VC employee’s award-winning play to be performed at Tyler Civic Theatre

Patrick McLaughlin’s comedy “Under a Powder Blue Moon” will be performed Sept. 9-12 by the Tyler Civic Theatre.

One of Patrick McLaughlin’s best play scripts sat dormant for about seven years before it finally came to life on the stage.

Clinton Tegeler approached McLaughlin in 2018 to see if the part-time playwright had created something the Ganado Townhall Players could perform.

“I had written this play and really hadn’t done anything with it,” said McLaughlin, who is the production services planner for Victoria College’s Leo J. Welder Center for the Performing Arts. “I showed it to Clinton, and he said it was perfect.”

“Under a Powder Blue Moon” premiered at Ganado’s Rear Window Listening Room with four performances in December 2019. Encouraged by the reaction from the performances, McLaughlin decided to enter “Under a Powder Blue Moon” in the Tyler Civic Theatre’s 12th Annual New Play Festival competition.

McLaughlin’s play won the Peoples’ Choice Award and will be performed at the Tyler Civic Theatre on Sept. 9-12.

“It’s exciting, but also terrifying,” McLaughlin said. “I’m thrilled that somebody appreciated my work. But you never really know what you have until you see it come to life on stage. Every performance is different, and every audience is different. Things you think are funny may not work at all. Then things you never intended to be funny get laughs.”

“Under a Powder Blue Moon” is a comedy about an attempted bank robbery that goes awry. The perpetrator, Bobby, runs into a bank employee, Jannelle, whom he jilted at their high school prom. The woman turns the tables on the would-be robber and demands he take her to the prom some 30 years later.

“Let’s just say Bobby gets his comeuppance,” McLaughlin said.

McLaughlin, who has written approximately 25 plays and seen six performed onstage, tests his new scripts by sending them to some of his closest theater friends.

“I’ll ask them if it is doable or if I should throw it away,” McLaughlin said. “Sometimes we’ll get together and have a sit-down reading. I know if it gets past them, I’m in good shape.”

McLaughlin plans on making the trek to Tyler to attend the final rehearsal and watch one of the performances. He said he no longer frets over the audience’s reaction to his plays.

“I used to have the reputation of sitting on the back row and kind of acting the play out with the people on stage,” McLaughlin said. “I’ve gotten better about that. I now accept the fact that it’s going to be what it’s going to be, and I just sit back and enjoy the ride. If it works, then great. If it doesn’t, I’m sitting in the back so I can be the first out the door.”