Written by Doc Blakely

The Wharton Rotary Club, famed for its Legends of Western Music series, has a block buster show lined up, and at a rock bottom price. For the 21st Rotary Gala, Saturday, October 6, Wharton Civic Center, you may take your choice of either a 2 pm matinee or 7pm evening performance at only $35 per ticket. Mickey Gilley, famous for Gilley’s in Pasadena, the subject of an equally famous movie, Urban Cowboy, starring John Travolta, will revive memories of this epic movie. Who can forget the honky tonk dance moves of Travolta, the rollicking music of Mickey Gilley, the mechanical bull scenes?

Mickey Gilley, a master showman, and first cousin to both Jerry Lee Lewis and Jimmy Swaggart, grew up with his equally famous cousins in Mississippi and Louisiana. He “immigrated” to Texas and founded one of the most famous honky tonks in America, called simply “Gilleys,” as well as his own recording studio. With his distinctive voice and bawdy piano style Mickey recorded hundreds of tunes beginning in the early 70’s that hit the Nashville and crossover charts with the best of them.  Among his more famous tunes are “Room Full of Roses,” “Don’t the Girls All Get Prettier at Closing Time,” and the remake of the Soul hit, “Stand by Me.” He received the coveted Entertainer of the Year from the Academy of Country Music in 1976 and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was one of the first to build a theater in Branson, Missouri where he still performs. It is this 90 minute show full of music and comedy that Gilley brings to Wharton.

The new format for the Gala was created to conform to the demands of changing times, and at Mickey’s own insistence. “Keep those ticket prices low so everybody can afford them,’ said Gilley,’ and we’ll fill the civic center, twice. This is a worthy fund raiser for worthy charities so we’re willing to do two shows, a matinee at 2 pm and an evening show at 7 pm at no extra charge.” The two performances will be the same show. Another change in the format is that no food or drink will be included in the price of the ticket, although finger foods and a cash bar will be available for food and beverage purchases. The other recognizable change is that tables will be absent and seating will be concert style.

Dick Hudgins, this year’s Rotary Gala Director says, “We believe these changes will be embraced by the public in order to see the fabulous Mickey Gilley show at roughly half the previous year’s Gala ticket prices.” Rotary president Landon McClain adds, “Remember that our loyal sponsor-supporters pick up the cost of the show, all Rotarians buy their own tickets, and Rotarians volunteer their services at no charge, so the maximum portion of your ticket price goes into a charity fund that supports the Boys and Girls Club and many other local projects here at home. Please come out, treat yourself to a world class Branson style Mickey Gilley show and know that your investment in this Gala goes to the best possible use, our youth and community.”

Advance ticket purchases are advised as both performances are expected to sell out. Tickets may be reserved by calling Rotary Treasurer Sharon Joines at 979-532-2636, online by clicking here , Prosperity Bank, Wharton Journal-Spectator or any Rotarian.  The date again for the fabulous 90 minute music and comedy Mickey Gilley Show is Saturday, October 6, Wharton Civic Center, 2 pm matinee or 7pm evening show, all tickets $35.