SAMC - College of Liberal Arts - Texas A&M University Corpus Christi

Pinstripe Harry's Tea Room Cabaret


More photos available here:  Pinstripe Harry Production Photos



Director's Notes         Performer Bios        Historical Background     




Director's Notes

One of the goals of Opera Workshop is to expose students to theatrical music of different time periods and genres.  Last fall we did Mozart, from the Classical Era, and in the spring, Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel from the Romantic Era.  I knew that I wanted to use music from some of the great composers of 1920s musical theatre for this fall, but I waited until I heard all the students before deciding what songs to use, so that we could design a custom-tailored show to display their talents.  But in between the beautiful songs of composers like George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Hoagy Carmichael, and Kurt Weill, we needed just enough plot to both give the students valuable experience in a role, and delight the audience with comic situations.  Comedy is driven by conflict.  I threw in as many opportunities for conflict as I could think of--the speakeasy owners need business, but if business is too good the cops might notice and shut them down.  The star singing is billed as "French," but what if someone shows up who can really speak French?  The two bootleggers are a romantic couple--if they split up, what happens to the liquor supply?  And that's just the first ten minutes!

I believe passionately that Theatre is not simply entertainment, but fulfills a vital human need to see ourselves represented.  We may laugh at what we see, but we might also learn something about ourselves.  I hope that our wonderful performers also touch your heart as they perform some of the most beautiful music of the early 20th Century, and maybe they will leave you with just a little more hope that all of us, no matter how far apart we start, can come together to create magic.

Ellen Denham

A Glimpse into the world of the 1920s

As you travel with us back in time to the 1920s, you may want to know a little bit more about the time period you will be visiting.  It was an exciting time to be alive in America, with economic growth, women gaining the vote, and the increasing availability of the automobile.  Some freedoms, however, were limited.  The prohibition of alcoholic beverages lasted from 1920-1933, fueling the growth of the illegal speakeasy, like the one you will visit during our performance.  Organizations such as the Women’s Christian Temperance Union looked at the devastating effect alcohol use could have on families and supported its prohibition. Flappers, however--young, liberated women known for their bobbed hair--might visit a speakeasy and enjoy an illegal drink or two. 

The gangsters, bootleggers, and flappers loved to dance to the new American music known as jazz, with dances like the Charleston, which is believed to have originated with African-American dancers in Charleston, South Carolina and spread eventually to Broadway. Jazz also influenced composers such as the ones whose music you will hear performed.  Even Kurt Weill, composing in Germany prior to immigrating to the United States, utilized a jazz idiom.

I hope you enjoy the trip back in time!  For more information about life in the 1920s, please visit this History Channel web site: History Channel Roaring Twenties Page

Ellen Denham

Performer Bios


Elyssa Albaugh (Dottie) is a Theatre major from Corpus Christi, Texas. She has a directing focus but has performed in musical and theatrical productions for 8 years. Most recently, she appeared in the Department of Theatre and Dance production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TimeThis is Elyssa's second semester in opera and her third year at TAMUCC. 


Skylyn Bennett (Jessie) is a second year voice major at TAMUCC. This is her first year involved in Opera Workshop; she is a voice student of Dr. Denham. She also performs with University Singers. Skylyn is a mezzo-soprano and has earned medals in the past for the UIL State Solo and Ensemble competition.  In high school she choreographed a dance and taught it to all of the students for Spring Show. In the future Skylyn hopes to become a singer/songwriter and an excellent performer.


Yoseline Castillo (Bessie) is a voice major in her second year at Texas A&M Corpus Christi. She participated in the ensemble in last semester’s opera, Hansel and Gretel. Yoseline is also a part of the University Singers ensemble. Someday she hopes to teach voice to the generations to come and also create her own music. Yoseline is a voice student of Dr. Ellen Denham.


Dr. Chuck Etheridge (Sam) has appeared in more than 30 plays, as well as appearing in the films Fandango and Dune.  He moonlights as a professor of English at TAMUCC.


Arturo Galvan (Art) is currently a fifth-year undergraduate at Texas A&M Corpus Christi, studying tuba with Dr. Dan Sipes. He was born in Laredo Texas. He is a music education major but hopes to master in Tuba Performance. He has performed in various ensembles such as Texas A&M Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra, and A&M Corpus Christi Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble, Corpus Christi Wind Symphony, and A&M Corpus Christi Symphonic Winds.

Jordan Kuzmack (Ace) is from Austin, Texas and is currently a sophomore music education major at TAMUCC with emphasis on early childhood music studies. Previous Opera Workshops include Hansel and Gretel as he was a part of the ensemble. Current ensembles include TAMUCC’s chamber choir, Camerata Isla, and University Singers. Jordan is also the music director for Phi Mu Alpha Music Fraternity. He is a voice student of Dr. Ross Bernhardt.


Hansley Osborn (Irene) has been singing for 10 years, with a focus in opera for the past four years. This is her first year at TAMUCC and Opera Workshop; she also participates in vocal lessons with Dr. Denham. She is majoring is General Business Management and minoring in International Buisness, and possibly Vocal Performance! Hansley is a soprano and has earned many credentials throughout her career, including placing third chair in her high school’s regional choir, and going to state for her solo in the UIL solo and ensemble competition. Hansley aspires to become a global missionary, serving others through music.


Elizabeth McKinzie (Rose) has been singing in choirs and performing since she was 10. She was in her high school musical West Side Story and did choreography for the show. She was also a part of the dance team at her high school and competed in dance with Artistry Elite Dance Project.  She is now a voice major at TAMUCC. She is a voice student of Dr. Hope Thacker and in addition to Opera Workshop participates in University Singers with Dr. Ross Bernhardt.


Joy Puumala (Florence) is a voice major in her second year at TAMUCC. Last year Joy performed solo for the first time ever on stage for our biannual voice studio recitals. Joy is actively involved on campus in the Honors Program, University Singers, and the Islander Jazz Band. Joy has previously performed and competed at the National Association of Teachers of Singing competition in Temple, Texas. She is new to Opera this year. Joy’s goals are to become a gospel singer/songwriter and successful composer. Joy is a voice student of Dr. Ellen Denham.


Lauren Walling (Frou Frou) is a senior at TAMUCC. She studies voice with Dr. Hope Thacker and opera with with Dr. Ellen Denham. She has been in such performances as: The Magic Flute, Speed Dating Tonight, and Hansel and Gretel. Lauren is studying to graduate with a degree in Music Industry and works as a lab technician in the TAMUCC Performing Arts Center. In the Spring of 2018, she competed in the Regional National Association of Teachers of Singing Vocal Competition and received 3rd in her category.


Kurt Wilkinson (Rocky) is a senior Theatre Major and Media Arts Major with emphases in Acting/Directing and Media Studies. Kurt has performed in the Department of Theatre and Dance's productions of Heathers: The Musical, ¿De Dondeand the world premiere of Good for Otto. Kurt is excited to show in this performance all that he has learned from Opera Workshop and voice lessons with Dr. Denham. Kurt plans to work as a professional actor after graduation.


Theodore Woods IV (Harry) is a singer-songwriter and pianist from Houston, Texas. He is currently studying Music Performance at TAMUCC.  Previous Opera Workshop productions include Speed Dating Tonight and the witch in Hansel and Gretel. Recent performances include soloist engagements with Berkshire Choral International, Classical Music Festival, Cornish American Song Institute, Corpus Christi Hooks National Anthem, TAMUCC Bach Festival, and Corpus Christi Chorale. Theodore is a voice student of Dr. Ross Bernhardt.


Dr. Sangmi Lim (Collaborative Pianist) is an active performer, appearing frequently as a soloist, chamber musician and collaborative pianist. She has performed in Republic of Korea, Japan, Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina and throughout the United States. She earned her B.M. and M.M. in Piano Performance from Ewha Womans University in Korea and also M.M. in Collaborative Piano and D.M.A. in Piano Performance from Michigan State University. Currently, Dr. Lim teaches at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and at New England Music Camp. Additionally, Dr. Lim is a co-director of the Piano Celebration Week at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi


Dr. Ellen Denham (Librettist and Director) joined the music faculty at Texas A&M Corpus Christi in 2017. Praised for her interpretive skills, clear tone, and effortless ornamentation, Denham has been a frequent performer on the opera and musical theatre stage, as a concert soloist, and in multi-disciplinary, collaborative, and improvised works.  Her written works for the stage include The Willow Maiden, a fantasy ballet premiered at Butler University, and Homo Homarus, a chamber opera with an improvised score, performed at the University of Illinois.  At TAMU-CC she has directed Opera Workshop productions of An Evening with Amadeus and Hansel and Gretel.  She holds a DMA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a MM from New England Conservatory, and a BM from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

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