The Georgetown Palace Theatre didn’t plan it this way, but its next production starting on Sept. 8 — “You Can’t Do That, Dan Moody!” — is unquestionably timely.
Based off the book of the same name by Ken Anderson, the play follows the true story of the Williamson County district attorney who, in 1923, tried and convicted several members of the Ku Klux Klan, a first-of-its-kind court victory. A few years after the convictions, Dan Moody ran successfully for Texas governor, becoming the youngest one the state’s ever had.
His story might sound like the sort of Texas legend told and retold in history books the way the Battle of the Alamo is, but that’s just not the case. “You Can’t Do That, Dan Moody!”, which has been produced in Georgetown multiple times over the years since the play debuted in 1998, attempts to add in that chapter.
“This fast-moving story of pistol-whippings and court trials depicts in vivid detail how Dan Moody helped rid Texas of the evil Ku Klux Klan,” according to Georgetown Palace Theatre’s description of the play.
Maybe the neatest aspect of the production? As with past performances, it will take place at the Historic Williamson County Courthouse, in the very courtroom where Moody prosecuted the Klansmen in September 1923. “You Can’t Do That, Dan Moody!” was first presented in the courthouse as part of Georgetown’s sesquicentennial celebration (150th anniversary, that is) in 1998.
Tickets for “You Can’t Do That, Dan Moody!” have been on sale since July 7, lest anyone start thinking the Georgetown Palace Theatre folks purposefully planned the production to run in the weeks following the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, earlier this month. The historical play simply offers a way for Central Texans to reflect on where we’ve been as a state and a nation as we grapple with our next steps.
“You Can’t Do That, Dan Moody!” runs for five weekends starting on Sept. 8 through Oct. 1. Tickets are $30 and will get you a seat on one of the courtroom benches. Purchase them at georgetownpalace.com.