AMON! playwright pays tribute to actor Dilks and director Sanchez at public meeting

HALTOM CITY, TEXAS — Birdville ISD Schools Trustee Kelvin Dilks, who stars as Fort Worth founding father Amon G. Carter in a new play, along with retired BISD drama teacher Connie Sanchez were honored at the May 2019 Birdville school board meeting.

Sanchez is director of the new play, which has sold out since its world premiere opening on May 9, 2019

Dave Lieber — who wrote the new hit play AMON! The Ultimate Texan — attended the meeting and spoke during the “Citizen’s Participation” portion.

You can read his remarks below, or listen to them on Soundcloud here.

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“Hello to the Birdville ISD community.

“My name is Dave Lieber and for 20 years I wrote a column in the Star-Telegram. Now I write for the Dallas Morning News and recently wrote a piece praising you for holding a bond election in November.

“I come here to praise your district and specifically two people who have demonstrated for me extraordinary skills that go above and beyond anything I have seen before. So I am here in tribute to them because, as lifelong teachers, they are a product of your system.

“I recently wrote a play and a companion book — AMON! The Ultimate Texan — about Fort Worth’s almost forgotten founding father, Amon G. Carter. He ran the newspaper, the radio station and the TV – Channel 5 - and dominated this region like no other for half a century.

“When I wrote this play I knew I needed help from experts but I didn’t know who they would be. But I prayed for people of exquisite talent to help me with this project. I always knew this would depend upon a director with great vision and an actor talented enough to memorize 50 plus pages and become this larger than life figure. But who would they be?

“I found my producer through Rick Blair of Artisan Center Theater in Hurst which agreed to produce this play by this rookie, or as one review referred to me, a “greenhorn playwright.”

“Rick picked Connie Sanchez to direct and board Trustee Kelvin Dilks to star as Amon Carter. The two worked for four months to fix up my script, design a set and costumes and learn the lines. The play opened with 8 performances scheduled and due to sellouts has expanded to 17.   All have sold out.

“It closes its first run Saturday with three  -- THREE! – performances  and then it will return, probably to downtown Fort Worth so many thousands more can see this play, a love letter to Fort Worth, which by the way today was named America’s 13th largest city.

“I am so fortunate to be paired with Connie and Kelvin. Not only are they two of the most talented and dedicated people I have ever met, they are beloved by their former students, many of whom traveled far and wide to admire their mentors’ latest handiwork.

“I know that Connie and Kelvin developed their talents working decades in your school district on hundreds of plays with thousands of students. So I have come here tonight simply to say thank you to Birdville. These two wonderful people have helped us give this play, a great gift to a great city, a future that could go far and wide.

“Amon Carter’s story is all about community. He explains in the play that a person must live with his or her community, not off it. Connie and Kelvin embody that principle for me. Thank you Birdville for this great gift you have given in these two wonderful people. Hope to see y’all at the theater some day. Thank you.”

Actor, retired teacher and BISD school board member Kelvin Dilks meets the legendary TV reporter Bobbie Wygant, who gave his performance of Amon Garter her blessing. Wygant began working for Carter at Channel 5 in 1948 when the station first went on the air.

Actor, retired teacher and BISD school board member Kelvin Dilks meets the legendary TV reporter Bobbie Wygant, who gave his performance of Amon Garter her blessing. Wygant began working for Carter at Channel 5 in 1948 when the station first went on the air.

Connie Sanchez, as director, has brought AMON! The Ultimate Texan, a new play, to life on the stage. It’s a hit with all performances sold out. Photo by Alan D. Smith

Connie Sanchez, as director, has brought AMON! The Ultimate Texan, a new play, to life on the stage. It’s a hit with all performances sold out. Photo by Alan D. Smith

BISD Trustee Kelvin Dilks declined to perform on May 23 as Amon Carter in the new play he stars in because of his responsibility to serve on the Birdville school board. Here', he is shown (at left) with students who were honored at the meeting.

BISD Trustee Kelvin Dilks declined to perform on May 23 as Amon Carter in the new play he stars in because of his responsibility to serve on the Birdville school board. Here', he is shown (at left) with students who were honored at the meeting.

Learn more about this amazing play by following the latest NEWS at www.AmonPlay.com.

The only place to buy the new book, AMON! The Ultimate Texan by Dave Lieber is here.

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David Lieber