According to the Galveston Daily News, the inspiration for an official state play came after a meeting of the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Tourism. The topic of conversation; the Texas Sesquicentennial Celebration scheduled for 1986 that would mark the 150th anniversary of Texas' independence from Mexico.
On January 9, 1979 Senate Bill No. 93, authored by State Senator A.R. "Babe" Schwartz, was read for the first time.
It proposed that the historical musical outdoor drama, "The Lone Star," by Paul Green, be adopted as the official play of the State of Texas. The play had been commissioned by Mary Moody Northen and written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paul Green. At the time, "The Lone Star" was being presented as an annual event at the Mary Moody Northen Amphitheater in Galveston Island State Park.
With some minor changes, Senate Bill No. 93 was passed in the Texas Senate on April 24, 1979. It named only one play, "The Lone Star," as an official play of the State of Texas.
By: Schwartz S. B. No. 93
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
relating to an official state play; designating "The Lone Star" outdoor musical drama which is presented annually in the amphitheatre in Galveston Island State Park as an official play of the State of Texas; and declaring an emergency.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS;
SECTION 1. LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS. The Legislature of the State of Texas finds that:
(a) in 1821, Stephen F. Austin received a grant from Mexico to establish a colony in Texas for 300 families, this quota known as "The Old Three Hundred," with San Felipe de Austin, on the Brazos serving as the seat of government; and
(b) in 1833, Stephen F. Austin traveled to Mexico City to present a state constitution and petition for reforms drafted at the Second Convention at San Felipe and was arrested and imprisoned by the Mexican President Santa Anna; and
(c) on March 2, 1836, a convention at Washington-on-the-Brazos declared Texas independent and named David G. Burnet president and Colonel Sam Houston commander-in-chief of the army; and
(d) on March 6, 1836, 187 Texans, commanded by Colonel William B. Travis, were besieged at the Alamo by 4,000 to 5,000 if Santa Anna's Mexican soldiers; and
(e) on April 21, 1836, Sam Houston's army routed the Mexican troops at the junction of the San Jacinto River and Buffalo Bayou and captured Santa Anna; and
(f) this historic battle led to the independence of Texas and its later annexation to the United States; and
(g) the Lone Star Historical Drama Association, endorsed by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas and working in cooperation with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, is proud of this stirring drama of the history of the state and presents an annual outdoor musical drama "The Lone Star" to reenact the founding of the Republic; and
(h) this outstanding moment in the history of our state and our nation as recreated in this annual outdoor drama is worthy of official recognition and encouragement.
SECTION 2. DESIGNATION AS STATE PLAY. The historical outdoor drama by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paul Green known as "The Lone Star," presented annually by the citizens of the State of Texas and the City of Galveston, is hereby designated an official play of the State of Texas.
SECTION 3. EMERGENCY. The importance of this legislation and the crowded condition of the calendars in both houses create and emergency and an imperative public necessity that the constitutional rule requiring bills to be read on three several days in each house be suspended, and the rule is hereby suspended, and that this Act tack effect and be in force from and after its passage, and it is so enacted.
Received in the Texas House of Representatives on April 25, 1979, Senate Bill No. 93 would be subject to major changes in committee.
The House Committee on State Affairs came up with the following substitute for Senate Bill No. 93. The substitute designated three additional historical plays as official; the outdoor historical drama, "Texas," also by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paul Green; the outdoor historical drama, "Beyond the Sundown," by Kermit Hunter; and the outdoor historical musical, "Fandangle," created by Robert Nail.
By: Schwartz (McLeod) S.B. No. 93
Substitute the following for S.B. No. 93.
By: Grubbs C.C.S.B. No. 93
relating to the designation of official state plays.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS;
SECTION 1. The legislature finds that:
(1) the historic battles of San Jacinto, Goliad, and the Alamo that led to the independence of Texas are portrayed faithfully and artistically at Galveston Island State Park in the play, The Lone Star;
(2) the lives of early settlers of the Panhandle of Texas are portrayed colorfully and creatively each year at the Palo Duro Canyon State Park in the play, Texas;
(3) the relationship between early settlers of East Texas, especially General Sam Houston and the Alabama-Coushatta Indians, is portrayed historically and excitingly at the Alabama-Coushatta Indian Reservation in the play Beyond the Sundown; and
(4) the founding of Fort Griffin and the lived of the settlers of Shackleford County and Albany, Texas, during the 1870s and 1880s are depicted during the last two weeks in June annually in Shackleford County in the play Fandangle.
SECTION 2. The Lone Star, presented in Galveston Island State Park, Texas presented in Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Beyond the Sundown, presented at the Alabama-Coushatta Indian Reservation, and Fandangle, presented in Shackleford County, are designated official plays of the State of Texas.
SECTION 3. The importance of this legislation and the crowded condition of the calendars in both houses create and emergency and an imperative public necessity that the constitutional rule requiring bills to be read on three several days in each house be suspended, and the rule is hereby suspended, and that this Act tack effect and be in force from and after its passage, and it is so enacted.
The House substitute was approved by the Senate on May 25, 1979.
The Lone Star Historical Drama Association opened the gates of the Mary Moody Northen Amphitheater at Galveston Island on June 30, 1977 with its first presentation of "The Lone Star," by Paul Green. Actor Richard Boone served as the master of ceremonies.
Two years later, when "The Lone Star" was declared an official play of the State of Texas, the production's future was already in question. In the same year "The Lone Star" was named an official play, the Lone Star Historical Drama Association added a production of the Broadway musical "Annie Get Your Gun" to the theatre's summer season.
In 1984, "Hello, Dolly!" became the featured Broadway musical along with "The Long Star." In 1988, it was Rodger's and Hammerstein's "Oklahoma!"
The Lone Star Historical Drama Association formally decided to extend its mission after the 1988 season and expanded its offerings to include "The Lone Star," "Oklahoma!," and "South Pacific" in 1989.
In 1990, after a 12 year run, "The Lone Star" could no longer be found on the schedule.
According to Galveston County Sheriff Joe Max Taylor, president of the Galveston theater group:
"... Our attendance on "The Lone Star" has continued to drop down each year," he said. "It just dropped to nothing.' "We've put it on the back burner, then we'll bring it back in a year or so," Taylor said.
(Long The Houston Chronicle)
Today, "The Lone Star" remains on the back burner.
Galveston Island State Park suffered extensive damage at the hands of 2008's Hurricane Ike.
In the accompanying photograph, the gold colored seat six rows up, center, was reserved for Mary Moody Northen.
The following information was excerpted from the Texas Statutes: Government Code, Title 11, Subtitle A, Chapter 3101, Section 3101.011.
TITLE 11. STATE SYMBOLS AND HONORS; PRESERVATION
SUBTITLE A. STATE SYMBOLS AND HONORS
CHAPTER 3101. STATE SYMBOLS
Sec. 3101.011. STATE PLAYS.
Sec. 3101.009. STATE PLAYS. The following plays are official state plays of Texas:
(1) The Lone Star presented in Galveston Island State Park;
(2) Texas presented in the Palo Duro Canyon State Park;
(3) Beyond the Sundown presented at the Alabama-Coushatta Indian Reservation; and
(4) Fandangle presented in Shackelford County.
Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 7.001, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.
"Senate Bill No. 93." The Legislative Reference Library of Texas. The Legislative Reference Library of Texas, n.d. Web. 6 Jan 2012.
"'Lone Star has played to 90,000 in first three seasons." The Galveston Daily News [Galveston] 8-D. 24 Jun 1979, Print.
Long, Steven. "'Lone Star' falls from marquee in Galveston." The Houston Chronicle [Houston] 14 Dec 1989, 2 Star Edition 1. Print.
"About Me:." Galveston Island Outdoor Musicals Alumni: MySpace. Galveston Island Outdoor Musicals Alumni, n.d. Web. 7 Jan 2012.
"Galveston Summer Musicals." Artshound.com. Houston Arts Alliance, n.d. Web. 7 Jan 2012.
Shearer, Benjamin F. and Barbara S. State Names, Seals, Flags and Symbols: A Historical Guide Third Edition, Revised and Expanded. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 3 Sub edition, 2001.
The Alamo: Official website of the Alamo, managed by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas.
The Battle of the Alamo: The Handbook of Texas Online; The Texas State Historical Association.
Goliad Campaign of 1836: The Handbook of Texas Online; The Texas State Historical Association.
The Goliad Massacre: The Handbook of Texas Online; The Texas State Historical Association.
The Battle of San Jacinto: The Handbook of Texas Online; The Texas State Historical Association.
The Battle of San Jacinto: © 1997-2010, Wallace L. McKeehan, Sons of DeWitt Colony Texas.
San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site: San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Paul Green: Dramatist and Activist: Official website maintained by the Paul Green Foundation.
Galveston Island State Park: Galveston Island State Park from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Galveston Island Outdoor Musicals Alumni: Galveston Island Outdoor Musicals Alumni on MySpace offers a chronological history of the now-defunct Lone Star Historical Drama Association.
Galveston Summer Musicals: Information about the The Lone Star Performing Arts dba The Galveston Island Musicals.
More symbols & emblems: Complete list of official Texas state symbols from NETSTATE.COM.
The Lone Star: A Symphonic Drama of the Texas Struggle for Independence, by Paul Green. 89 pages. Publisher: Samuel French (1986)Paul Green's historical musical drama named as an official play of the State of Texas in 1979. The script "creates an epic historical narrative surrounding the events of the Texas Revolution."
Texas Joins the United States, by Russell Roberts. 48 pages. Publisher: Mitchell Lane Publishers (September 28, 2007) Reading level: Ages 10+. Few states have gone the route that Texas did to become part of the Union. First a part of Spain, then Mexico, Texas faced a very uncertain future when it opted to revolt against the regime of Santa Anna. On the plains of San Jacinto, a ragtag Texas army won immortality by defeating Santa Anna and gaining independence for Texas. The path to Texas statehood shines brightly with some of the memorable names in American history, such as Davy Crockett, Sam Houston, Jim Bowie, Stephen F. Austin, William Barret Travis, and Andrew Jackson. That same path is also glorified by the legendary Battle of the Alamo, at which people died willingly in the defense of an idea they believed in. The route to Texas statehood is long, thrilling, sometimes desperate, and an overall triumph of the spirit of freedom.
Lone Star Nation: The Epic Story of the Battle for Texas Independence, by H.W. Brands. 608 pages. Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group (February 8, 2005) In Lone Star Nation, Pulitzer Prize finalist H. W. Brands demythologizes Texas’s journey to statehood and restores the genuinely heroic spirit to a pivotal chapter in American history.
From Stephen Austin, Texas’s reluctant founder, to the alcoholic Sam Houston, who came to lead the Texas army in its hour of crisis and glory, to President Andrew Jackson, whose expansionist aspirations loomed large in the background, here is the story of Texas and the outsize figures who shaped its turbulent history. Beginning with its early colonization in the 1820s and taking in the shocking massacres of Texas loyalists at the Alamo and Goliad, its rough-and-tumble years as a land overrun by the Comanches, and its day of liberation as an upstart republic, Brands’ lively history draws on contemporary accounts, diaries, and letters to animate a diverse cast of characters whose adventures, exploits, and ambitions live on in the very fabric of our nation.
Eighteen Minutes: The Battle of San Jacinto and the Texas Independence Campaign, by Stephen L. Moore. 544 pages. Publisher: Taylor Trade Publishing (November 10, 2003) It was the decisive eighteen-minute Battle of San Jacinto where the famous words "Remember the Alamo!" were first shouted. In Eighteen Minutes, Stephen L. Moore describes the momentous battle that established the independent Lone Star Republic.
Told largely through the eyes of the participants, the recollections included here are words from over 120 Texan and Mexican soldiers. The book follows General Sam Houston as he takes command of the Texas Volunteers to lead them to victory six weeks after the fall of the Alamo at San Jacinto, the town since known as the birthplace of Texas liberty. The battle and its aftermath are covered in great detail and include the capture of Santa Anna, the "Yellow Rose" controversy, and the death of a woman on the battlefield. Special features include rosters of all Texans involved in the battle, a list of casualties, and the details on other companies involved in the campaign. Eighteen Minutes is a comprehensive history of how revenge for the defeat of the Alamo was at last achieved.
1 Clemons, Leigh. Branding Texas: Performing Culture in the Lone Star State. Reprint. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2011. 53.