Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Latest News

February 11, 2014

O’Neal brings Crosby to life through play

Corsicana — Dr. Shellie O’Neal, Director of Theatre at Navarro College, will perform a one-woman show at 7 p.m. Thursday at Navarro College’s Dawson Auditorium. Admission is free.

The play celebrates the life of renowned blind hymn writer Fanny J. Crosby, who wrote such favorites as “Blessed Assurance,” “Rescue the Perishing,” “Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior,” and “He Hideth My Soul.” Crosby earned international fame as a hymn writer and wrote between 8,000 and 10,000 hymns. However, she lived in near poverty because she felt a strong calling to minister to those less fortunate.

The performance, which features songs and stories from Crosby’s life, will last approximately 56 minutes.

“I haven’t done it here on campus in two years,” O’Neal said. “We invited all the high schools in our service area to come. I’m hoping we’ll have people from the surrounding schools. And I just wanted to reach out to the community in case some of them haven’t seen it.”

O’Neal penned this play after conducting research which culminated in a trip to New York City, where she visited the New York Institution for the Blind where Crosby received her education and served as a teacher. She also visited the New York Public Library and viewed Crosby’s personal scrapbook; the Bowery Mission where Crosby did social work; and Plymouth Church, where Crosby listened to her favorite preachers.

To date, Dr. O’Neal has performed this play 44 times in various locations, including her home town of Carthage, in Troup, Frost, Turnertown, Houston, the Snap community, the Woods community, Kerens, Corsicana, Lampasas, Grand Saline, Brady, Hewitt, Eureka, Killeen, and Arlington.

Dr. O’Neal celebrated her 40th birthday by performing at the Bowery Mission in New York City where Mrs. Crosby spent the latter half of her life ministering to others. Last summer, she performed at a prominent African-American church in Washington, D.C.

O’Neal has written 22 plays, two of which have won the Texas state playwriting award given by TETA (Texas Educational Theatre Association), and three of which have been published by The Parish Press. This is her first one-woman show.

Dr. O’Neal received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Theatre from The University of Texas at Tyler and her Ph.D. in Theatre from Louisiana State University. She taught for three years at U.T. Tyler and for the past 13 years has served as the Director of Theatre at Navarro College in Corsicana, where she has directed over 50 productions. She is a member of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Corsicana where she sings in the choir.


Want to “Soundoff” on this story? Email:

Text Only
Latest News
  • police stock photo Six arrested following drug raid

    Six people were arrested following the execution of a search warrant Thursday night by the Corsicana Police Department’s narcotics detectives, patrol officers and a Navarro County Sheriff’s deputy who works as a courtesy officer for the Arbors Apartment, 1300 N. 45th St.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-25-14 AgriLife additions.jpg AgriLife adds two new agents to Navarro office

    It’s been awhile since the AgriLife Extension office in Navarro County has been fully staffed, but it’s going great guns now.
    New to the staff are Meredith DeBorde, and Lorie Stovall, who will be heading up the 4-H programs and the family and consumer programs, respectively.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sheriff seeks salary shuffle

    Navarro County Sheriff Elmer Tanner went to the County Commissioner’s budget workshop Thursday to ask for a change of how his officers are compensated, or, alternately, an 8 percent across-the-board raise.

    July 24, 2014

  • 7-25-14 CAC boat.jpg Floating a big fundraiser idea

    The big night is fast approaching for the 10 Grand Country Jam, an Aug. 2 fundraiser for the Child Advocates of Navarro County. What will make it a big night is the grand prize, a $31,000 pontoon boat.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Candelario Garcia Jr. (main) Honoring a hero

    Since March of this year, the family of Candelario Garcia Jr. has been so proud of him, they could burst.

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • County Budget Commissioners start budget process

    The Navarro County Commissioner’s Court held its first budget workshop Wednesday, the first of a dozen or more over the next month or so.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-23-14 pianos main.jpg Public pianos invite players

    Corsicana has always been a musical town, with emphasis on country and western, rock and roll, bluegrass and Gospel, but now the parks and recreation department is moving towards bringing music to the masses in a different way. They’re going to put pianos downtown, on the sidewalks for anyone to play at random.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Navarro County 4-H Club holds event

    Texas A&M AgriLife Extention will hold Summer Exploration Days at the Navarro County Expo on Tuesday, July 29 from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.

    July 22, 2014

  • New date for IPL Job Fair announced

    Tarrant Regional Water District IPL (integrated pipe line) Project will hold a Job Fair from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014 at The Cook Center.

    July 22, 2014

  • Making voting easier

    A new county-wide voting system would let voters cast a ballot at any polling place on election day, eliminating the need to drive to a specific precinct to vote.

    July 22, 2014

AP Video
Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites
Twitter Updates