TEXAS Executive Fired; Worries Mount Over Show's Future

Foundation spokesperson and attorney Shawn Twing
Foundation spokesperson and attorney Shawn Twing

By Megan Moore
NewsChannel 10

Canyon, Texas - Some are concerned TEXAS, the outdoor drama, may be in trouble after its board of directors ousted the executive director.

The main thing we are hearing from members since Bill Anderson's firing Wednesday night is concern the show will not go on.

Anderson took the reigns as Executive Director of TEXAS in 2007.  Although he declined an on camera interview, he told us over the phone he pulled the drama out of its $365,000 debt, only to net $220,000 in profit this past season.

The Board of Directors voted 10-7 to let Anderson go.  Wednesday night's closed-meeting move now has members worried about the show, and demanding answers...especially because no one is releasing the reason for the firing.

Debbie Aylesworth, publisher of the Canyon News and Texas Panhandle Heritage Foundation member, says, "we still have yet to know why. What's the reason for it? I feel like we have a right to know why. I feel like I have a right to know why because I've given money to TEXAS."

Cheryl Malcolm, Canyon Chamber of Commerce Director and member says, "the play is doing better every season, and to interrupt the momentum we are feeling, it's definitely concerning."

Concerning because of the millions of dollars in revenue to drama brings to not just Canyon, but the entire Panhandle every year.

Members say they are afraid this could force the musical out.  But the foundation says that is far from what will happen.

Foundation spokesperson and attorney Shawn Twing says, "the board appointed a search committee and plan to have a stream of candidates in three to four months."

In the mean time, Aylesworth wants the public to get involved by becoming a member of the foundation.  Although she says that could be difficult because the foundation reviews each member before accepting anyone.

As for Bill Anderson, he says he hopes the show has a great 45th season, but is just as worried as other members about the drama's future.