Yampa Valley Players make debut at two new locations with return of the melodrama
Not to be dramatic, but local theater is back and it’s kind of a big deal.
The Yampa Valley Players, formerly known as the Chief Players, are making their debut and bringing a melodrama back to Steamboat Springs.
The Diligent Daughter or Lips that Touch Wine will show at the Julie Harris Theater at Perry Mansfield at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 19 and Saturday, Aug. 20. The show will also take place at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27, at the Hayden Center.
The production marks the return of local theater after the pandemic threw the players for many a loop. The last melodrama took place in 2019. There wasn’t a show in 2020 due to the pandemic, and when the Chief Theater closed, the players faced an uncertain future.
“At times, it’s been a bit of a challenge,” said Yampa Valley Players member Kirk Aigner. “It’s been a bit of a reassessment for us. It’s not that we’re taking a step back, we’re taking a step forward.”
Now, the Julie Harris Theater has welcomed in the group that has rebranded as the Yampa Valley Players.
“It’s just a good old fashioned, family-friendly, Western melodrama,” said Director Brad Kindred. “I tried to find one that wasn’t too over the top, although a melodrama by nature is over the top. It takes place in a bar in 1907. … There’s a villainous lawyer and a drunken father who’s about to lose a family inheritance and the diligent daughters come in to try to save the family.”
Kindred has been in the Yampa Valley since 1975 and has been involved in theater since Piknik Theater was known as the Great American Laughing Stock Company. He’s seen ebbs and flows in involvement and seen the group bounce from one place to another.
“One thing I have noticed is we’ve never had a home,” Kindred said. “The Chief Theater was home for several years but as hard as we tried to make it into a theater, it was never really a theater. It was a movie theater. There was no backstage. Here, have you seen the backstage? Have you seen the dressing rooms and the wings? It’s a real stage.”
The Julie Harris Theater has hosted rehearsals and will welcome the players first audience in years this weekend, something cast member Joe Harris is thrilled to be a part of.
“I get to play a little and I get to be host for one of our first non-Perry Mansfield events here,” said Joe Haines, director of development at Perry-Mansfield. “It’s been a little crazy. … This is all part of our broader plan for renovation at Julie Harris.”
What: Yampa Valley Players Inaugural Old Western Melodrama
When: 6:30 p.m. Aug. 19, 20, 27
Where: Julie Harris Theater, Hayden Center
The cast, which was chosen from a large batch of auditioners, ranges from 16 to 76 years old, according to Kindred. He said they are a delight to work with and are all so excited to be on stage.
The show will be packed up and put together again in Hayden on Aug. 27, which is extra special for the cast since more than half of them are from Hayden. Traveling to venues is helping the Yampa Valley Players truly live up to its new name, as well.
The 2019 melodrama had a trial run at the Hayden Center when it was still the high school.
“If I had my druthers and could pull it off I’d love to be performing in Yampa,” Kindred said. “Possibly Craig, if we’re truly the Yampa Valley Players.”
Tickets are $15 for adults and $20 at the door and can be purchased at eventbrite.com/e/western-melodrama-the-diligent-daughter-or-lips-that-touch-wine-tickets-389855567497.
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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