Texas in Paris

by Alan Govenar


Details: A Musical, Based on True Events, With Spirituals, Cowboy Songs, and Country Hymns
Written by Alan Govenar
Directed by Akin Babatunde
Starring: Lillias White and Scott Wakefield


Based on true events, Texas in Paris is the musical journey of a man and a woman — one white, one black – invited to France to perform at the Maison des Cultures du Monde. They have never met, have no professional singing experience, and face the challenge of working together and co-existing in an unfamiliar world. Apprehensive of each other, they struggle with preconceptions but forge a surprising spiritual bond that transforms their on-stage performance and their lives.

Texas in Paris was performed off-Broadway at the York Theatre (January 27 - March 1, 2015). It has also been performed in Paris and in Dallas (with Willy Welch playing John Burrus). Dramatic Publishing licenses the rights and publishes the script.



New York Times
by Laura Collins-Hughes
"Giving a glorious, glamour-free performance in sensible shoes, Ms. White provides the emotional center of gravity for a musical play that is as much about race relations in America as it is about the spirituals and cowboy songs that run through it." "Mr. Wakefield is restrained yet unflinching..."

The New Yorker
"Under the direction of Akin Babatunde, [Lillias] White is convincing as a fun-loving and emotionally mature woman held at bay by a sour and withholding man. But what's most striking about this piece is White's flawless renditions of gospel tunes."

by Victor Gluck
"An engrossing and subtle play about race relations and the misunderstandings that separate people. Under the restrained and assured direction by Akin Babatundé, the performances by Lillias White and Scott Wakefield are poignant and authentic. "They not only command the stage but make us forget that we are not seeing the real Mays and Burrus."

Huffington Post
by Regina Weinreich
"Alan Govenar's Texas in Paris tells a little known story of these two [characters], brought to Paris to entertain; Govenar deftly teases out their world, creating a dialogue about race, justice, and class in America. Director Akin Babatunde makes the music dovetail beautifully. That the two come to understand each other is no surprise, but the fine performances are this entertainment's miracle." "This gem of a musical evening is a rare treat."

Wolf Entertainment Guide
by William Wolf
"An unpretentious presentation of a musical play based on true events and real people, Texas in Paris is a moving, heartwarming entertainment. Cleverly written by Alan Govenar and presented by The York Theatre Company, the play teams Lillias White and Scott Wakefield as two Texas performers who go abroad to do a concert in Paris in 1979, get to know each other as they banter amusingly about their personalities, life perspectives and race relations." "White and Wakefield, portraying African-American Osceola Mays and white John Burris and superb in their respective individualities, are a joy to see and hear."

by Kristine Mietzner
"Texas in Paris is an uplifting show with dazzling performances by two actors with considerable talents. The entire production is a joy to experience." "The actors present inspired performances that capture the unique personalities they portray. A rich and strong voice is required to fill the role of Osceola. [Lillias] White truly brings one to the stage. [Scott] Wakefield, also a talented singer, plays the perfect partner."

by Pete Hempstead
"In this modest yet affecting play with music, playwright Alan Govenar examines what can happen when two people from different worlds get out of their hometown comfort zones and begin to talk — and sing — with each other."

by Ethel Wynn
"Texas in Paris is small in many respects: two people, two chairs, a bare stage, but it has big performances and an even bigger heart." "It is a touching journey of discovery and growing friendship of two people who would never even have talked, much less met, on their home turf." "...the simple, sweet story and the incredible musical performances all combine to make this premiere well worth seeing."

by David Cote
"This piece is about two shy amateur singers and while its stars are seasoned pros, it celebrates the outsider." "Cowboy warbler John Burrus and gospel-singer Osceola Mays... are played by the glorious Lillias White and appealing Scott Wakefield..." "Directed with unfussy directness by Akin Babatundé, Texas in Paris is honest stuff..."

Broadway Black
by Larry Powell
"This 80-minute show is filled with music and well-crafted moments that will make you laugh a good laugh at one moment and shed a good tear the next." "By the end of the play, the skillful and precise direction of Akin Babatunde guides the audience to a wonderful moment in time. It’s a moment where two great artists who at first were strangers to one another find understanding through compassion, joy, and a love for music. You may find yourself leaving The York Theater ready to talk to someone on the ride home… someone you’ve never thought of talking to before… and that’s a good thing… a real good thing."

Manhattan Digest
by Ryan Leeds
[Osceola] Mays and [John] Burrus are the subjects of the wonderfully warm two person musical play Texas in Paris, which recently made its world premiere at the York Theatre Company." "...the York Theatre Company has landed another unique and special show, under the passionate direction of Akin Babatunde."

Lighting and Sound America
by David Barbour
"Lillias White and Scott Wakefield make an ideal team: He warms up the room and she brings down the house." "Both are splendid, but this offers White fans a rare opportunity to experience her voice in unplugged, unfiltered fashion. And by the time both of them join in on 'Will the Circle Be Unbroken,' they have made believers of us all. Near the end, Burrus, unbending a little, says to Mays, 'Listening to you has brought me unexpected joy.' I know just how he feels."

Talkin' Broadway
by Matthew Murray
"Quietly charming." "John and Osceola might be about as different as two people can be, but through his work [writer Alan] Govenar poignantly proves that the qualities they have in common are far more powerful — and transformative — than their differences."



The show received four Audelco Award nominations for Musical Production, Director, Actress, and Musical Director. In addition, Lillias White received a Lucille Lortel Award nomination for her role as Osceola Mays.

License/Purchase through Dramatic Publishing