For the Allen family, musicals at the Lyric Theatre have become a family outing.
Zac Allen, a rancher in Coleman County, and his daughter, Abbi, have made it a summer tradition to perform in Lyric musicals.
Zac has been involved with Lyric productions since 2007, and Abbi has become a regular, too.
In the current Lyric production — Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “South Pacific” — Allen plays the role of “Stewpot,” a co-conspirator of the wheeler-dealer Seebee Luther Billis, played by Stephen Haynes.
Allen has most recently been seen on the Lyric stage in “M*A*S*H” and “Guys and Dolls.”
In his program remarks, Zac thanked his family and friends “for being supportive over the years and for celebrating the Lyric experience” that he and Abbi share together each summer.
Coleman County has contributed even more talent to the Lyric. Forrest Blanton, the administrator of Holiday Hill Nursing Facility in Coleman, is also cast in this summer’s show, playing the “Professor,” the sailor who distinguishes himself by having a college degree. Blanton is also a frequent Lyric performer, having played “Daddy Warbucks” in “Annie.”
The Allen family has been involved in Texas ranching operations since 1884, according to its Lazy Eight Ranch website. With headquarters in Coleman but locations in several other Texas counties, their ranches vary from large native grass pastures near the Colorado River and Jim Ned Creek valley to irrigated and dry land wheat ground.
Good cow horses are essential to the Lazy Eight Ranches operation. In 1990, Allen and his brother, Lembo, revived the horse breeding program on the ranch. As an AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeder, the ranch maintains a band of top quality cow horse mares that produce the ranch horses they use daily. Their horses excel in arena competition and ranch rodeos.
It may sound like a contrast in real-life and stage roles, but Allen makes it work.
“I just tell my friends after I saddle up all day, I come in and sing and dance,” Allen said this week. The strength of a cowboy comes in handy at least once during a “South Pacific” chorus when another actor climbs high on his shoulders for a concluding refrain.
Only two more shows remain for this summer’s Lyric musical. Curtain time at the Mark Girling Performance Hall of the Lyric Theatre will be at 7:30 p.m today and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets costing $20 for adults and $10 for students are available at the door and online at www.brownwoodlyrictheatre.com.