GECA to present ‘A Cab Fare to Remember’

Published 9:04 am Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Local playwright Gene Embry is hoping his next work performed by the Greater Escambia Council of the Arts will truly be a community effort, with roles still available for extras and carolers.

Hoping to follow up on the success of “Peace in the Valley,” an Embry original performed by GECA earlier this year, the council’s second offering by the playwright, “A Cab Fare to Remember,” will open to the public Friday, Dec. 9. Embry will also direct the Christmas-themed play.

Embry, who has been involved with theater for most of his life, has written around 75 original scripts, as well as a series of children’s books, and said he is particularly excited for his new play to open for audiences.

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“I wrote this play probably five years ago,” Embry said. “I’m looking forward to it. We have a strong cast. There’s going to be a lot of singing in it. I’m putting in carolers, that type of thing.”

Embry and his wife Teresa moved to Atmore in 2008 from Tennessee, where their family had been heavily involved in community theater. Embry said his roles in local plays were predominantly relegated to acting, but he said his real love is writing and directing.

“I was involved with a community theater outside of Nashville,” he said. “I was always acting and then I started writing. And I really love the writing side and the directing side. And I’ve just been very blessed.”

For “Cab Fare,” Embry said he uses social roles and issues to tell the heart-warming story of a cab driver whose “high society” passengers, Harold and Mavis, are forced to mingle with four lower-class passengers, each with a unique characteristic. Embry said the interesting aspect of the play is how each character learns a special Christmas lesson from their encounters.

“Along the way the taxi cab driver, Joe, picks up four strangers,” he said. “The first one is a bag lady, the second is a drifter, the third one is a business man and the fourth one is a woman dressed as angel. Through all of this Harold definitely learns his lesson, but you think Mavis isn’t going to learn hers.”

With a smile, Embry said he is excited to see the reaction of the audience to his characters’ interactions on state. Embry said he feels blessed to be able to perform his story with such a talented group of thespians.

“I did ‘Peace in the Valley,’ with GECA,” Embry said. “We had a ball with it. They’re all just so great.”

“A Cab Fare to Remember” is scheduled to show Friday, Dec. 9, through Sunday, Dec. 11, as well as Friday, Dec. 16, through Sunday, Dec. 18. Curtain time for Friday and Saturday shows will be 7 p.m., while Sunday shows will begin at 2 p.m.

Although the cast for “Cab Fare” has already been chosen, Embry said GECA is still searching for community members interested in serving as carolers and extras.

“We’re really wanting to make this a community affair,” Embry said. “Especially with the carolers, and we’d like to have some children.”

Cast members for “Cab Fare,” who will begin rehearsal Tuesday, Aug. 25, include: Norm Boyd; Phil Johnson; Dan Johnson; Tom Jeter, Gilda Stubben; Sharon Poulsen; Patty Castleberry; Mary Beachy; Jamison Janes; Anna Grace Janes; and Brandon Beachy.

Embry said anyone wishing to be a part of  “A Cab Fare to Remember” may contact him at or Phil Johnson at