Donations sought for Ike devastation

The Orange Community Players will return to Orange in February to present the postponed “Dearly Beloved” after the group’s playhouse was almost lost forever.

“Once we all got back from evacuation, we were all down there for many days trying desperately to save the building,” says Brook Doss, OCP veteran actor and director. 

“We’ve been told that what we did saved it from total destruction.

So now, we are just waiting on contractors. All of our new lobby pretty much will have to be redone, [at least] four to five rows of seats, the orchestra pit, the dressing rooms and restrooms.” Doss was to direct the now-canceled “Anatomy of Gray.” 

OCP board member Codie Vasquez was one of the first to survey the damage. Volunteers helped dry out the walls and ceiling.

“It’s clean and stable and dried-out, there’s still electrical work to be done,” says Vasquez, who will direct “Dearly Beloved.” 

“We may have to choose a different venue, but we’re pretty sure our patrons want to get back to see a show,” she says. “We had water in the building as deep as five feet, and 90 percent of our costumes and properties were destroyed. The new side of the building is at a higher elevation and only had one or two feet. We owe a big ‘shout out’ to all the volunteers.”

Vasquez says some donations have been received, and more are definitely needed. 

Donations can be mailed to: Orange Community Players, P.O. Box 442, Orange, 77631. For questions, call 886-7442 and leave a message, or e-mail Vasquez at

“Dearly Beloved,” written by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, is set for Feb. 19-21 and 26-28. 

Hope is a cousin to Jeff Hattman, OCP charter board member and former teacher. 

“It is our hope that he, or all the authors will come see our play performed,” says Vasquez.

To some, the comedy / drama might be compared to the “Tuna Trilogy” or “Steel Magnolias” featuring offbeat characters and three quirky sisters in a small Southern town. Jones, Hope and Wooten’s other plays include “Christmas Belles” and “Southern Hospitality,” “The Dixie Swim Club” and “The Hallelujah Girls.” They team lives in Asheville, N.C.

Hope won the Southwest Regional Playwrights Competition for his first play, “A Friend of the Family.” He has written television scripts for Warner Brothers and Disney Studios and was formerly director of The Goodman Theater in Chicago.