Hollywood comes to Harker Heights

Barbara and Gonzo Gonzalez stand before stained-glass windows at New Beginnings Church in Harker Heights where they lead theatrical productions.

Gonzo and Barbara Gonzalez of Belton have a combined 50 years of experience in show business and have rubbed elbows with presidents, astronauts, heavyweight boxers and musicians such as Michael Jackson and Garth Brooks.

But these days, the couple dedicates time and passion to unifying the community through theatrical productions at New Beginnings Church in Harker Heights.

Gonzo Gonzalez said he was born into show business, and as soon as he was old enough, began working backstage at theaters.

“My stepdad put me to work as a stagehand and prop man as soon as I was able to accompany him at work,” he said.

His wife, a Killeen High School graduate, took dance lessons for more than 10 years, but her career took her in another direction. She ended up on the design team for “The Young and the Restless,” a daytime television show, where she worked for 15 years and earned two Emmy awards as an assistant designer.

“I always thought I would be a dancer, but my cousin said it would never happen because my legs were too short and my body wasn’t that of a dancer,” she said.

The couple met through mutual friends and decided to return to Texas to raise their family away from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood.

“We didn’t want to have to balance 12- to 18-hour days and have a family at that pace of life,” Barbara Gonzalez said. “Our kids have walked the catwalk of Madonna’s show and experienced the other side of show business when they were younger and couldn’t wait to get back to Texas.”

She is now a teacher at Mountain View Elementary and her husband has worked on theater productions in Austin. Several years ago, the Gonzalezes joined New Beginnings Church, where they began helping with the annual Christmas productions.

Now Gonzo Gonzalez’s vision is to make Central Texas a go-to place where family entertainment is provided through a Christian theatrical forum. He and his wife have a passion for creating an atmosphere where performers, musicians, lighting crews, stagehands and people of all ages will be able to perform original work within the local area.

“My desire is to get as many children involved and work together with the community in unity,” Gonzo Gonzalez said. “I’m ready to talk with anyone interested in helping, whether it is providing a place to perform, donating supplies, funding and electronic equipment.”

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