Chief Players present last show of melodrama at Hayden High School theatre as part of preservation effort |

Chief Players present last show of melodrama at Hayden High School theatre as part of preservation effort

Once the new Hayden High School is complete, the old 375-seat high school theatre is slated for demolition. On Aug. 8, the Chief Players perform an encore presentation of the Live Western Melodrama at the old theater in an effort to help preserve it.
Christy Sinner

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Chief Players’ “Blazing Guns at the Hot Springs Hotel: A Live Western Melodrama” will swagger its way west of the Chief Theater, where it’s been performed for the past several weeks, and onto the stage of the Hayden High School Theatre for its last run the evening of Thursday, Aug. 8. 

The show is sure to bring family-friendly fun and laughter to Hayden, but there’s also another goal for the evening. The theatre, as well as the surrounding high school gym and classrooms, are slated for demolition once pre-K through 12th grade operations move into their new school for the 2020-21 school year. But a preservation committee is working toward saving the space.  

“My hope for the melodrama is that it will bring our community together to see what a special place this is — that it will open eyes to the fact that this space can offer a lot to the community,” said Hayden School District Superintendent Christy Sinner, who is also a member of the preservation committee. 

“Our point is for people to think, ‘What a neat theater. I’d love to come back,’” committee member and Chief Theater Executive Director Scott Parker said. 

That could be to see big-name bands, theater productions, comedians and more.

“Arts are a driver. They’re a great way to enhance a community,” Parker said. “I think more arts can do wonderful things for Hayden.”

The theatre features 375 seats, just over the “sweet spot” of 350 seats, the ideal number that generally appeals to acts traveling through the area, according to preservation committee member Jim Cook. 

For comparison, the Chief Theater has 150 seats. 

If you go

What: The Chief Players present “Blazing Guns at the Hot Springs Hotel: A Live Western Melodrama” 
When: Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; show at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 8
Where: Hayden High School theatre, 495 W. Jefferson Ave., Hayden
Tickets: $5 for children, $10 for adults

“When I saw the Hayden theatre, I was blown away,” Cook said.

He noted that the theatre also has wings and a backstage, which are key to hosting larger-scale, sophisticated productions. Plus, the acoustics, according to Sinner, are “incredible.” 

Over the years, the Hayden High School theatre has played host to funeral services, Veterans Day celebrations and, of course, Hayden student productions, such as “Beauty and the Beast” this past school year. 

“It’s a central place, a community hub and a community resource,” Sinner said. “It’s one of the largest spaces in Hayden.” 

Lisa Popovich and Benjamin Kiser during the Chief Players’ melodrama “Blazing Guns at the Hot Springs Hotel.” The melodrama will be performed for the last time on Thursday, Aug. 8, at the Hayden High School theatre.
Sarah Laping-Garland

The melodrama tells the fast-paced, over-the-top tale of an old Western town, a gun-twirling robber, a sweet, goofy sidekick, a bright “lady” sheriff, a do-good detective, a cackling, coughing widow-slash-hotel-owner, a crestfallen bellman with big dreams, an ostentatious actress-singer-dancer and a big twist. Audience members are encouraged to cheer, boo, hiss and interact with characters throughout the performance. 

“I joke that this show is ruining theater for a whole generation,” Parker said with a laugh. “You can’t boo or hiss in a regular play.”

The theatre doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the show begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5 for children and $10 for adults. 

Chad McGown during the Chief Players’ production of “Blazing Guns at the Hot Springs Hotel.”
Sarah Laping-Garland

“(This show) is all about awareness of Hayden having a really nice theater,” Parker said. “If we lose it, it’s sort of irreplaceable.”

Julia Ben-Asher is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.

Joe Haines as Widow Black in the Chief Players’ “Blazing Guns at the Hot Springs Hotel.”
Sarah Laping-Garland

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