Creede Reperatory Theater 2009 – Hitting all the right notes

by Marcia Darnell

Creede Repertory Theatre (CRT) is celebrating its 44th season with myriad musicals, including two premiere works. Beginning June 5, theater-goers will be treated to an abundance of music. According to Maurice LaMee, CRT’s creative director, all the actors hired this year had to be able to sing as well as act.

Opening night this year will showcase the appropriately titled, A Wonderful Noise, by Michael Hollinger, who previously wrote Incorruptible. Set in St. Louis in 1941, the story centers on a barbershop quartet singing contest. A group of women dress as men to enter the sing-off, which is interrupted by the news of Pearl Harbor.

Creede Repertory Theater Photo by John Gary Brown.
Creede Repertory Theater Photo by John Gary Brown.

“It’s about young, naive people trying to deal with a world that’s bigger and more complicated than they realized,” says LaMee. “It has a lot of great period music.”

Next on the program is the CRT Songbook, featuring all of CRT’s voices this year, along with pianists and guest performers.

“It’s a musical theater concert,” says LaMee. “We have great musical talent.”

Opening on June 26 will be Swiss Family Robinson, the classic family story about a family shipwrecked on an island. By working together, the family survives and triumphs.

“Kids will enjoy it,” says LaMee, “but parents and grandparents will love it more.” Creede composer Jessica Jackson, who wrote the music for Swiss Family Robinson, specializes in family entertainment.

“The tale covers a full generation,” says LaMee. “The children are parents by the end.”

Next up is Boomtown, CRT’s improv comedy show. “It’s been a huge hit,” says LaMee, “It’s usually sold out, and we’re bringing it back for a third season.”

The Imaginary Invalid follows, beginning July 24. Probably the best known play by Moliere, it’s translated by Nagle Jackson and involves a wealthy hypochondriac who promises his daughter in marriage to the best doctor — or quack — he finds.

“It was written more than 300 years ago, and it’s still a hoot,” says LaMee.

The kids’ show this year will be Babar. It is produced and acted by children and it’s free. The workshop teaches acting, directing, costuming, set design, and more. It’s fun and educational for the kids, and rich entertainment for everyone else.

Kimberly Akimbo opens Aug. 14. The title character, played by CRT perennial favorite Christy Brandt, is a young girl with a rapidly aging body. Her family is completely dysfunctional, adding to her difficulty. Written by Pulitzer Prize winner David Lindsay-Abaire, it will play in the smaller upstairs theater at CRT.

“It’s a very black comedy,” says LaMee.

Rounding out the season will be Grimm Pajamas, also written by Jessica Jackson. On tour last year, the play lets viewers imagine the Brothers Grimm as hyperactive, imaginative children. Jackson and Jeff Carey also wrote this year’s tour production, Zeus on the Loose, which will play in schools in the region.

“This year’s tour is designed around literacy,” says LaMee. “This play introduces them to Greek mythology.”

As always, the CRT season also includes other fun: concerts, art showings, kids’ events, and the Opening Night Dinner (June 5). Performances include SLV Big Band Bash II, Ed Wheatley with The Fabulous Fifties, Brush with the Blues, Tim O’Brien, and more.

CRT will also host the National Small Print Show, featuring artists from around the country.

For a complete schedule and ticket information, go to www.creederep.org or call 719/658-2541. Tickets are cheaper — and more plentiful — in June and September.

Marcia Darnell lives in the San Luis Valley and sees at least one show at CRT every summer.