For one night only, you could celebrate both Groundhog Day and witness a good-faith approximation of the groundbreaking work of Main Street Theater.

MST enlisted my own untested acting chops to stand beside Dana Tyson of Sunny 99.1, CultureMap Houston editor Steven Devadanam, and Houston's own roller-skating legend, Juan Carlos, in a performance of Groundhog Getaway, a play written especially for the fundraising event held at the MATCH last Friday, February 2.

This Houston-centric Groundhog Day spoof featured Yours Truly as the Mayor of Houston in a story in which evil foreign agents conspire to eradicate the city’s critters. (A sample line of dialogue: “You will never stop us! Our plan has been Putin motion!”) I will not review my own performance, but rest assured: The groundhogs were saved and MST raised over $100,000 to support its Childrens' Outreach Program that annually reaches thousands of underserved Houston kids.  

Later, the most unforgettable performance of the night came from the guest of honor, Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale. The Gallery Furniture owner addressed the audience in a moving speech about his experiences during Hurricane Harvey, when outlets such as the New York Times and CNN were often surprised that he and his staff opened the store as a makeshift shelter. McIngvale never saw any other option: “What am I going to do, not help my people?” 

His remarks were a wonderful reminder of the spirit of Houston—both in the arts and in real life—and capped off a memorable and moving evening shared by all, whether you were wearing a wacky wig or hat, sipping Chardonnay, or even making your acting debut on the big stage.

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