Love and laughter for Creede theater’s 39th season

Article by Marcia Darnell

Theater – June 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine –

CREEDE REPERTORY THEATRE opens its 2004 season on June 4 with a blast of laughter, by presenting The Foreigner, by Larry Shue, author of The Nerd, and winner of two Obies and an Outer Critics Circle Award.

In The Foreigner, an Englishman arrives at a fishing lodge in the South, where the locals talk to him as if he can’t understand English. The visitor plays along by inventing his own language. David McClendon of the Denver Center Theater Company will direct.

The Foreigner will rotate with other CRT offerings throughout the summer season, with a final performance on August 26. “This play is always funny,” says CRT Creative Director Maurice LaMee, “and it always works.”

Opening June 11 is The Spitfire Grill, a musical by James Valcq and Fred Alley. Based on the film by the same name, it portrays a young woman trying to put her life back together, and the small town that helps her. The musical won a Richard Rogers Production Award.

LaMee will direct The Spitfire Grill himself, and it’s the first time this musical has been staged in Colorado. “It has really wonderful music,” he says.

A Noel Coward classic, Hay Fever, will open June 25. It’s the story of an artsy, Bohemian family in the 1920s, and what happens when each family member invites a guest for the weekend. Louis Fantasia and Rob Morgan, members of the Denver Center Theater Company, will direct and design this show.

CRT’s Black Box Theatre will show The Quick-Change Room: Scenes from a Revolution beginning July 23. This work by Nagle Jackson highlights the absurdity of politics, greed, and American musicals, in a simultaneously serious and laugh-out-loud funny play about a Russian theater company which decides to convert Chekhov’s The Three Sisters into a musical called O My Sister!.

One of CRT’s family productions this year will be a puppet show; The Magic of Roald Dahl opens June 5 at noon. This puppet show will be the culmination of a workshop by local children, and is scheduled to run every Saturday through July 3.

Ladder to the Moon, by Charlie Oates and Rakaia Keefe-Oates, is another family production to be shown in the Black Box Theatre, it features a young girl who follows a mysterious woman on a trip into and through the paintings of Georgia O’Keefe. It opens July 14.

For the fall season, CRT will introduce The Cripple of Inishmaan, by Martin McDonagh on Sept. 3. In this comedy set in the 1930s, a handicapped Irish boy hears that a film is being made nearby and decides he wants to be in it.

“It’s funny,” says LaMee. “Black comedy with a fabulous cast.”

THAT COMPLETES CRT’s regular features for the summer and fall season line-up. But there will also be several short-run offerings, including two one-woman shows.

Twice the Child, by Cheryl Hunter, will run June 14 and 15. Set in a nursing home, it portrays a woman forced to do community service who discovers what her life is about.

Life Before Sex & Life With a Teenager…I’m Having a Hot Flashback, stars Moira Keefe on Aug. 15 and 16. The titles of these two one-act plays are self-explanatory.

On June 27 and 28, CRT will offer Stories on Stage, with four DCTC actors performing readings of four new short stories.

As always, CRT also has many special events slated for the season. The annual Meet the Company and Dessert Auction night will be May 29 and it includes a potluck dinner. The Opening Night Fiesta on June 4 will include dinner and a cash bar for $32 per person. A fall opening night dinner will take place Sept. 3.

The third annual benefit golf tournament will take place July 31 in South Fork. For $100, players get 18 holes, a barbecue lunch, and an awards ceremony. The second annual “Best in Creede” dog show, featuring the finest pooches around, is scheduled for Aug. 1.

Concerts planned for this summer at CRT include Henry Gross of Sha Na Na on May 28 and 30; Groove Society, an a capella group from Aurora on July 12; Dos Americas, a classical guitar duo, on July 19; singer-songwriter Sally Shuffield on July 26; guitarist Kathy Hussey on Aug. 2; country and western artists Holden Wofford and the Hi-Beams on Sept. 5; and Nashville songwriter Shawn Camp on Sept. 19 and 20. Check with the theater — the lineup may change.

IN ADDITION, the Creede Repertory Theatre will host art shows throughout the season, including the national small print show May 28 to June 27; Tom Lockhart and Paul Stone from June 28 to July 25; Cathy Ledeker and Jan Thompson from July 26 to Aug. 29; and John Gary Brown with Kay Wyley and local photographers Aug. 30 to Sept. 26.

“We have a really great variety this year,” LaMee says of the season. “One great thing we’ve always been able to do is an eclectic variety.”

This will be Christie Brandt’s 30th year with CRT, and Peggy Pharr Wilson’s 10th. Favorites Diana Dresser, Trary Maddalone, and Martin Buchanan will return as well.

The theater is wheelchair accessible. Children under 4 are not allowed, except for designated family shows.

Tickets range from $15 to $24 for most shows, $5 to $8 for Ladder to the Moon. Group rates and student rates are available.

For information, call the CRT box office at 719-658-2540, or call toll free at 866-658-2540. For more details on events, seating, and tickets, or a complete schedule of productions check the CRT website at: www.creederep.org.

Marcia Darnell lives in the San Luis Valley and doesn’t get to Creede often enough.