With 17 performances in 16 days, actor in new Amon Carter play signs up for an endurance test

Artisan Center Theater keeps extending AMON! The Ultimate Texan because sellouts can do that. But actor Kelvin Dilks must now perform the nearly 2-hour play three times a day on the next two Saturdays.

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At first, it sounded like a fairly easy gig for actor Kelvin Dilks. Well, as easy as memorizing a 50-plus page script in a one-man play can be. Only eight shows. That was the original plan.

But Dilks nailed his role as Fort Worth’s legendary media powerhouse, Amon G. Carter.

The show’s run keeps getting extended. Three more daytime shows have been added, bringing the total to 17.

Now Dilks must perform that many times in only 16 days.

On two Saturdays, May 18 and May 25, he performs in morning, afternoon and evening shows.

Morning shows in the North Texas theater world are rare, but producer Rick Blair says he wants as many people as possible to see the hit show.

Lockheed Martin has committed to making that happen. The company this week signed on as a title sponsor.

One rare day when Dilks doesn’t have a show is May 23. Why? Dilks is an elected Birdville ISD school board member, and he doesn’t want to miss that night’s meeting.

Dilks hits a homer

Dilks was always one of Birdville ISD’s most popular teachers. But now the rest of the community is getting a chance to see how he transforms into Amon Carter in the play by columnist Dave Lieber.

His performance is drawing rave reviews.

Legendary TV reporter Bobbie Wygant, who worked for Carter when he launched WBAP-TV (now NBC5) in 1948, said of Dilks, “Extraordinary performance. Extremely moving.”

Others who have seen the hit show in its first week concur.

Dilks is putting in a performance worthy of Amon Carter’s gigantic reputation.

What he says

How can he pull this off?

“I’m just trying to rest as much as possible,” he tells AmonPlay.com. “On the 3-performance days, I plan on having plenty of fluids, food and maybe a couple of sugar-free Red Bulls.”

Amon play director Connie Sanchez

Amon play director Connie Sanchez

Director Connie Sanchez says she has no doubt Dilks can pull it off.

“Kelvin is a beast,” she says. “If anyone can do this, it’s him. He is truly Amon G. Carter. He knows what he needs to do.” Then quoting a line from the play, she says, like Carter, he will “outwork, outsell, out maneuver and out perform everyone.”

Dilks says he is motivated to help Artisan Center Theater in Hurst.

“The Artisan Theater has helped many people develop their talents,” he says. Community theaters struggle to pay bills, royalties and sometimes payroll for employees.

“As a former business owner, I understand the struggle. Therefore, if I can help, I’m willing. The Artisan Theater has given me more than I can ever give it.”

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David Lieber