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Dig in to Thanksgiving ‘Tuna’

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Just in time to banish holiday stress, the Vortex Theatre presents the fourth comedy in the Greater Tuna Series, “Tuna Does Vegas.”

“What’s better than a little escapism during the holidays?” asks director Dean Eldon Squibb, a longtime stage and screen actor who has acted in the previous Vortex productions about the fictional small town of Tuna, Texas.

“There are all kinds of pressures during the holidays. What better way to let go of all that than with this highly entertaining show?” says Squibb, adding that families are often stranded in uncomfortable gatherings and need a little frivolity.

If you go
WHAT: “Tuna Does Vegas”
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, Nov. 16 through Dec. 16
WHERE: The Vortex Theatre, 2004 1/2 E. Central
HOW MUCH: $18 at

The popular prize-winning series, written by Joe Sears, Jaston Williams and Ed Howard, features the residents of Tuna, “the third-smallest town in Texas.”

“The residents of Tuna, Texas, are a kind of family, too. And when you see the microcosm of all those strange and wonderful characters, it puts your own family issues into perspective. You think, ‘Wow, this family is even worse than mine.’ It’s a huge gift to give that to audiences – to allow them to kick back and laugh at how not to be,” he says. “Every audience member will recognize someone they know and laugh and be able to connect to the character. It’s humanity at its very worst and at its very best.”

The characters are reunited in the play, recently made available for production, and in this misadventure a plane full of townsfolk decide to accompany local radio host Arles Struvie and his wife, Bertha Bumiller, to Las Vegas, Nev., to watch them renew their wedding vows.

Not much goes according to plan in Sin City, where the sanctimonious Vera Carp, crotchety old Aunt Pearl and gun-toting Didi Snaveley and a cast of almost 30 characters are played by two experienced actors, Patrick Ross and Adam Kidd.

Ross, who has been entertaining in Vegas and featured on television and screen, plays a dozen characters.

“I have always been attracted to the challenges of playing parts that require me to play multiple characters,” he says.

Kidd, who has toured across the country in stage productions and works as an actor and assistant director in New York City, says he’s delighted to take on the challenges of playing a dozen characters and is especially pleased to work with Ross and Squibb.

“I jumped at it,” he says. “We all grew up working at the Vortex and it’s like a warm, comfortable homecoming. It’s thrilling to make everyone laugh for a few weeks.”