Have you ever been "that guy" sitting in a quiet theater, watching a performance and out of nowhere you get a tickle in your throat? You try to swallow it away, but it grows and grows and all of a sudden you have a full-on coughing fit right when everything is super quiet. It happens to the best of us and usually at the most inopportune moments. It's not just dry mouth that plagues the audience members; it is an affliction for the performers as well.
Suffering from performance-induced dry mouth is what caused husband/wife team Jim Price and Kaitlin Hopkins to take matters into their own hands. Price and Hopkins have been members of the theater, film and television world for years. Hopkins has played roles in a slew of Broadway productions and currently runs the theater program at Texas State. Price's résumé is just as impressive, with runs on Broadway and off, as well as a long list of playwrighting credits; he currently heads the playwrighting department at Texas State. So what do two thespians with the constant affliction of performance-related oral issues do? They create their own lozenge, of course!
Hopkins and Price started researching the ingredients into what "would make for a good dry mouth cure" sometime back in 2009. "Traditional menthol cough drops don't help you when your mouth is dry," Hopkins tells us. "They can even dry you out more."
Hopkins and Price found that what does assist in lubrication are glycerin-based products, but finding them on the market and for a reasonable price is like finding that matching sock you lost in the dryer -- slim to none. In addition to glycerin, the couple harnessed the power of sour green apple, which also promotes saliva production, as well as a manuka honey, which is used for its soothing properties and antibacterial agents.
"We tested the lozenges out on our acting students along the way," says Price. "It was a great way to see what was working and what wasn't."
Okay, so you have all the ingredients for a super lozenge, but now what? How the hell do you make a throat drop?
By chance, or "maybe it was in the cards," the team was introduced to two Texas alums that just happened to own the company OCuSOFT, a large ophthalmological company based out of Houston. "It was really the right place and the right time," Hopkins mentions. With the assistance of OCuSOFT's staff, the dry-mouth drop was born.
"Everything has moved really quickly," gushes Price. Quickly indeed! The foursome not only has a patent-pending on the product, but they have already started a separate company solely to market and produce the throat drops. Fontus Green Apple Throat Lozenges hit the market this past weekend.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
"Right now we will be selling them exclusively through our Web site," the couple tells us. "We already have orders coming in from performers that we sent samples to. It's very exciting!"
Let's be fair, there are a lot of people aside from Broadway stars that could use a dry-mouth drop (nope, not that type of dry mouth): teachers, public speakers, vocal coaches and anyone who has ever found themselves nervously sucking down water while talking nervously. Certain medications also promote chronic dry mouth, and Price and Hopkins already plan on sending a batch to a friend who works at a cancer center. Oh yeah, and Kathy Lee will be testing them out.
So do they work, and, better yet, how do they taste? We were lucky enough to be sent a few samples and were pleasantly pleased with them. They reminded us of a Sour Apple Jolly Rancher in taste, without the sugary stickiness. As far as saliva production, there was plenty to go around. In fact, after sucking on one for ten minutes or so, we could have sung an opera for the next half an hour. The lozenges did not have that syrupy aftertaste of their counterparts, which drip into your stomach after sucking two or more. We would highly recommend them to anyone who finds themselves in need of some lubricating support.
Fontus Green Apple Throat Lozenges are available only online. For more information visit www.fontussciences.com.