By Request: The Creede Repertory Theatre’s 35th season

Article by Marcia Darnell

Local arts – June 2000 – Colorado Central Magazine

THIRTY-FIVE YEARS isn’t old for a redwood, a building, or a human being, but for a small theater in a tiny town, it’s ancient.

“So few arts organizations are this old,” says Richard Baxter, artistic director of the Creede Repertory Theatre. “Considering the location — Creede has only 500 year-round residents — it shouldn’t exist.”

The theater is existing and thriving thanks to its patrons, staff, and the actors who travel to Creede from around the country every year to perform. This season, CRT is staging several productions requested by its supporters, to thank them for their support.

Opening night, June 9, will feature “Charley’s Aunt,” a perennial favorite from Britain. Many people have requested this comedy production from CRT.

“Pumpboys and Dinettes” will open June 16. This Country & Western musical, set in a down-home diner, is “very accessible,” according to Baxter.

Another golden oldie, Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap,” will open June 30. This mystery is the longest-running play in the history of theater.

Another mystery of sorts is “Incorruptible,” which opens July 15. Billed as a dark comedy set in the Dark Ages, it was requested by a visitor from Philadelphia. Its production at CRT will be its Colorado premier.

“It’s a fantastic story,” says Baxter, “a faith story.” The story involves an 11th-century monastery, missing bones, a convent, a mystery, and a miracle.

CRT’s children’s play this year is “Pinocchio 3.5,” a computer-age adaptation of the classic tale. Gill Bates (get it?) creates a robot for company, but the lad gains free will and falls in with a bad crowd. Opening June 24, it’s also this season’s bilingual play, as the Blue Fairy speaks Spanish.

Middle-school children will also enjoy CRT’s adaptation of “The Odyssey” this season. The first of two parts (to conclude next year), the play follows Odysseus as he tries to find his way home. It opens July 21.

“Weed,” which opens August 4, is the result of a fascinating meld of arts and government. Commissioned by the Colorado Rural Development Council, it’s about land use in the West. After the play, in which a rancher discovers a rare weed on his property, the audience will be invited to participate in a discussion on land-use issues.

“It’s the play I’m most excited about,” says Baxter. “It’s a unique marriage of an arts organization and the government.”

Finally, CRT will stage “Love Letters,” an epistolary story about a man and a woman who exchange letters over many years. It will open August 31.

As always, Creede Repertory Theatre will tour with some of its plays from September through late November. Dates haven’t been finalized, but stops will likely include Salida, Westcliffe, and the San Luis Valley.

In addition, CRT will host special events, including Meet the Company (June 3), opening night dinner (June 9), performances by Colcannon (July 17), Brad Tisdel (July 24), Ruben Romero (Aug. 14), and Hired Hands (Sept. 4), A Cabaret evening (Aug. 13), a quilt raffle (Aug. 19) and “Going Up,” a musical autobiography about life in a large family (Aug. 20-21).

Tickets are $5 to $17, depending on the event and seating. Season passes and group discounts are available. For tickets or more information on Creede Repertory Theatre, call 719-658-2540.