CREEDE — As spring arrives, Creede Repertory Theatre has been preparing the last few weeks for the opening of its 57th season. Artistic Director John DiAntonio, Associate Artistic Director Kate Berry and Marketing Director Bethany Andre sat down with Valley Publishing and gave an update on how things are progressing for the upcoming season.
“The theme of the entire summer is being able to lean into welcoming back our entire audience. Welcoming them back into both of our beloved theatres, and they are going to notice so many changes like new curtains, new lighting and of course some new staff, new line up, new everything so we are really looking forward to welcoming our audiences back and all of the celebration that comes with that because it has been a journey. We hope that they will all come and celebrate with us and get back to live theatre under a roof without being rained on,” said DiAntonio with a laugh.
The theatre began welcoming cast members to the mountain town of Creede this week and will begin rehearsals for the coming season in days to come. Two of the largest plays that have already stolen the spotlight will be the first to open and will run, for the first time, through the entire summer. So even people that come later in the season will have a chance to see a play until Sept. 17.
“The show that opens and goes to rehearsals is ‘Steel Magnolias’ and ‘Always… Patsy Cline.’ ‘Always… Patsy Cline’ will star Emily Van Fleet as Patsy Cline and Caitlin Wise as Louise Seger. We have a four-piece band hired that will be directed by Michael Perlman and Michael has directed some of our most popular shows of all time like ‘Anne Get Your Gun,’ ‘Is He Dead’ and ‘Dear Jack, Dear Louise.’ Having Caitlin and Emily will be a big draw as long-time company members and Emily will be singing all of Patsy’s hits and Caitlin plays her biggest fan and they befriend each other and remained pen pals until Patsy’s tragic death,” explained DiAntonio. This play will be featured on the Main Stage and will run from May 29 until Sept. 17.
During the same weekend, “Steel Magnolias” opens on May 28, and Associate Artistic Director Berry gave a look at how this play will bring the Southern hospitality out in audiences from day one. Berry will be playing M’Lynn with Christy Brandt and Annie Butler and Education Director Brittni Shambaugh Addison and two new company members, Emily Bosco as Shelby and Teonna Wesley as Truvy Jones. The play will be in the Ruth and will run through Sept. 17.
“What I think is most interesting about the differences between the movie and the play is that Robert Harling had this interesting story about when he was younger he remembered the women in his family chatting in the kitchen and kind of be leaning up against the counter and one of the men would walk in the kitchen and everyone would kind of change and start doing dishes and doing other things and you got this feeling that this was a place where there should be no men. In the play, you do see male characters but the play itself is about six women and it all takes place at a salon. This is a very home away from home safe place for these women. It is the place they come to when they have something major going on, whether it’s wonderful or whether it’s tragic,” Berry said.
Even with those two plays stealing the spotlight, it is only a matter of time before attention is turned to the other diverse and enthralling plays that will make up the 57th season at CRT. It would not be a season at CRT without the added touch of drama and a bucket full of humor that will come with the production of “Native Garden” that opens on June 18. The night will also include the opening night celebration and the unveiling of the annual art poster which has been designed by Peggy Morgan Stenmark an artist out of Crested Butte.
“It’s a more intimate play with a small number of company members and tells the story of an older white couple and a younger Hispanic couple that moves next door in the setting that in the suburbs of Washington D.C. and the younger character Pablo, who happens to be a lawyer, happens to notice that the fence dividing the property should be two feet farther on their neighbor's side giving them an additional two feet and the plot just explodes from there. It kind of brings every single hot topic that is going on in the country out between these two characters in a very humorous and heartfelt way,” explained DiAntonio. This play will star new company member Matt Zambrano and Christy Brandt as well as Stuart Rider.
On June 25, audiences will be transported back in time to Sherwood Forest and the beloved story of Robin Hood with all the well-loved characters of past stories. This rendition of the beloved story titled, “Sherwood, Adventures of Robin Hood” where the audience will help fill the space and becomes the extra people in Sherwood Forest or citizens.
“It will be very fun and very interactive, and we are making sure it is family-friendly so all ages will be welcome. It will be a lot of fun for all ages,” said DiAntonio
The summer speeds up and shoots off after that with the opening of “Pants on Fire,” coming back after a five-year break. “Pants on Fire” is a beloved improv play geared toward younger audiences and will be on stage every Friday beginning at 11 a.m. on July 1. This will be followed by Boomtown every Friday at 9:30 p.m. which is the unrated adult variation of improv and is probably the most popular play CRT produces.
Last but no means least, “The Royale” opens July 23 and is a production that any theatre- or sports-loving enthusiast will not want to miss. This drama will be directed by Kyle Haden whose last play “Hazardous Materials” in 2019 received the Colorado Henry Award.
“We are welcoming three new cast members out of the five company members. It is set in 1905 and Jay Jackson, an African American boxer gets the opportunity to fight the white heavyweight champion of the world and through this, the play explores all of the complexities that come with that leading ultimately to the fight,” said DiAntonio. The play will take audiences to the early 1900s era and show the day-to-day struggles of success with a sportsmanship theme running throughout.
The theatre is also celebrating its 20th anniversary of the KID! Show as well as the return of their annual gala event. For more information, a full schedule of plays, dates, and times as well as events, visit www.creederep.org.