out the film’s cast. The film earned 10 Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Editing, Best Sound and Best Supporting Actor (Courtenay), with five wins: Best Adapted Screenplay (Robert Bolt), Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Art Direction/Set Decoration and Best Score (Maurice Jarre).

Pasternak’s novel received the Nobel Prize for Literature, which the author refused (at the time, the Soviet hierarchy tended to lean rather heavily on its artists, particularly those of political minds), and was banned in its native country. So too was the film, which was released five years after Pasternak’s death in 1960. The immense popularity of the film, which is widely thought to have helped save its studio, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, from bankruptcy, nevertheless encouraged the Soviet government to accelerate its own film program (which yielded the epic adaptation of Tolstoy’s War and Peace in 1968).

Doctor Zhivago wasn’t screened in Russia until 1994, nearly three decades after it was made. A year later, MGM commemorated the film’s 30th anniversary by striking brand-new, fully-restored prints — one of which happens to reside in the School of Filmmaking’s extensive archives at the UNC School of the Arts. That print, replete with intermission and overture, is the one being screened.

Tickets are $8 (general admission), $2 (for UNC School of the Arts students). All proceeds will benefit the School of Filmmaking’s scholarship programs. The film is rated PG-13. For more information, see