Team Vance members drawn to footlights

  • Published
  • By Frank McIntyre
  • Public Affairs
Forget American Idol, Team Vance members are getting their share of the spotlight on Broadway.
Actually, they are appearing about a block and a half off Broadway, on Independence Street at the Gaslight Theater.
Like other community theaters across the country, the Gaslight depends on volunteers for its success and some of its volunteers are from Vance.
"If you have a passion for theater, or just want to become more involved with the Enid community, the Gaslight Theater offers a great place for that," said Pam Guillory, wife of Tech. Sgt. Jefferson Guillory, 71st Logistics Readiness Squadron.
Mrs. Guillory speaks from experience, having participated in five productions during her three years at Vance. Her experience proved valuable when mentoring Airman 1st Class Sara Beane, 71st Security Forces Squadron, when the two appeared together in the theater's latest production, "Love Thy Neighbor."
"For someone who had no previous experience, Airman Beane did a great job," Mrs. Guillory said.
Airman Beane had called the theater's ticket office, hoping to get tickets for "The Music Man" as a surprise for her friend. That play was sold out, but she was told the theater was always looking for new volunteers. After providing information so she could be placed on a mailing list for upcoming opportunities, Airman Beane was told, "By the way, auditions for the next play are tonight at 7."
Although she knew nothing about the play, the 22-year- old desk sergeant read from the script at the audition. Because the part called for someone in her late 20s or early 30s, she didn't bother to return for the second audition.
"The very next day, Pam came by, handed me a script and said ,'Congratulations, you got the part.' I was jumping up and down I was so excited," the Falmouth, Ky., native said.
After weeks of nightly rehearsals, a nervous Sara Beane made her stage debut to a capacity crowd that she discovered, when the house lights came up following the show, included her commander, Maj. Herbert Meadows, in the front row.
"Airman Beane literally accepted a direct challenge from members on her flight to try out for a spot in this play and ultimately did an outstanding job playing the part of Judy Harrison in 'Love Thy Neighbor,'" Major Meadows said. "Her portrayal of the character was absolutely hilarious and I truly enjoyed the opportunity to support the interests and talents of one of our own."
The front row isn't the only place to find a Vance commander at the Gaslight.
Lt. Col. John Hokaj, 32nd Flying Training Squadron commander, was one of several Team Vance members with a role in the theater's July production of "The Music Man."
"It's a lot of fun being involved with local theater productions," Said Colonel Hokaj. "There's opportunity for personal enjoyment as well as a great opportunity to interact with people from the local community you may not otherwise encounter."
Being an active volunteer with the Gaslight isn't limited to solo participation.
Maj. Dennis Burgart, 5th FTS, and his daughter Marshall both had roles in "The Music Man."
Marshall Burgart, a 9th grader who turns 15 in November, has been involved with more than a half-dozen local productions as well as being active in the Gaslight Teens program. Her next credit will be that of assistant director for Gaslight's next production, "Butterflies Are Free."
Teens aren't the youngest Vance members to be seen on the local stage.
Nine-year-old Bradley Harrison, son of Bridget and Maj. Bernard Harrison, 32nd FTS, was also in the cast of "Love Thy Neighbor." A seasoned veteran, the straight A student at Eisenhower Elementary School already has a national commercial advertisement and a major film to his credit.
What does it take to get involved with the Gaslight Theater?
"For me, it was just a willingness to step outside of my comfort zone and experience something new. You might surprise yourself with the results -- I did," Airman Beane said.
Whether you're a veteran stage performer, or looking for an opportunity to get more involved with the local community, the Gaslight Theater has opportunities for everyone, including audience members. For more information about the theater and getting involved with any of programs, visit the Web site at or call 234-2307.