On our way in, we got to hear Louann tooting away on the Calliope, a sort of steam-whistle organ (we got there early specifically for this, at the website's recommendation). A large, red, wooden instrument, the calliope is set up outside in a spot between the parking lot and the outdoor amphitheater.
Albany is a small city, with a population of around 2,000 not including horses - and every single thing and person about this production is from the town. While people were being seated the "stars at night, are big and bright" song played, and I happened to be videotaping when many in the audience did the appropriate clapping almost reflexively -- **** "Deep in the heart ... of Texas."
The bulletin provided stated, "The Fort Griffin FANDANGLE ... is theatrical history written, directed, lighted, costumed, sung and danced by Albany people."
Parts included actors playing roles like, "Tall Grass" and "Prairie Schooner." Songs ran the gamut from "Drunk & Disorderly" to "Croonin' in June."
The newspaper-style program also had this quote across the top, "Other states were made or born -- Texas grew from hide and horn." Adapted from the poem "Cattle" by Berta Hart Nance.
At one point in the show, featuring "The Buffalo" several barefoot children dressed as animals of the plains (as in, "scores of prairie dogs") ran across the grass stage. I noticed the 'Eagle' and the 'Possum' couldn't see well to run, unless they held up the large, stuffed heads of their costumes with one free hand. Then they performed beautifully.
All participants seemed well-rehearsed and there were some with very good singing voices.
Definitely a humorous element was a part of this production as well. Sample words from one song:
A cowboy ain't no hero / In life he is... Zero! / Ain't it sad?!
Locally homemade ice cream is available for sale onsite. As well, you can buy cushions for $1 each, benefitting the local high school. The folks below contributed a bit more to the cause, indicating that it was not their first Fandangle, I don't think. We will do the same next time.
Fun to be had.
Next year is the 75th anniversary of the performance, and we hear it's going to be big.
We are a people's theater, a dramatic interpretation of ourselves on our home ground. If we please those who come to see us, we are deeply gratified. Yet we keep remembering that the show grew out of us and is principally for us.
Robert E. Nail, original writer & director
[Quoted in the show program]
(We didn't get to see the entire show, having to leave early.)