Butte Theater Kicks Off Season With “Gems of the Silver Screen”

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by Rick Langenberg:

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Longing for the golden era of movies and sometimes forgotten nostalgic Broadway tunes, don’t worry about booking a trip to New York or Chicago, and instead, head up to Cripple Creek.

Thin Air Theatre Company (TATC) has kicked off the 2013 season, with a unique Cripple Creek Cabaret show, the all-new musical Gems of the Silver Screen, at the Butte Theater. The performance showcases two veteran TATC actors, Rebecca Myers and Kevin Pierce, as they tell the little-known story of Rosemary and Leo – a star-crossed couple of aspiring film stars.

Their story is told through some of the most recognizable songs of the silver screen, with hits from the films of the 30s, 40s and 50s, which have been musically arranged by TATC Music Director and composer of A Cripple Creek Christmas Carol, James Mablin. This small-cast show also features a guest appearance by Mel Moser, who plays a variety of roles.

The show runs now thru June 15.

The musical, written and directed by TATC veteran Mickey Burdick, was originally planned as a cabaret show. But in the Thin Air creative style, it evolved into a unique romantic tale that showcases the screen tunes from these previous decades. “It just seemed to work better as a story,” said Burdick, in explaining the push to turn a cabaret of songs into a full-blown musical.

Moser, often regarded as the king of the stage in Cripple Creek, shines in an unusual mixture of roles as a narrator, conductor, bartender (not surprisingly), a colonel and a even a woman (a former girlfriend of Leo); and of course, he plays his familiar act as the Butte Theater prime cheerleader. And both Pierce and Myers, who have played in about a dozen shows each at the Butte, display stellar dancing and singing performances as Leo and Rosemary. These characters develop an unusual romantic relationship and typify a couple from this nostalgic, romantic era of film. And with a small cast, the Gems show offers an intimate setting for viewing some of TATC’s revered performers.

Gems of the Silver Screen was well-received in its opening weekend during a busy time for Cripple Creek, highlighted by a major fashion show and fund-raiser for the Aspen Mine Center. Gems of the Silver Screen performances are scheduled for Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. until June 15. For reservations, call 689-3247 or 877-689-6402.

More importantly, Gems of the Silver Screen serves as a good, light-hearted kickoff to TATC’s seventh season, featuring six shows altogether, capped by the popular Singin’ in the Rain and Neil Simon’s Star Spangled Girl. And as for its classic melodrama show, the TATC will showcase Girl of the Golden West, with a story drawn from an original 1906 script. Girl of the Golden West makes its debut on June 28. Then, in the fall and winter, the Butte performances include The Frozen Man and The Christmas Blaze.

According to Burdick, the 2013 shows offer a great variety and will feature some impressive stage effects