It’s July 4, 1945, in the small town of Tyler, Texas. Boys and girls are coming home from World War II in hopes of starting a new life. Little do they know, their futures have already been decided.

Theater instructor David W. Crawford wrote “Moonlight Serenade.” He said the inspiration for the play was his mother. The story tells the tale of his father and family. Even though characters are loosely based on real people, it is all fiction.

“It is all mine. It is all my dream. It is all that I came up with,” Crawford said.

Crawford started his education at Tyler Junior College and then went to North Texas State University, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Education with teaching fields in Drama and Speech.

Continuing on to Stephen F. Austin State University, he earned a Master of Arts in Theatre and a Doctorate of Philosophy from Texas Tech University.

The play tells of how a family comes together after the war and how the war has impacted their lives.

Leaving as young people and returning from the war as hardened adults who had been making life and death decisions on a daily basis, the three boys and one girl come home from war and are ready to restart their lives. They are eager to start anew along with their father and two younger siblings who could not go to war.

“They are ready to tackle life. They are ready to come back to living without war,” Crawford said.

But with their father being the supreme authority, he is ready to take over and help them establish their lives again, creating conflict and confrontation. The children have a different idea on what they want for themselves and their futures.

They have been told their whole lives what to do and have had to live up to their father’s expectations. They have come to a point where they have the chance to stand up for themselves and do what they want to do.

Millie, who went off to war as the first woman marine from Texas, is the protagonist and fights to get what she wants. Knowing that it will be a battle with her father, she is willing to do what she knows is best for her.

“There are very big shoes to fill,” said Sandrah Patty, freshman who is playing the role of Millie. “I have to do justice to the father’s chosen one and not only be a leader in the marines but in the family.”

With auditions out of the way and rehearsals going on daily, picking the cast was tougher than they had expected. Forty-two students tried out for only a slim eight-person cast.

“It is good to know that we have that kind of talent here,” said Jacque Shackelford, the director.

Crawford’s play is coming together day by day.

“He has done a great job with writing it, and it is great to watch. It helps us learn not only about Tyler, but its people also,” Shackelford said.

“Moonlight Serenade” will be showing Nov. 18-22 in Jean Browne Theatre. Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Sunday matinees begin at 2 p.m.

For more information, contact David Crawford at (903) 510-2678 or dcra@tjc.edu or Jacque Shackelford at (903) 510-2207 or jsha1@tjc.edu.

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