Who We Are

Phillip & the board compressedThe driving force behind Palco Specialties is Phillip May. He does it all. From developing ideas for new products to introduce every year at TETA, to driving the delivery truck, there is not a job at Palco he hasn’t done. And he probably does it on a regular basis. He definitely puts in a full day, since the main shop is about 60 miles from the office and home; and yes he goes every day, unless he is delivering a new set to someone in Iowa or Florida or just up the road to DFW. If you want to know how to make something work, he is the one to ask. His broad manufacturing background gives him a lot of different methods to draw from, and he just has a practical, logical solution to most any problem. As troubleshooter for many years with wife, Jo’s dance school shows on all manner of stages, and with daughter Jenni and many of their friend Allan’s various theatre productions, he was able to incorporate the manufacturing skills with the needs of educational and community theatre. “Can’t” is not a word in his vocabulary, as he often quotes Bre’er Rabbit by saying “I gots to make it work”.

palsPalco — where’d the name come from? Well, back in ‘97 Phillip and his friend Allan Ross had been doing some historical home renovations and a lot of antiquing together, when a friend needed a UIL Play Set built. They had some time and some tools, and in a carport they made the their first unit set. When one set became three or four they decided it should be a real business with a business name, and Allan took the P from Phillip and the AL from Allan and said since they were “pals” why not call it PALCO – “Phillip and Allan’s (the pals) Company”?

The name and the friendship have lasted through the years, long past the end of the business partnership.  But Allan is still a great PAL, an excellent consultant and source of theatrical knowledge. We often call upon his experience for questions dealing with theatrical tradition and devices, as we depend on our mutual friend Jim Mammarella to keep us up to snuff on the UIL rules and up to date on any changes. .


Nowadays, Palco is predominantly a family show; Phillip playing the lead with Jo, Jimmy, Mat and sometimes April and Jenni playing supporting roles. We are backed up by a cast of experienced carpenters and part time tech people, who are all dedicated to making a quality product that is safe and that will give years of dependable service. We build the basics to use over and over, and let you focus on those one of a kind scenic elements that make your show a stand-out.

We use quality materials and manufacturing procedures to ensure a high quality, durable stage set. And we back it up with our promise and a written warranty.

See references.

It would be very interesting to try to figure out how many shows we’ve had a part of mounting, in almost 20 years. For sure we have helped hundreds of directors bring their visions to light and give their casts and crews a spotlight of their own.