JOE SEARS is co-author and co-star of Tuna Does Vegas, as well as co-author and co-star of the wildly successful Tuna Trilogy. Mr. Sears has been touring extensively with the Tuna Trilogy productions since 1982. His sixth tour of A Tuna Christmas included his Broadway debut for which he received a 1995 Tony Award-nomination for Best Actor in a Play. The first record-breaking year included a command performance for President and Mrs. George Bush at the White House. Mr. Sears' Washington, DC engagement of A Tuna Christmas earned him his third nomination for the Helen Hayes Award for Best Actor. A Tuna Christmas was also nominated for Best Play. Mr. Sears also received nominations in 1984 and 1988 for the Helen Hayes Award for his performance in Greater Tuna. He originated these roles off-Broadway when Greater Tuna premiered in 1982 and has performed in the highly successful national tours and co-wrote and starred in the Embassy Television/ Norman Lear Special of Greater Tuna which aired on HBO. Mr. Sears has been acting professionally for more than 30 years. His credits include a season with Theatre Works USA in New York, summer stock, outdoor drama, television and eight Shakespeare plays. Among his many roles are Bottom and Thisby in two separate productions of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor, and the Doctor in Three Sisters. He appeared with Fannie Flagg (Fried Green Tomatoes) in The Foreigner. Later he would play Fannie's role and attributes his success to her. Mr. Sears has appeared on the David Letterman and Merv Griffin shows and received a Los Angeles Dramalogue Award for his writing and performance of Greater Tuna. Mr. Sears received the 1993 Los Angeles Dramalogue Award for Best Actor in A Tuna Christmas. He performed in the musical comedy The Fantasticks at Ford's Theatre in Washington, DC and at Casa Mañana Theatre in Fort Worth. He made his movie debut with Tommy Lee Jones and Matt Damon in The Good Old Boys. Mr. Sears is the playwright for the Cherokee Nation's outdoor drama Trail of Tears, which runs during the summer months in Tahlequah, OK. Mr. Sears was awarded the "Theatre LA Ovation Award" for Best Actor 1999. He recently completed the Libretto (along with Mr. Williams) for the new Comic Opera Ochelata's Wedding, commissioned by the OK Mozart International Music Festival. He and Austin-Nashville songwriter Kimmie Rhodes are now working on a new musical entitled Doin' God's Chores, an Austin workshop production. Mr. Sears also owns and operates Cody Stage, a summer stock theatre company in Cody, WY.
JASTON WILLIAMS is co-author, co-star and producer of Tuna Does Vegas and is the co-author and co-star of the Tuna Trilogy. Mr. Williams has been creating the citizens of Tuna since 1982. The performances have played on and off Broadway at the Kennedy Center, the Edinburgh International Arts Festival, the Spoleto Festival U.S.A. and all over America. He has received Washington DC's Helen Hayes Award nominations for A Tuna Christmas and Red, White and Tuna as well as the San Francisco Bay Area Critics Award for Greater Tuna. Mr. Williams received the L.A. Dramalogue Award for both Greater Tuna and A Tuna Christmas. A Tuna Christmas was published in "Best Plays of 1995." For several years, Mr. Williams toured in Larry Shue's The Foreigner, for which he received a Helen Hayes Award nomination for Best Actor. He performed in The Fantasticks at Washington DC's Ford's Theatre and directed the musical Bad Girls Upset By The Truth at Atlanta's Alliance Theatre. Mr. Williams received the Texas Governors Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Arts by a Native Texan and has performed at the White House on three occasions. In his hometown of Austin, Texas, Mr. Williams has appeared at the State Theatre in Eugene Ionesco's The Chairs and at Zachary Scott Theatre in Jay Presson Allen's Tru, for which he received the Austin Critics Table Award for Best Actor in a drama. He most recently appeared at Zachary Scott Theatre in The Laramie Project. His play, Romeo and Thorazine, work-shopped at Zachary Scott Theatre in November 2001. He work-shopped his autobiographical one-man show I'm Not Lying to critical acclaim at Austin's State Theatre of Texas and returned it there for a full production in February of 2004 as well as a benefit performance at Washington DC's Kennedy Center. His latest autobiographical play Cowboy Noises premiered in Austin in February 2008 to critical acclaim.
Photos by Brenda Ladd