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Fourth Chapter in Uproarious “Tuna” Series Finds Wacky Denizens of Tiny Tuna, Texas Taking Their Beloved Brand of Down Home Hilarity Straight to Sin City

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – July 8, 2013 – The unforgettable residents of Tuna, Texas are back this summer at Heritage Theatre Festival, and this time they are taking their hilarious hijinks on the road…to Vegas!

Tuna Does Vegas, the fourth installment in the beloved “Tuna” series, opens at the Helms Theatre on July 18.

Tuna Does Vegas, directed by Matt Davies and created by Ed Howard, Jaston Williams and Joe Sears, will run from July 18-20; 23-27, 30-31, and August 1-3. Performances begin at 8:00 each evening, and there will be matinees at 2:00 on Saturday, July 20 and Saturday, August 3. Tickets for the show are $35 for adults, $30 for seniors and U.Va. faculty, staff and alumni, and $15 for students. Tickets are available at the U.Va. Arts Box Office (located in the lobby of the Drama Building), online at www.uvahtf.org or by phone at 434-924-3376.

When radio host Arles Struvie takes to the airwaves to announce that he and his wife Bertha would be heading to Las Vegas to renew their wedding vows, it doesn’t take long for the whole town to find reasons to come along for the riotous ride. Tuna veterans and Heritage audience favorites Evan Bridenstine and John Paul Scheidler return once again to bring to life a host of Tuna’s most unforgettable residents, and introduce audiences to a collection of new ones they won’t soon forget!

As a first-time visitor to the town of Tuna, Davies has been relying on the experts that make up his cast to make sure the story and the characters are ringing true. “We talk about ‘Tunaology,’” he said. “They are the Tunaologists, they are the ones who know everything Tuna. So I will say ‘Tunaologically speaking, is this accurate?”

Unlike the other Tuna plays, he said, there is a sort of restless tension in Tuna Does Vegas that ends up adding a new dimension to the comedy of the piece. “We’ve talked about how the byline of this play could be ‘They’re back…and they can’t wait to get out!’ And then of course, when they get out, they can’t wait to get back,” Davies said. “There is a bit more tension between the characters, and we have been exploring that. There is a slightly greater sense of drama to it, which actually serves to increase the humor rather than diminish it. The difference is that this play is not just a series of gags, one after another- even though there are certainly plenty of them.”

Tuna lovers at Heritage will certainly be glad to hear that, especially since Bridenstine and Scheidler have deliciously delivered those gags and these plays for many years. Their explosive creativity has Davies employing, and enjoying, a different approach to directing this time around.

“I describe it as I am less of a director than a ringmaster keeping the big cats in the tent,” he said. “The danger for the audiences is that they are going to break loose!”

Yet, as well as Heritage audiences may think they know these characters, Davies gives a hint that this time around, there are surprises in store even for the most avowed Tunaologists. “There is a surprise romance between two characters that no one would ever expect to develop.”

The 2013 Heritage Theatre Festival season continues on July 23 with Roger Bean’s homage to 50’s and 60’s girl groups, The Marvelous Wonderettes.

Free parking for all Heritage Theatre Festival performances is available at the Culbreth Road Parking Garage, conveniently located alongside the theaters. 

To access a photo of the production, visit http://www.virginia.edu/heritagetheatre/pressCenter.htm
For more information on the 2013 Heritage Theatre Festival season, visit, www.uvahtf.org.


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Heritage Theatre Festival Publicist
John Kelly
John Kelly PR