Southern Colorado’s storied repertory theatre spent some time evaluating its program
It’s a “welcome back season” at Creede Repertory Theatre as the company will stage its five productions in the community’s two indoor theaters.
“We are excited to get back under the roofs of our two theaters,” says John DiAntonio, producing artistic director. As audiences are welcomed back, he adds there will be some changes to the Ruth Humphreys Brown Theatre. It is sporting new curtains and new LED lighting technology to keep the black-box theater cooler.
As Creede prepares to open its 57th season May 28, DiAntonio says the company spent the past two years pondering its purpose. “We’ve had a lot of time to reflect and get deeper connection with the work we’re trying to do here.”
In doing so, he said, the play selection touches on sacrifice.
“That’s something that seems pretty dang relevant right now — looking at what a person or a character – what someone’s willing to sacrifice in pursuit of a goal or a dream and what that might say about them – what they might mean – what might be at stake,” DiAntonio says. “Every play you’ve got to ask, ‘Why are we performing this play right now?’”
The theme emerged as company members began to explore what shows they wanted to highlight.
“We always have a musical, a drama, a comedy, if possible a new work, a bit of adventure this and that,” DiAntonio says. “I think that is part of the magic of this place – that is a key part of the complicated puzzle.”
This season, there will be two shows at the historic Mainstage Theatre and three at the Ruth Humphreys Brown Theatre.
The season opens May 28 with Steel Magnolias, a hilarious, yet devastating show performed in the Ruth Humphreys Brown Theatre. Associate Artistic Director Kate Berry will portray M’Lynn in this show, and she says it’s a wonderful piece, that is different from the motion picture.
“We’ve been talking about doing this play for a very long time,” she says. “The play is just six women, and Robert Harling said he wrote this because he wanted to hear these women out loud.”
Steel Magnolias will run through Sept. 17.
On May 29 Always…Patsy Cline will open in the Mainstage Theatre. It will star Emily Van Fleet as Patsy Cline and Caitlin Wise as fan Louise Seger, and the story centers on the relationship between Patsy and Louise as they become friends.
“It explores her music and motherhood —the struggles they kind of both were going through at that time and the relationship that forms there,” DiAntonio says. “It’s got that classic country music and beautiful country songs.”
Always…Patsy Cline will run through Sept. 17.
Also at the Mainstage is Native Gardens by Karen Zacarías. It stars a mix of newcomers and seasoned cast members, according to DiAntonio, who characterizes it as an “empathy building play,” that will run June 18 to Sept. 11. The story centers on a young Latinx couple that moves into their dream home next door to an older White couple. Pablo and Tania realize their fence line is supposed to be 2 feet over and the story follows the conflict between the two couples.
“It kind of opens up every single hot topic that has been going on in the world over the last five to 10 years but does it in a really beautiful, hilarious manner,” DiAntonio says. “It is one of those things the world needs right now.”
Sherwood: The Adventures of Robin Hood by Ken Ludwig will open June 25 and run through Sept. 10 in the Brown Theatre. It is described as a swashbuckling, family-friendly show directed by DiAntonio. “It’s a story we all know, told like we’ve never heard it before. It captures the adventurous spirit that represents Creede and CRT. Plus, there is nothing more the world needs right now than to be swept away in an epic romance.”
This play features music, dancing and sword fights right on stage as the cast of characters band together to do the right thing and save their kingdom.
Also at the Ruth is The Royale by Marco Ramirez being performed July 23 to Sept. 10. It is inspired by the life of the first Black heavyweight champion of the world, Jack Johnson. It delves into the world of racially segregated boxing in the early 1900s and explores “the complexities of everything it means at that time to be black and get a white boxer to box with you – if you win what happens; if you lose what happens,” Berry says. “It’s a beautifully written piece – stylized, and it lets you in on what the boxer is thinking.”
Two improv shows round out the season. They are Boomtown! Improv Comedy and Pants on Fire! A Totally Made-Up Musical for Kids. Both begin on July 1 and run through early September in the Brown Theatre. Boomtown! is in its 16th year and is performed Friday nights for adults, while Pants on Fire! A Totally Made-Up Musical for Kids is performed every other Friday.
“Pants on Fire! is a totally improvised musical for kids,” Berry says. Adult actors perform, but the children in the audience drive the story. “There is a framework, but everything within it is improvised.”
Each show is performed twice a week — many with the same actors in different roles. “We touch on just about every genre between those five shows, and we cross time. It’s a really cool thing,” DiAntonio says. “One of things I love about repertory theater is you get to see our designers and our acting company sort of transform throughout those plays.”
Tickets are $42 for adults, $20 for students (ages 11-22), and $15 for children. Tickets for Boomtown! Improv Comedy are $15 and for Pants on Fire! A Totally Made-Up Musical for Kids are $10-$15. They are available online at www.creederep.org or by calling 719.658.2540.