Tuesday, January 19, 2016


Hank (Joe Tougas, L) and Rita (Ann Rosenquist Fee, R) Prepare for the Show
Terri Ryburn is well-known to local audiences for her stand-up comedy, her acting and her playwriting skills, as well as her expertise on all things Route 66. Now Terri and her friend Kathi Davis have turned to producing -- the two have teamed up to bring a show called The Best of Hank and Rita: A Barroom Operetta to Bloomington-Normal, with the idea of not only putting on a show, but making a movie out of it. And you can be in that movie**!

Because producing requires funds, Terri will also be offering a night of stand-up as a fundraiser for the Hank and Rita project.

Ryburn explains, "One of my former students, Ann Rosenquist Fee, who lives in Minnesota, is in a singing duo called 'The Frye' with Joe Tougas. At their performances, people asked if they were married. (They were but not to each other.) They started saying, 'No, not anymore.' From that, Tougas wrote the lyrics and music for The Best of Hank and Rita: A Barroom Operetta, about a fictional couple. The show has gotten rave reviews in Minnesota."

She adds, "My friend, Kathi Davis, and I saw it and were so impressed that we are bringing it to Bloomington in January, and we are filming it. To raise funds for this project, I am performing stand-up comedy the night before the first performance of Hank and Rita. I’d love to have you come to one or both of these events. And please share this information with your friends!"

All of these events will take place at the Eagles Club, 313 South Main, in Bloomington. Here's what's on the schedule:

A Night of Comedy with Terri Ryburn
Thursday, January 28, 2016  -- 8 pm
Tickets are $10 at the door.
Terri describes her comedy as “clean, but edgy,” as she takes on "family, friends, the workplace, some ex-husbands, and other absurdities" in this comedy fundraiser.

The Best of Hank and Rita: A Barroom Operetta 
Friday, January 29, and Saturday, January 30, 2016 --  8 pm
Tickets are $15 in advance at hankandrita.com or $20 at the door (if available).
The tag line is "See it now. Before it all goes to hell." A fictional husband-wife country-pop duo hit the Top 10 briefly in the 1970s but their career is in decline. It’s 1986 and they’ve been performing their show in small town after small town for years. Hank doesn’t know it, but Rita is leaving him after the show. She's done with waiting for things to change, in their career and in their marriage, but she’s giving herself one last good show.

**And if three nights of entertainment aren't enough, there's also The Best of Hank and Rita Movie. Plans are for the audience to function as extras for a short documentary-style film of the Hank and Rita experience. This short movie is intended to be submitted to film festivals and then used to raise funds for a full-length film. The whole enchilada would follow Hank and Rita from Illinois to California on Route 66. But for now... Word is that dancers are needed, especially those who know a Texas Two-Step from a Cowboy Cha Cha. If that sounds like you, you'll need to be available to rehearse Sunday, January 24, starting at 2 pm, and then for filming of the "mockumentary" on January 30 from 9 am to 3 pm. Contact Tricia Stiller (who will be dancing -- that's probably incentive enough, to get to dance on film with Tricia Stiller) at triciastiller@msn.com or Terri Ryburn at tlrybur@ilstu.edu if you want to join in. To get in the mood, you can pop Urban Cowboy in the DVD player and brush up your country dance skills.

Some details about the Eagles venue... Parking is available in the Eagles lot south of the building, on the street, or in the parking deck one block north. Doors will open at 6:30 pm , with a cash bar, snacks and bar food available. Again, all three shows start at 8pm.

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