Chief Theater going live, announces new arts café for creatives and public |

Chief Theater going live, announces new arts café for creatives and public

The Chief Theater will be opening soon for live performances and Executive Director Scott Parker announced plans to put an arts cafe in the space previously occupied by All That.
The venue is expected to have a beatnik-type vibe for amateur creatives and the public to perform and socialize with a little coffee and dessert on the side.

Courtesy photo

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS —Steamboat Springs’ favorite historic theater is ready for live audiences again, albeit with a few COVID-19 restrictions in place, as it gets ready for its sixth annual Steamboat is Magic Festival.

Social distancing means fewer seats will be available, so tickets are limited.

“We’re selling 40 tickets per show. People are required to wear masks, and we’ll stagger the entrants, and you can still go to the bar and get drinks,” said Chief Theater Executive Director Scott Parker.

National headliners Nick Paul and Robert Ramirez will perform Sept. 18 and 19 respectively, along with a closing gala Sept. 19 that will include both magicians performing some fun routines with Steamboat’s own magic and comedy troupe “We’re Not Clowns.”

The Chief Theater is finally opening up live as magician Robert Ramirez headlines the sixth annual Steamboat Is Magic Festival Sept. 18to 19, Ramirez has been seen on the hit TV show “Penn and Teller FOOL US” twicem was the magic consultant for “America’s Got Talent” and designs and creates magic for theaters around the country.  
Courtesy photo

After six months of having its doors closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chief will have four HEPA air filters running and intermissions have been eliminated from upcoming shows to cut down on audience movement.

Maybe even a more exciting development is how Parker hopes to have a new arts café in place by mid-October, called the “Box Office.”

“If you’re looking at the Chief, we’re taking over the left side, where All That (retail shop) is located,” Parker said.

From the time he was hired in 2013, Parker admits he’d been eyeing the space as a possible spot for a “beatnik” kind of coffee and dessert place where the public can relax after a dinner in town. With a piano, small stage and comfy couches and chairs, it will be an ideal space for amateur comics and performers.

“What I’m really excited about is a couple nights will be dedicated to kids … hopefully, a middle school night and a high school night where they can hang out from 6 to 9 p.m.,” Parker said.

Parker said the new owners of the Ghost Ranch, Cam Boyd and Adam Feiges, donated the high-end furniture from the property to furnish the new cafe.

“Anything we don’t use we get to sell and keep the money,” Parker said.

As things start to open up more, Steamboat Arts Academy is also holding some exciting new classes at the Chief where the academy has made a home.

Slam poet Erin Darby Gesell will be teaching the area’s first-known slam poetry class from 6 to 7 p.m. Mondays.

If you go

What: Steamboat Is Magic Festival
When: 7 p.m. Sept. 18, Nick Paul’s Magical Comedy
When: 5 p.m. Saturday Sept 19, Robert Ramierz’s Inspirations
When: 7 p.m. Saturday Sept 19, Closing Gala
Where: Chief Theater, 813 Lincoln Ave.
Tickets: Visit

“It’s not really poetry like we think of in school, it’s much more personal,” Gesell said. “It can tell a story and has a certain feel to it, akin to hip-hop music, where it has a type of cadence. It’s poetry meant to be performed and heard out loud.”

Other new classes include an adult acting class by long-time drama coach Marje Tracy, who will use the much-lauded Sanford Meisner method where actors are coached to behave instinctively to their surrounding environment. Tracy reminds theater fans that the musical theater classes for youth will help them in both their school productions and professional endeavors.

“We’ll learn about Broadway shows from old to new,” Tracy said. “We’ll also get kids ready for auditions.”

Other new classes offered at the Steamboat Arts Academy include an open mic and songwriting class, a readers theater class where people can bring their original scripts to read and get feedback from other writers and actors, and an adult improv class.

New classes will begin being offered the week of Sept. 14. For a full list of classes, visit

And visit for information on the theater and all of its upcoming performances.

Frances Hohl is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.


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