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Greater Tuna - Full Length Play, Comedy

Greater Tuna

Ed Howard, Joe Sears, Jaston Williams

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Full Length Play, Comedy

2m or f

ISBN: 9780573619021

What do Arles Struvie, Thurston Wheelis, Aunt Pearl, Petey Fisk, Phineas Blye, and Rev. Spikes have in common? In this hilarious send-up of small-town morals and mores, they are all among the upstanding citizens of Tuna, Texas’ third-smallest town. 

: Acting Edition
: Large Print
: Stage Manager

Minimum Fee: $100 per performance


Full Length Play


120 minutes (2 hours)

Time Period - 1980s

Settings Of Play - The fictitious town of Tuna, Texas, located in west Texas, about halfway between San Angelo and Hell. Though the action takes place in the early eighties, nothing has changed since then.


Mime, Physical Comedy

Bare Stage/Simple Set

Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes


No Special Cautions


Adult, Senior, Teen (Age 14 - 18)


High School/Secondary, College Theatre / Student, Community Theatre, Dinner Theatre, Professional Theatre, Reader's Theatre, Shoestring Budget, Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups


From Off-Broadway

What do Arles Struvie, Thurston Wheelis, Aunt Pearl, Petey Fisk, Phineas Blye, and Rev. Spikes have in common? In this hilarious send-up of small-town morals and mores, they are all among the upstanding citizens of Tuna, Texas’ third-smallest town. The long-running Off Broadway hit features two actors creating the entire population of Tuna in a tour de farce of quick change artistry, changing costumes and characterizations faster than a jack rabbit runs from a coyote. Two actors, twenty characters, and a barrel of laughs, y’all.

Greater Tuna was originally produced in 1981 in Austin, Texas by its authors, Jaston Williams, Joe Sears, and Ed Howard. The play’s stars, Williams and Sears, played all twenty characters, and Howard directed. One year after its premiere, Greater Tuna opened Off Broadway, ran for over a year, and went on to tour major theaters all over America and spots overseas for the next thirty-some years, becoming one of the most produced plays in American theatre history.  

"Howlingly funny." - Variety

"The audience all but exploded the theatre with laughter." - New York Post

"Hilarious, a tribute to the art of acting." - Washington Post

"Sharp, satiric & funny." - The New Yorker

"A whale of a funny evening." - Houston Post

Greater Tuna was first presented Off Broadway by Karl Allison in association with Bryan Bantry at Circle in the Square in New York City on October 21, 1982. It starred Joe Sears and Jaston Williams and was directed by Ed Howard.


2m or f


All Male, Cross gender casting, Expandable casting, Flexible casting


In the original production of "Greater Tuna", all the denizens of Tuna, Texas, were played by two actors. It is the opinion of the authors that this greatly increases the fun of the show; but individual producers may expand the cast size at their discretion.


N/A (Not a musical)

THURSTON WHEELIS, folksy radio host
ELMER WATKINS, head of Klan 249
BERTHA BUMILLER, beleagured housewife
YIPPY, half rat-terrier, half chihuahua
LEONARD CHILDERS, radio station owner and talk-show host
PEARL BURRAS, chicken farmer known for poisoning dogs
R.R. SNAVELY, drunken UFOlogist
REV. SPIKES, cliche spouting preacher
SHERIFF GIVENS, clueless long arm of the law
HANK BUMILLER, Bertha's philandering husband
ARLES STRUVIE, wise cracking radio host
DIDI SNAVELY, owner of Didi's Used Weapons
HAROLD DEAN LATTIMER, the weatherman
PETEY FISK, the one-man Greater Tuna Humane Society
JODY BUMILLER, Bertha's youngest son who collects stray dogs
STANLEY BUMILLER, Bertha's other son, a reform school graduate
CHARLENE BUMILLER, Stanley's twin sister, a cheerleader reject
CHAD HARTFORD, a reporter from Houston
PHINAS BLYE, a near-sighted perennial political candidate
VERA CARP, society matron and vice-president of the Smut Snatchers of the New Order
Rental Materials


N/A (Not a musical)


N/A (Not a musical)


Ed Howard

Ed Howard is the co-author of the plays “Greater Tuna”, “A Tuna Christmas”, “Red, White and Tuna”, “Tuna Does Vegas”, all published by Samuel French.  He also co-authored “Splendora” based on the novel by Edward Swift, and book and lyrics of the musicals “The Body Snatchers” and “Boy Problems”.  He is presently at work on the play “The Landscaper” about a conservative cul-de-sac ... view full profile

Other Jaston Williams titles:

Now Playing
Scott Presley 9/13/2016 3:03 PM
susan gawriluk 1/14/2015 11:19 AM
There's a real mean streak running thru this script. We just did Tuna Christmas and had a lot of fun with it, audience loved it. I think we'll skip this one, and depending on the other 2 which I haven't read yet, we'll just move on to those. The super thing about Tuna's is that it's just 2 people on stage, easy to direct because of that, and for a community playhouse such as ours, a lot of people can act. You Can't Take It With You is a fabulous play, but trying to position and direct 17 amateurs when I also have a full time job, now that was tough. Yay Tuna!
Nick Roberson 1/2/2014 2:29 PM
Since announcing our choice of plays I have had nothing but very positive feed back over that choice. A very familiar play to Texans -- even those who have seen it with the original cast are anxious to revisit the mythical town of Tuna where everyone has a relative with a likely uncomfortable past. It was an easy choice for our player's board and we are looking forward to the spring production.

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