Article by Marcia Darnell
Theater – June 2001 – Colorado Central Magazine
“IT REALLY FEELS LIKE coming home,” says Maurice LaMee, surveying his new office. The creative director of Creede Repertory Theatre has only been on the job since October but has already sparked a revolution — CRT’s 2001 season will extend into fall.
CRT has been around since the ’60s, but LaMee is the first new director since ’69. (Richard Baxter and his family moved to Indiana last fall.) LaMee is a veteran of CRT, having directed in past seasons. He and his wife, Trary Maddalone (also an actor at CRT) have twins, Kieran and Genevieve, who will be 3 this summer.
LaMee is from Evergreen and attended Loretto Heights College. He worked at the Theatre Conservatory in Denver and did stints in Carbondale and Salida. He also worked as a freelance actor and director in Denver and has produced videos. Now he’s back in the stage business and couldn’t be happier.
“Being able to do this in a small town in Colorado is a happy circumstance,” he says. Also nice are the new dorms, completed this spring. Comfortable housing for touring artists is a priority, especially with an expanded season.
That season will begin June 8, when The Nerd will bring comedy to the historic theater. The play by Larry Shue concerns a young architect who owes a big favor to a nerd who moves in with him.
Ruthless! by Joel Paley opens June 15th. The musical centers on “an 8-year-old girl with a homicidal passion to play Pippi Longstockings,” says LaMee. It will be followed by Thornton Wilder’s classic, Our Town, opening June 29.
Another great playwright, Arthur Miller, will be featured beginning July 13. All My Sons is a tragedy involving honor, responsibility, and family. “It’s probably his most perfectly constructed play,” says LaMee.
The Dragon Wooree by Paonia playwright Sheri Hickman is this year’s children’s play. The original fairy tale will run Saturdays through the summer.
Opening July 20 is Eelom, by Lee Blessing. It’s about three generations of women who are “extremely eccentric, intelligent, and emotionally slightly askew,” says LaMee.
A play commissioned by the Colorado Rural Development Council, Opening Windows, will begin Aug. 24. Like last year’s Weed, it’s written by Micki Panttaja of Moscow, Idaho, and focuses on social issues in rural communities.
The company will head into autumn with The Mystery of Irma Vep, a spoof on old melodramas. “Irma Vep” is an anagram for “vampire,” and the cast of two will play a host of characters beginning Aug. 31.
Collected Stories by Donald Margulies opens Sept. 7. The play is about an author’s protege who steals his mentor’s story, an autobiography.
THE FALL PERFORMANCES run until Oct. 14, making a lengthy season for LaMee and his company. But he doesn’t sound worried. “I think it’s really going to be impressive,” he says.
As always, Creede Repertory Theatre will tour with some of its plays from September through November. Dates haven’t been finalized, but stops will likely include Salida, Westcliffe, and the San Luis Valley.
In addition, CRT will host special events, including Meet the Company (June 2), opening night dinner (June 8), performances by Pagosa Hot Strings (July 1), Hired Hands (July 16), Scott Joplin Entertainer (July 23), Jeff Solon Jazz Quartet (July 30), and Avery Augur (Aug. 6).
CRT will also have a Cabaret evening (Aug. 12), a National Small Print Show (in the lower lobby May 23 to June 30), Drama in the Work of Art (on the second floor May 26 to Oct. 14) and raffles of a quilt and painting.
Ticket prices vary, depending on the event and seating. Season passes and group discounts are available. For tickets or more information on Creede Repertory Theatre, call 719-658-2540.
Marcia Darnell lives and writes in the San Luis Valley.